Saturday, 28 October 2017

Class DD51: The Long-standing Diesel Locomotive

DL Class DD51 is exhibited at the Sumidagawa Station Freight Festival (October, 2016) 

The day of the Sumidagawa Station Freight Festival is drawing near again. What is the Sumidagawa Station Freight Festival? It is an annual event held at Sumidagawa Freight Station by JR Freight (JRF). JRF is one of the JR group railway companies established in 1987. Different from the other JR group companies, JRF operates their trains on a nationwide scale, using the other regional JR group companies' tracks.

Taking this opportunity, I am going to show you what it was like at the last festival held on October 30th, 2016. The main event of the festival was an exhibition of JRF's locomotive fleet. The vermilion colored diesel locomotive (DL), Class DD51, drew a crowd. The DD51 is a diesel-hydraulic locomotive launched in 1962. A total of 649 units were built between 1962 and 1978. The DD51 has a convex type body with three double-shaft bogies. Two of them on both ends of the body are motive bogies and the other one at the center of the body is a bogie without power (B+2+B in UIC notation). The DD51 has two 1,100 ps (or 1,000 ps) diesel engines.

Class DD51 is often operated as a double-heading train. For instance, a famous overnight sleeper train, Hokutosei, was a double-heading train pulled by the DD51 on the section between Hakodate and Sapporo on Hokkaido Island. Unfortunately, Hokutosei was abolished in 2015, when the Hokkaido Shinkansen was opened.

Class DD51 is the evergreen long-standing DL in Japan.

Close up of DD51 1805 (October, 2016)