JNR Class EF81

The Class EF81 is a six-axle Bo-Bo-Bo wheel arrangement multi-voltage AC/DC electric locomotive type operated on passenger and freight services in Japan since 1968.[2] As of 1 April 2016, 44 locomotives remained in service, operated by JR Freight, JR East, and JR West.[3]

Class EF81
JR East EF81 137 in August 2010
Type and origin
Power typeElectric
BuilderHitachi, Mitsubishi
Build date1968–1992
Total produced161[1]
Gauge1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in)
BogiesDT138 (outer), DT139 (centre)
Wheel diameter1,120 mm (3 ft 8 18 in)
Length18,600 mm (61 ft 14 in)
Width2,900 mm (9 ft 6 18 in)
Height4,280 mm (14 ft 12 in)
Loco weight100.8 t (99.2 long tons; 111.1 short tons)
Electric system/s1,500 V DC / 20 kV AC (50/60 Hz)
Current pickup(s)PS22 pantograph
Traction motorsMT52A x6
Safety systemsATS-SF
Performance figures
Maximum speed110 km/h (70 mph)
Power output2,550 kW (3,420 hp) (on DC)
2,370 kW (3,180 hp) (on AC)
Number in class44 (as of 1 April 2016)
DispositionIn service


  • EF81-0: Numbers EF81 1 – 152, built 1968–1979
  • EF81-300: Numbers EF81 301 – 304, built 1973–1975
  • EF81-400: Numbers EF81 401 – 414
  • EF81-450: Numbers EF81 451 – 455, built 1991–1992
  • EF81-500: Numbers EF81 501 – 503, built 1989
  • EF81-600: Former EF81-0 locomotives renumbered by JR Freight from May 2012


152 locomotives were built from 1968 to 1979 in three batches and numbered EF81 1 to EF81 152.[2] 14 EF81-0 locomotives were later modified to become Class EF81-400.[2] The prototype locomotive, EF81 1, was built by Hitachi, and delivered in 1968.[1] Locomotives EF81 137 onward were built with sun-visor plates above the cab windows.[4] These were also subsequently retro-fitted to locomotives EF81 133 to 136.[4]

The prototype, EF81 1, was withdrawn on 31 March 2004.[2]

From May 2012, JR Freight locomotives not fitted with driving recording units mandated for operations over 100 km/h (60 mph) were renumbered by adding "600" to the running number to differentiate them from the other members of the sub-class fitted.[4]

As of 1 April 2016, 18 Class EF81-0 locomotives remained in service, operated by JR East and JR West.[3]


Four locomotives were built between 1973 and 1975 by Hitachi with unpainted corrugated stainless steel bodies for use on services through the undersea Kanmon Tunnel to Kyushu.[2] In 1978, locomotives EF81 301 and 302 were transferred to the Joban Line in 1978, and received the standard JNR AC/DC livery of pale red.[1]

As of 1 April 2016, only one Class EF81-300 locomotive remained in service, EF81 303, operated by JR Freight and based at Moji Depot.[3]


14 locomotives were built in 1986 and 1987 and to replace ageing Class EF30 hauling services through the Kanmon Tunnel.[2] Although some locomotives operating on a few "Blue Train" services served some railway lines in Kyushu, in particular sections of the Kagoshima Main Line and the Nippō Main Line as well as the entire Nagasaki Main Line.

Locomotives EF81 409 to 414 were withdrawn between March 1996 and December 2010.[5]

As of 1 April 2016, three Class EF81-400 locomotives remained in service, EF81 403/404/406, all operated by JR Freight and based at Moji Depot.[3]


Five locomotives built in 1991 and 1992 for use hauling freight services through the Kanmon Tunnel. Locomotives EF81 451 and 452 have modern-style headlight clusters.[1]

As of 1 April 2016, all five Class EF81-450 locomotives remained in service, operated by JR Freight and based at Moji Depot.[3]


Three locomotives, EF81 501 to 503, were built by Hitachi in 1989 for JR Freight for use on freight services along the Sea of Japan coastal route.[2]

As of 1 April 2016, all three Class EF81-500 locomotives remained in service, operated by JR Freight and based at Moji Depot.[3]


These are former Class EF81-0 locomotives renumbered from May 2012 by JR Freight to differentiate them from locomotives fitted with driving recording units mandated for operations over 100 km/h (60 mph).[4]

As of 1 April 2016, 14 Class EF81-600 locomotives remained in service, operated by JR Freight and based at Moji and Toyama Depots.[3]

Livery variations

In August 2014, JR East Tabata-based locomotive EF81 81 was repainted into a JNR-period imperial train locomotive livery, consisting of "rose pink" (Red No. 13) with silver bodyside stripe.[6]

Preserved examples

As of April 2016, four members of the class are preserved.

See also


  1. 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]. Japan: Sankaido. pp. 130–131. ISBN 978-4-381-10338-3.
  2. Jēāru zensharyō handobukku: Rail Magazine 2009 JR全車輌ハンドブック2009 [JR Rolling Stock Handbook 2009]. Japan: Neko Publishing. 2009. pp. 47–51. ISBN 978-4-7770-0836-0.
  3. Miyahara, Masakazu, ed. (December 2016). 国鉄最終章LAST (鉄道ジャーナル2017年2月号別冊) [JNR - The Final Chapter (Railway Journal February 2017 Extra issue)] (in Japanese). Japan: Railway Journal. pp. 28–31. ASIN B01N59AJPB. ISSN 0288-2337.
  4. Jr機関車カタログ: Jr7社の現有30形式を詳しく解說 JR機関車カタログ [JR Locomotive Catalogue]. Japan: Ikaros Publications Ltd. 20 June 2013. pp. 64–67. ISBN 9784863207271.
  5. JR気動車客車編成表 2013 [JR DMU & Coaching Stock Formations - 2013]. Japan: Kotsu Shimbunsha. 30 June 2013. p. 144. ISBN 978-4-330-37813-8.
  6. Sekikawa, Takeshi (November 2014). EF81 81 [田], 往年の塗装で出場 [Tabata-based EF81 81 outshopped in former livery]. Japan Railfan Magazine (in Japanese). Vol. 54 no. 643. Japan: Koyusha Co., Ltd. p. 169.
  7. Sasada, Masahiro (25 November 2014). 国鉄&jr 保存車大全 2015-2016 国鉄&JR保存車大全2015-2016 [JNR & JR Preserved Rolling Stock Complete Guide 2015-2016] (in Japanese). Tokyo, Japan: Ikaros Publications Ltd. p. 122. ISBN 978-4863209282.
  8. 京都鉄道博物館 [Kyoto Railway Museum]. Japan Railfan Magazine (in Japanese). Vol. 56 no. 662. Japan: Koyusha Co., Ltd. June 2016. pp. 52–53.
  9. "EF81 138". Tetsudo Hobidas (in Japanese). Japan: Neko Publishing Co., Ltd. 2 February 2016. Archived from the original on 17 January 2017. Retrieved 16 January 2017.
  10. 関東鉄道キハ100形2両が保存先へ陸送される [Two Kanto Railway Kiha 100 cars moved to preservation location]. Japan Railfan Magazine Online (in Japanese). Japan: Koyusha Co., Ltd. 16 January 2017. Archived from the original on 16 January 2017. Retrieved 16 January 2017.
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