JNR Class DF50

Okay I'm not gonna drop the ball again this week, so I'll start early (FYI it's 30 May right now).

Diesel-electric locomotives (or really, diesel locomotives in general) are somewhat of a rare breed in countries like Japan where railroads mass-electrified right after the steam era. Japan does keep a fleet of diesel locomotives/MUs for areas that are less densely populated, but the vast majority of them are of the diesel-hydraulic type.

JNR DF50 65 DF50 1 hikyou go kawaguchi.jpg
"JNR DF50 65 DF50 1 hikyou go kawaguchi" by Spaceaero2 - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

So let me get right to the chase then. The Class DF50, unlike most Japanese diesels, is indeed a diesel-electric. 138 of this class of locomotives were jointly built by a number of builders (many of which still exist today) starting between 1957 and 1963. They were operated by the JNR up until 1983. The locomotives were built in two batches, the first of which by Kisha, Nippon Sharyo, and Mitsubishi and had 1 080 hp Sulzer diesel engines; the second by Hitachi, Kawasaki, and Toshiba and had 1 200 hp MAN diesel engines. Like a lot of other Japanese locomotives, the Class DF50 had a B-B-B axle arrangement (i.e. three 2-axle trucks).

JNR df50 18 43 togano senyou.jpg
"JNR df50 18 43 togano senyou" by Spaceaero2 - Own work. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

"四国鉄道文化館で展示されているDF50-1" by DF50 - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

The Class DF50 hauled both freight and passenger trains with a maximum speed of 55 mph. Three units were preserved after their complete withdrawal.


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