The Last days of Japanese Steam Engines

Part 3


Final Main Line Service

24th December 1975


Final main line freight train pulled D51-603
Mar,1969.Takigawa depot.


The Last passenger steam train ran with C57-135 during the 14th of Dec 1975, after that the other freight trains were also gently replaced with diesel engines.
The JNR Hokkaido Directorate announced ".... steam engines regular service on the main line will close during 24 December on the Yubari line ...." it was 2 days ahead of the original schedule.




On the 24th of December, six D51s were remaining for main line service at Oiwake depot ... they were No. 241, 397, 465, 603, 916 and 1086.
Some of Yubari line's trains were already replaced with diesel engines after 14 December. As a result, the last day of the 24th of December would see four steam freight trains (Two up-trains, and two-down trains) scheduled.

On the 24th, more than 200 reporters and Rail-Fans packed Yubari line. But this was in sharp contrast compared to previously on the 14th of December's 20,000 people.
At 2:50 p.m., a small ceremony was held at Yubari station. D51-465's engineer and stoker were presented with a bouquet of flowers.
At 7:10 p.m., the day's last train and absolute Japanese last main line steam pulling engine departed from Yubari station with D51-241's long drawn out mournful steam whistle.




Surviving D51s

D51 241
* Manufactured on the 29th of Dec 1939, at Ministry of Railway's Naebo works, serial number 5.
* First deployment was to Oiwake depot and after that it worked in Oiwake for it's entire lifetime until death due to fire.
* It was retired on the 10th of Mar 1976 on paper.
* A few parts were preserved at ;
A smokebox door and third driving wheel ; Oiwake Railway Memorial Museum in Hokkaido.
(There is another theory that it is not D51-241's driver)
First driver ; Abashiri city ?? in Hokkaido.
Force driver ; Asahikawa city in Hokkaido.


D51 397
* Manufactured on the 22nd of Jan 1940, at the Nippon Syaryo Co.,serial number 773.
* First deployment was to Hokkaido's Hakodate depot and it was later transferred to Goryokaku and Takigawa depots.
* After Oct 1975, it was placed at Oiwake depot.
* It was retired on the 10th of March 1976 on paper.
* It was preserved at Shibetsu city Hokkaido.


D51 465


* Manufactured on the 27th of May 1940, at the Kisya Seizo Co., serial number 1884.
* First deployment was to Omiya depot and it was later transferred to Takasaki depot.
* During Jun 1947 it was moved to Hokkaido Oiwake and Otaru-Chikko depots.
* After 1974, it was placed back at Oiwake depot.
* It was retired on the 10th of March 1976 on paper.
* 13th Apr 1976, it was struck by a depot fire at Oiwake and later it was scrapped.
* 3rd driving wheel was preserved at Sanda city in Hyogo.






D51-465 Otaru-Chikko depot
D51 603
* Manufactured on the 23rd of Feb 1941,at the Hitachi Ltd Co. Kasado shops, serial number 1434.
* First deployment was to Utsunomiya depot and it was later transferred to Takasaki, Yanai, Okayama, Himeji, Tsuruga, Kanazawa and Inazawa depots.
* During Jan 1964 it was moved to Hokkaido, Takikawa depot.
* It was retired on the 10th of Mar 1976 on paper.
* 13th Apr 1976, it was struck by a depot fire at Oiwake and later it was scrapped.
* A few parts were preserved at ;
A frontal part of the engine head ; Sagano 19th Century Hall in Kyoto city.
3rd driver ; Mikasa Railway village in Mikasa town Hokkaido.


D51 916
* Manufactured on the 12th of Dec 1943, at the Nippon Syaryo, serial number 1219.
* First deployment was Itosaki depot.
* During Jun 1948 it was moved to Hokkaido Iwamizawa, Otaru-Chikko and Nayoro depots.
* After Feb 1975, it was placed at Oiwake depot.
* It was retired on the 10th Mar 1976 on paper.
* 13th Apr 1976, be strucked by Oiwake depot fire and later it was scrapped.
* It was preserved at Maebashi city in Gunma.


D51 1086
* Manufactured on the 19th of May 1944, at the Nippon Syaryo, serial number 1274.
* First deployment was to Taira depot and it was later transferred to Mito and Haranomachi depots.
* During Jul 1967 it was moved to Hokkaido Takikawa depot.
* After Sept 1975, it was placed at Oiwake depot.
* It was retired on the of 10th of Mar 1976 on paper.
* 13th Apr 1976, it was struck by a depot fire at Oiwake and later it was scrapped.
* 4th driving wheel was preserved at Iwamizawa city Hokkaido.


D51-1086 Tomiura, Muroran line.




Final Passenger Train The Last Day