Japan - A Life Chasing Trains



These pictures were taken while I was in the Navy and visiting Sasebo in southern Japan.  I had purchased a Nikon F in the Navy Exchange and figured I should go try it out.  Sasebo was on a branch line that still was steam powered.  Most of these pictures were taken at Haiki where the branch to Sasebo connected with the mainline to Nagasaki.  The time frame is approximately November 1963

When I posted these pix on trainorders.com I got this response from a Japanese fan: 

Thank you jbwest-san for posting photos. Here is some more info on these engines. Until 1972, Haiki Engine House had hosted number of Class C57 4-6-2s including 9, 37, 100, 111, 112, 116, 124, 153, 154, 155, 158, 174 and 175 for passenger service. Number 37 had a standard lifters whilst number 116 and 175 had special lifters called "Mon Def" similar to German rail type ones. Side view of Class D51 949 (Minami Nobeoka Engine House) shows unique arrangement of number board. It had a tablet catcher under the side window so that the fireman can pick it up from the rear door of the cab. This engine also had "Mon Def." Lucky C57 175 has been displayed in Miyazaki. Hiroshi

jbwest-san: Here is some more information on Haiki Engine House for you. Haiki facility had established in 1897 when Kyushu Rail Company (Private Rail system in Kyushu) opened up its fist rail service in that region. Later it was nationalized and became a part of JNR system. Modernizing as demand for power requirement went up, by 1916, 9 of class 8620s 2-6-0 were assigned. The first photo next to C57, 48645 was captured! By 1936, Class C11s 2-6-4 tank engines were added to its roster. Due to operational convention, tank engines were better fit on Sasebo line operation. Ltd. overnight express Sakura was once pulled by C11!! And this is the only official C11s to do so. In 1942 it got the first 4-6-2 class C51s from Tosu Engine House. Total of 14 of them were assigned to Haiki area. Class C57s were introduced in 1962. So it was one year before your assignment at Sasebo. It was a Brand New modern �Pacific� engine in that region! Yes, Haiki never got Class D51 2-8-2s instead its got older D50 2-8-2s. So D51 was a foreign engine visiting Haiki area from Moji by pulling through freight and returning to Moji area. This was normal operation of that era. Last remarks are that two of class 8620s were used as royal engines in 1969. And March 13, 1972 was the date when last steam powered regular service trains were operated. Hope this helps,