KiHa 52

The KiHa 52 (キハ52形, Kiha-gojūni-gata) is a Japanese Diesel Multiple Unit (DMU) type formerly operated by Japanese National Railways (JNR), JR Group companies, and later by the private operator Isumi Railway in Japan, Myanmar Railways, and Philippine National Railways (PNR).

KiHa 52
KiHa 52 in old JNR Two tone vermilion and beige livery
In service1958–2010
Number built112
Number in serviceJapan
:1 (Isumi Railways)
1 (Philippine National Railways)
Number preserved3 (KiHa 52-115; 52-130; 52-156)
Number scrapped105 vehicles
Fleet numbersKiHa 52 1 - 56
KiHa 52 101 - 156
Operator(s)JNR (1958–1987)
JR East (1987–2010)
JR West (1987–2010)
Myanmar Railways (2007–2016)
Isumi Railway Company (2011–present)
Philippine National Railways (2012–present)
Depot(s)Tutuban, Naga
Line(s) servedMetro South Commuter
Bicol Commuter
Mayon Limited (currently Isarog Limited Express)
Isumi line
Car body constructionSteel
Doors2 single-leaf sliding doors per side
Coupling systemAAR coupler
Track gauge1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in)

112 KiHa 52 cars were built for Japanese National Railways between 1958 and 1966. The design was based on the KiHa 20 series "general purpose" DMU type, but with two engines for use on mountainous lines.[1]


  • KiHa 52 1 – 56: Built 1958–1962[2]
  • KiHa 52 101 – 156: Built 1963–1966[2]
  • KiHa 52 651: Converted from KiHa 52 101[2]

Livery variations

JNR-era liveries

JR-era regional liveries


Following withdrawal of the last remaining examples operated by JR-West, one car, KiHa 52 125, was resold to the private operator Isumi Railway in Chiba Prefecture in April 2011. This unit was built in 1965, and formerly operated on the Etsumi-Hoku Line and Ōito Line in the Hokuriku region until 2010.[1]

Overseas operations


Seventeen former KiHa 52 Diesel Railcars were shipped to Myanmar to be operated by Myanmar Railways between 2007 and 2008. The following cars were transferred to Myanmar as shown:

Former Body Number of JR GroupRBE Body Number by Myanmar Railways
KiHa 52-108RBE 5001
KiHa 52-109RBE 5002
KiHa 52-110RBE 5011
KiHa 52-126RBE 5003
KiHa 52-141RBE 5012
KiHa 52-143RBE 5004
KiHa 52-144RBE 5005
KiHa 52-145RBE 5006
KiHa 52-146RBE 5013
KiHa 52-147RBE 5014
KiHa 52-148RBE 5015
KiHa 52-149RBE 5016
KiHa 52-151RBE 5007
KiHa 52-152RBE 5008
KiHa 52-153RBE 5009
KiHa 52-154RBE 5017
KiHa 52-155RBE 5018


Seven former JR East KiHa 52 cars originally based at JR East Niitsu Transportation Zone were donated in September 2011 to the Philippine National Railways (PNR), where they are used on commuter services in the Manila area.[3]

As of October 2013, the trains are normally operated as two 3-car formations. The seventh car, KiHa 52 123, in Niigata livery, was taken out of service after operating for only seven months, and is stored at Tutuban Depot as a source of spare parts for the rest of the fleet.[3]


The two three-car sets are referred to as "KiHa-O" (for orange) and "KiHa-B" (for blue), reflecting the liveries they carry, and are formed as shown below,[3] with cars 52-137 and 52-102 at the Alabang end, as shown below.

KiHa-O 52-13752-12752-122
KiHa-B 52-10252-12052-121

The former toilets in each car are locked out of use.[3]

Preserved examples

In addition to KiHa 52 125 operated on the Isumi Railway, as of 2014 three Kiha 52 cars are preserved in Japan, as listed below.[4]


  1. Kusamachi, Yoshikazu (January 29, 2014). いすみ鉄道のキハ52、3月から「首都圏色」に [Isumi Railway's KiHa 52 to be repainted into Metropolitan Livery from March]. Response (in Japanese). Retrieved June 14, 2014.
  2. JR全車輛ハンドブック'92 [JR Rolling Stock Handbook 1992]. Japan: Neko Publishing. 1992. p. 296.
  3. Saito, Miko (March 2014). フィリピン国鉄南方線の日本型車両 [Japanese rolling stock on the PNR Southern Line]. The Railway Pictorial (in Japanese). 64 (887): 64–72.
  4. 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. 125. ISBN 978-4863209282.
  5. ジオステーション ジオパル [Geostation Geopal]. Itoigawa Sightseeing (in Japanese). Japan: Itoigawa Sightseeing Association. Archived from the original on 10 January 2017. Retrieved 10 January 2017.
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