Steam Locomotive

No.1292 Zenko

Class 1290

1874 - 1930 (Class 1290)
1882 - 1923 (No.1292 Zenko)

One of the earlier steam locomotives imported for railroad construction.

During 1874, two steam locomotives were imported for construction between Kobe and Kyoto from the British company Manning Wardle. (manufactured numbers 431 and 435).
At that time, the Osaka area was assigned to even numbers. According to this rule, they were named No.22 and 24. (The even and odd numbering rules were revised during 1876, consequently, I'm guessing that, those during 1873 and 1874 had other numbers during the imported time (No.22 was No.21?). But there is an absence of evidence in regard to it.

No.1292s Inside-Cylinder
The visitors were able to look at the engine's Inside-Cylinder underside in the museum.
This locomotive was a model engine for construction, as to be used in beginning railroad construction for unfinished roadbeds. Therefore, they had a very light axle load which can run on unfinished roadbeds. They were distinguished from regular engines, and were called " Ballast Engines ". They had an exceptional Saddle-Tank and Inside-Cylinder in the case of Narrow-Gauge Japanese railroad. But they were not popular in Japan.

Construction was completed and opened on the 6th of February 1877, between Kyoto and Kobe, later No.22 and No.24 worked in the Osaka area with yard works. Afterward, they were used in the South part of Hokuriku (including a part of Tokaido) line construction and their class name was assigned "H" in 1885 and was changed again to class B1 during 1898.

From the first No.22 and No.24 were imported and nine years later during 1882, one more similar engine was added. It had the Manning Wardle Co. manufactured number of 815 and named No.25.
Japan's first private railway company "Nippon-Tetsudo Co." received No.25 engine as a transfer from Japanese government railway for their railroad construction.

The first imported Government Railway No.22.
later Class 1290 No.1290.

The Nippon-Tetsudo No.Kou-1 (ex-No.25)
later Class 1290 No.1292 Zenko.

No. 25 was shipped over Arakawa river to Kawaguchi town for Nippon-Tetsudo (Ueno-Kumagaya) line construction. Upon arrival, No.25 was located near Zenko-ji temple in Kawaguchi town. For that reason, she earned the nickname "Zenko".

Nippon-Tetsudo company held a groundbreaking ceremony on the 1st of September 1882.
The ceremony invited about 200 government officers and major stockholders. Invited guests were on the train which ran on the construction section of 4.5 miles between Kawaguchi and Oba, and they inspected construction. Zenko pulled the train, and she was considered to be the First-Engine of the Nippon-Tetsudo railway company.
During 1894, Zenko-No.25 was named No.3 for the formal Nippon-Tetsudo Co's engine. But it was soon again changed to Kou-1, for the reason that Ballast-Engines were named Class "Kou". During May 1905, Kou-1 was used at the Ueno depot and used for swinching operations.

During 1906, Nippon-Tetsudo Co. was nationalized. Kou-1 became the government railways engine with No.22 and No.24. They were renamed to class 1290, and Number 22 was changed to No.1290, No.23 to No.1291 and ex-No.25 Kou-1 to No.1292 when class names were revised during 1906.

No.1292 builders plate

During March 1911, No.1290 and No.1291 were retired from the government railway. And they were moved to the newly opened Chiba Prefectural Railway during the 9th of May 1911, and named Chiba Railway's No.1 and No.2. They were used between Noda and Kashiwa, but retired and scrapped during 1930.

Afterward, No.1292 was operated for swinching in the Nagoya area until 1923 and retired.
However, she was not scrapped because of the highly-noted engine name "Zenko".
Later she was preserved at the Tokyo Railway School in Ikebukuro for safekeeping.
She was later moved to Manseibashi's Railway Museum during 1940 with the "Benkei 7100".
During October 1959 Zenko was designated a Railway Monument.
During October 2007, she was moved to Saitama with the museum's new relocation.

Class 1290, No.1292 Zenko Biographic Data Chart

Date Location Application
Oct 1881 Manning Wardle Sil No.815 Manufacture
1882 Shinbashi area, as No.25 Deployment
Aug 1882 Nippon Tetsudo On lend ?
1884 - 1894? Takasaki area
1885 To Joy valve gear, Shinbashi works Remodeled
Apr 1892 Nippon Tetsudo (On paper) as No.1 Transferred
Jun 1894 Class Ko-1, No.1 Renamed
May 1906 Taira
Nov 1906 JGR
Oct 1909 Class 1200 No.1292 Renamed
Jun - Aug 1914 Akita Tetsudo
On lend
1918 JGR
Service retired
Nov 1920 - Jul 1922 Izu-Hakone Tetsudo
On lend
Jul - Nov 1922 Sobu Tetsudo
On lend
27 Dec 1923 JGR Tokyo area Deregistered
1940 Ikebukuro railway school, Tokyo Exhibited
1942 Manseibashi Railway Museum Moved
Oct 2007 Saitama Railway Museum Moved


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