Umekōji Steam Engine Museum
Please note: This article was prepared many years ago and before the decision was taken by JR West to combine this famous roundhouse and museum in Kyōto with the collection of the now closed Modern Transport Museum from Bentenchō in Ōsaka with a more modern and larger museum incorporating the collection here.
Umekōji in Kyōto first opened as a shed in 1914 and for a long time was a major engine depot on the heavy Tōkaidō main line with a roudhouse. To commemorate the hundredth anniversary of railways in Japan, it became a museum and opened as such in October 1972. It features the following locomotives (in chronological order):
Type 8620, 2-6-0, 48.8 tonnes, built by Kisha in 1914. The 8620, nicknamed Hachiroku (Eight-six), became the first domestic standard. Its duties were mainly for passenger work. 687 8620s were produced for 17 years.
Type 9600, 2-8-0, 60,4
tonnes, built by Kawasaki in 1914. The 9600, nicknamed Kyuroku
(Nine-six), became a domestic standard as well as 8620, but this class
was for freight-haulingas. 770 Kyurokus were produced.
No less than 50 others of this 9600 type are preserved as static exhibits, including three in China.
Type D50, 78.1 tonnes, 2-8-2 built by Hitachi in 1926. Formed basis for the D51 type. It was the first domestic Mikado and became a second generation standard like the C51. Its duties were mainly freight hauling. Photo by Paul Moylan.
Type C51, 69.6 tonnes, 4-6-2 built by Kisha in 1927. It was the first domestic Pacific and, as the second standardized engine, displaced all of the US made 8900 class, which was the first Pacific in Japan, from express-hauling duties on the Tōkaidō main line. 289 of this type were built by 1923.
Type C53, 4-6-2, 81 tonnes, three-cylinder built by Kisha in 1928. One
of 97 in the class built by Kisha (44) and Kawasaki (53) between 1928
and1930. C53 45 entered service in November 1928 and worked on
semi-fasts and expresses on the Tōkaidō and Sanyō Main Lines. It was
progressively allocated to Hamamatsu, Hiroshima, Maibara, Miyahara,
Nagoya, Ogori, Shimonoseki and Shizuoka. It finished service at Umekōji
in June 1950. Others were withdrawn between 1948 and 1950.
retirement, it was in the custody of JNR Takatori works in Kōbe. In
1962, as one of the commemorative projects for the 90th
anniversary of Japanese railways, it was restored to its original form
to be an exhibit at the newly opened Ōsaka Transport Museum. Prior to
transfer, it was operated on the main line around Kōbe-Ōsaka-Kyōto. In
1972, upon opening of the Umekōji Museum, it was finally settled in the
The following photos were taken at Ōsaka Transport Museum in
1963 by Hiroshi Naito.
Type C55, 4-6-2, 66 tonnes, built by Kawasaki in 1934. It has spoke type wheels as opposed to others which are more similar to Bulleid's designs. 21 out of 62 C55s first featured as streamliners, but later they were all converted to a regular boiler form. This light Pacific formed the first modern steam and led to the emergence of the popular C57 class.
2-6-4 tank built by Kawasaki in 1935. A large class constructed between 1932 and 1947, members were used throughout Japan on local duties. The Oigawa Railway operates two in working order and another 50 are static exhibits throughout Japan.
of 1115 2-8-2s built between 1936 and 1945. The class was Japan's first
standardized modern engine, as well as C57, and was used mainly for
freight service. They were built by five companies: Kawasaki (D51 1
from 1936), Kisha (Seizo), Hitachi, Mitsubishi and Nippon Sharyo, as
well as JNR (D51 200 from 1938) itself. They weigh 78.4 tonnes, had a
top speed of 85 km/h and have dome variations. D51 200 is in JR
West's operational fleet, as is D51 498 in the case of JR East, at
Takasaki. 178 others are exhibited at various places around Japan.
Type C58, 2-6-2, 58.7 tonns, built between 1938 and 1947 by Kawasaki and Kisha. The class was developed as a standardized general purpose engine. Duties were both passenger and freight train hauling on local light lines, including work on the Yamanote Freight Line in Tōkyō. 427 C58s were produced.
Type D52, 2-8-2, 85.1 tonnes, built by Mitsubishi in 1946. Six others are static exhibits around Japan. The D52 class was the most powerful steam in Japan. This type was first produced during war time (in 1943) and 285 were built in total.
Type C59, 4-6-2, 80.3 tonnes, built by Hitachi in 1946. Class first introduced in 1941 as the forth generation standardized modern engine following D51, C57 and C58. 100 C59s were built before the war and 73 more were additionally manufactured between 1946 and 1947 after the war.
C61, 4-6-4, 79.5 tonnes, built by Mitsubishi in 1948 as Japan's first
Hudson. One of 33 of a class introduced between 1947 and 1953. They
combined a D51 boiler with elements from the C57 class. New wheel
arrangement reduced the weight on the traction axles of the class, thus
allowing the engine to serve lighter lines.
C61 2 is in JR West's operational fleet.
Top Speed: 100km/h
C62, 4-6-4, 88.8 tonnes, was the heaviest passenger steam. A fleet of
49 Hudsons converted from D52s between 1948 and 1953. Both C62 1 (D52
74) and C62 2 (D52 455) date from 1948 and were constructed by Hitachi.
C62 2 is in working order, as was JR Hokkaido's C62 3 until recently.
They often hauled the glorious limited-express 'Tsubame' on the Tōkaidō
main line (Tōkyō-Kōbe) during its non-electrified period. After
electrification, they were transferred to Hokkaido island, and often
hauled express 'Niseko' (Sapporo-Hakodate) until the final stage of
Top Speed: 100 km/h
Type C56, 2-6-0, 37.6 tonnes, built by Kawasaki in 1939. The class is a tender version of light tank C12. From 1935 to 1939, 160 C56s were manufactured. Nicknamed 'Pony'. Running here in October 1994.
Type C57, 4-6-2, 67.5 tonnes, built by Kawasaki in 1937. Following the
D51, this Pacific became a definite standard for Japan's modern steam.
A lot of railfans were attracted to its noble figure. 201 C57s were
buit between 1937 and 1947.
It was damaged during the 1995 Kōbe Earthquake while being overhauled but successfully repaired.
Refer to the Steam in Japan page.