Oigawa Railway Company
C56-44 was manufactured at the Mitsubishi-Jyuko Co. Kobe-Zosenjo workshop,
serial No. 179, on the 6th of March 1936, and she was deployed to the Naebo depot in Sapporo city, Hokkaido.|
During September 1941, she was transferred to the war front in Thailand with narrow gauge. C56-44 was reassembled at Bangkok Thailand during 1942. She was the first assembled C56 in Thailand.
During June 1979, of Thailand's C56s, two engines were returned to Japan. They were C56 No.31 (Thailand Railway No.725) and No.44 (Thailand Railway No.735) C56-31 pulled the Thaimen Railway's opening ceremony's first train.
After her return to Japan, C56-31 was preserved at the Tokyo War Museum at Yasukuni shrine.
C56-44 went to the Oigawa Railway, and was restored at the Oigawa Railway workshop.
Her restoration was completed and service was started during 1980.
However, her condition was not good, therefore, C56-44's operation was stopped from December 2003, and she was kept at the Senzu station.
Her repair began from September 2006 at the Kanaya works. Her boiler was replaced from the C12-208, and was returned for painting and beautification as the Thailand No.735, as she was during the Thailand Railway years. On the 5th of September 2007, her repair was completed. After test runs, C56-44 was returned to regular service from the 7th of October 2007.
The returned engine C56-31, at the War Museum Tokyo.
There are four or five preserved C56s in Thailand, and one (ex C56-57) at Myanmar (uncertain number). However, Thailand C56s parts were often diverted or exchanged among another engines. So, the preserved engines parts, are not always original.