Wednesday, August 2, 2017

A Unique Locomotive in Hachioji Station Yard

Diesel locomotive Class JR Freight HD300 stands at Hachioji Station Yard

I have recently visited Hachioji City in Tokyo Metropolis, as something came up. After finishing my meeting, I came across a unique locomotive at Hachioji Station on the way back home. Please look at the picture. It is a hybrid locomotive, Class HD300, owned by JR Freight (hereafter JRF). I saw this high-tech locomotive for the first time in a while. The last time I saw it was when I visited JRF Sumidagawa Freight Station three years ago to join the 2014 Sumidagawa Station Freight Festival.

The Class HD300 is a switcher locomotive working in station yards. It was launched in 2011, and a winner of the 2012 Laurel Prize awarded by Japan Rail Fan Club. A total of 26 units have been built so far by Toshiba. They currently belong to JRF Tokyo, Niiza, Koshigaya and Sumidagawa freight stations, JR East Hachioji Station and so on. The HD300 has dual electric power sources, namely a diesel generator and lithium-ion rechargeable batteries. Permanent magnet synchronous motors (PMSM) with VVVF inverter (variable frequency drive) electric control system are on-board.

The HD300 is a quiet, eco-friendly and state-of-the-art locomotive, but its design is not my cup of tea to be honest. It looks like LEGO, a toy. The other or more serious problem must be its manufacturing cost. Unfortunately, JRF stopped to additionally introduce this unique locomotive in 2017, probably because of its high manufacturing cost. The Class HD300 locomotive would be no longer built.

Side view of the Class HD300