JNR Class EF55

The Class EF55 (EF55形) is a 2Co+Co1 wheel arrangement electric locomotive type consisting of three locomotives built in 1936 by Hitachi, Kawasaki, and Tōyō Electric in Japan.[2] They were nicknamed "Moomin".

Class EF55
EF55 1 at Matsumoto Station, October 2003
Type and origin
Power typeElectric
BuilderHitachi, Kawasaki, Tōyō Electric
Build date1936
Total produced3
Gauge1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in)
Driver dia.1,250 mm (4 ft 1 in)
Trailing dia.860 mm (2 ft 10 in)
Length19,150 mm (62 ft 10 in)
Width2,810 mm (9 ft 3 in)
Height3,810 mm (12 ft 6 in)
Loco weight100.38 t
Electric system/s1,500 V DC
Performance figures
Maximum speed75 km/h (47 mph)[1]
Power output1.350 MW (1,810 hp)
Tractive effort6,300 kgf (61,780 N; 13,890 lbf)
OperatorsJNR, JR East
Number in class3
DeliveredMarch 1936
DispositionAll withdrawn


They were originally intended to haul limited express trains on the Tōkaidō Line. Although based on the earlier EF53 design, the EF55s featured a unique non-symmetrical wheel arrangement with a streamlined cab at only one end. The number 2 end had a traditional-style cab with access deck.[1]


The need to turn locomotives in regular use proved to be the downfall for this small class,[2] and the locomotives were placed in storage from 1958, and then officially withdrawn in 1964. Following withdrawal, EF55 1 was moved to the former Chūō Railway Institute near Nishi-Kokubunji Station for apprentice training purposes.[2] EF55 3 was cannibalized to donate motors and other components to the ED30 prototype AC electric locomotive, and EF55 2 was also cut up shortly after.[2]

Preserved examples

EF55 1 was designated as an important piece of railway heritage in 1978, and was subsequently restored to running condition, re-entering service in 1986 for use hauling special event trains.[2] It was operated by JR East, based at Takasaki depot, until it was finally withdrawn in December 2008.

EF55 1 was moved from Takasaki to Omiya in January 2015,[3] and exhibited at JR East's Railway Museum from 12 April.[4]

See also


  1. JR全車輛ハンドブック'93 [JR Rolling Stock Handbook 1993] (in Japanese). Japan: Neko Publishing. 1993.
  2. Inoue, Kōichi (1999). 国鉄機関車事典: 蒸気・電気・ディーゼル機関車66形式 国鉄機関車辞典 [JNR Locomotive Encyclopedia] (in Japanese). Japan: Sankaido. p. 92–93. ISBN 978-4-381-10338-3.
  3. EF55 1,鉄道博物館で展示へ [EF55 1 to be exhibited at Railway Museum]. Japan Railfan Magazine Online (in Japanese). Japan: Koyusha Co., Ltd. 27 January 2015. Retrieved 27 January 2015.
  4. 鉄道博物館EF55 1に「ご紋章」と日章旗 [EF55 1 at Railway Museum adorned with crest and flags]. Japan Railfan Magazine Online (in Japanese). Japan: Koyusha Co., Ltd. 26 April 2015. Retrieved 27 April 2015.
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