Steam locomotive

Class C54

1931 - 1963

A middle to large Tender-Engine for main and sub-main line passenger trains.

C54 No.15
At Fukuchiyama station, on the Sanin line.
April 1959.
(Photo credit to S.Sumino)

C54 was an improved engine from class C51, and a total of 17 were produced during 1931 to 1932.
The first C54 was manufactured at Kawasaki Sharyo Co. during 1931, it has the manufactured number of 1397.
After its inception, C54's were placed on the Sendai, Aomori, Akita, Fukushima, Takasaki, Utsunomiya, Mito, and Umekoji depots, by a few engines each. But the on-site reputation was not good and after producing 17 engines, it was decided to stop producing more of them.

C54-14 debut soon after during 1930s.
(Photo credit to K.Nishio)
After the end of WW2, C54s worked primarily on branch lines.
C54 had a fatal defect in that C54's Weight on Drivers was too light as a weight saving. C54's weight on drivers was 10% lighter than C51, therefore, C54 would slip easily. During April 1959, there was an accident when a C54-5 deadheaded train derailed and turned over. The cause of the accident was because, the train over sped on the downhill section and the engineer fainted in the tunnel due to the smoke. In spite of the deadheaded light cars of the train, C54 had trouble on a 2.5% uphill slope. C54's low tractive effort was a remote cause of this accident.

C54s were only 17 in number, they represented high maintenance costs, which led to their early retirement.
And in the end, all C54s were finally concentrated at Hamada and Fukuchiyama depots on the Sanin line. Half of the C54's, nine engines (C54-1 thru 4, 7, 9, 13, 14 and 16) were retired at an early age during 1947-1950. And the remaining other eight engines were used on the west section of the Sanin line.
Finally, the last surviving C54s were six (No.6, 8, 10, 11, 15 and 17) at the Hamada depot, and they closed their service during the summer of 1963. These six last C54s were crossed off their registration on the 3rd of October 1963 and were scrapped.

All engines were not restored and not preserved. The story of the C54 was not a particular happy one.

Primary ran line in last 10 years Sanin, Bantan line
Last line/depot and year Sanin line / Hamada depot.1963
Restored engine none
Preserved engine none

Configuration 4-6-2 Dimensions Length (mm) 20375
Engine Weight (Operating tons) 65.3 Driver size (mm diameter) 1750
Boiler pressure (Kg/cm2) 14.0 Max Tractive effort (tons) 10.1
Driver Max Power (PS) 1040 Max Speed (km/h) 100
Manufactured years 1931-1932 Total production 17
Gauge 3ft 6in (1067mm)


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