Wednesday, 12 October 2016

C59 1: Preserved SL on Kyushu Island

Steam locomotive, C59 1, is preserved in Kyushu Railway History Museum

Along with the retro station and the sightseeing train, Kyushu Railway History Museum is another attraction for rail-fans in the Mojiko area. This museum was opened adjacent to JR Kyushu Mojiko Station in 2003. We can see historical rolling stock and the old red brick building, namely ex-Kyushu Railway main office, there.

One of the must-see exhibitions in the museum is the steam locomotive (SL) C59 1, the top number unit of the Class C59. The Class C59 was launched in 1941 by ex-Japanese Government Railways (JGR) to replace the old model such as the Class C53. A total of 173 units had been built by Kisha Seizo, Kawasaki Sharyo and Hitachi over 7 years. The Class C59 had 1,750 mm-diameter large driving wheels (4-6-2 in Whyte notation), and was operated as a limited express train on the trunk lines of JGR. Currently, only 3 units are preserved in Japan.

The top number unit, C59 1, was built by Kisha Seizo in 1941. After belonging to Nagoya and Himeji Depot on Honshu Island, it was moved to Mojiko Depot on Kyushu Island in 1956. C59 1 eventually retired from the track in 1965.

In the meantime, I saw a special round signboard on the front of C59 1. It was for Hayabusa (falcon) limited express in the 1950s. Hayabusa, pulled by the Class C59, was a premier train in Japan. Its name still exists as a Tohoku-Hokkaido Shinkansen train of JR East and JR Hokkaido.

A special signboard for a limited express train, Hayabusa, is displayed on the front of C59 1

Official information of Kyushu Railway History Museum (in Japanese):