Sentetsu Mikasa-class locomotive

The Mikasa-class (ミカサ) locomotives were a group of steam tender locomotives of the Chosen Government Railway (Sentetsu) with 2-8-2 wheel arrangement. The "Mika" name came from the American naming system for steam locomotives, under which locomotives with 2-8-2 wheel arrangement were called "Mikado" in honour of the Emperor of Japan, as the first 2-8-2 locomotives in the world were built for Japan.

Chosen Government Railway Mikasa class (ミカサ)
West Chosen Central Railway Mikasa class (ミカサ)
Korean National Railroad Mika3 class (미카3)
Korean State Railway Migasŏ class (미가서)
Central China Railway Mikasa class (ミカサ)
China Railways JF9 (解放9)
Builder's photo of Sentetsu locomotive ミカサ97
Type and origin
Power typeSteam
BuilderKisha Seizō, Nippon Sharyō, Hitachi,
Kawasaki, Gyeongseong Works
Build date1927–1946
Total produced398
Gauge1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in)
Driver dia.1,450 mm (57.09 in)
Length22,035 mm (867.5 in)
Width3,078 mm (10 ft 1.2 in)
Height4,507 mm (14 ft 9.4 in)
Loco weight90.65 t (89.22 long tons)
Tender weight65.80 t (64.76 long tons)
Fuel capacity11.0 t (10.8 long tons) (1st)
12.0 t (11.8 long tons)
Water cap22.7 m3 (6,000 US gal) (1st)
28.0 m3 (7,400 US gal)
  Firegrate area
4.75 m2 (51.1 sq ft)
  Small tubes118 x 51 mm (2.0 in)
  Large tubes28 x 137 mm (5.4 in)
Boiler pressure13.0 kgf/cm2 (185 psi)
Heating surface175.10 m2 (1,884.8 sq ft)
  Tubes153.40 m2 (1,651.2 sq ft)
  Firebox21.70 m2 (233.6 sq ft)
  Heating area61.50 m2 (662.0 sq ft)
Cylinder size580 mm × 710 mm
(22.835 in × 27.953 in)
Valve gearWalschaerts
Performance figures
Maximum speed70 km/h (43 mph)
Tractive effort179.0 kN (40,200 lbf)
OperatorsChosen Government Railway
West Chosen Central Railway
Korean National Railroad
Korean State Railway
Central China Railway
China Railway
ClassSentetsu, WCCR, CCR: ミカサ
KNR: 미카3
KSR: 미가서
CR: ㄇㄎ玖 (1950–1959); JF9 (解放9) (1959–)
Number in classSentetsu: 308
KNR: at least 54
KSR: at least 9
CCR/CR: 38
NumbersSentetsu: ミカサ1–ミカサ297, ミカサ303–ミカサ313
WCCR: ミカサ201–ミカサ208
KNR: see text
KSR: 63xx (see text)
CCR: ミカサ11–ミカサ19, ミカサ110–ミカサ137, ミカサ320
CR: JF9 3671–3710

Of all Mika classes, 131 went to the Korean National Railroad in South Korea and 292 to the Korean State Railway in North Korea.[1] Of these 423 locomotives, 356 were from Sentetsu; the other 67 were South Manchuria Railway Mikai-class engines on loan to Sentetsu along with Mika-type locomotives which had previously belonged to the twelve privately owned railways in Korea before 1945. Not included in this number, however, are the six SMR Mikai-class locomotives that were assigned to SMR's Rajin depot for operation on SMR's lines in northeastern Korea, and the eight SMR Mikaro-class locomotives likewise assigned to the Rajin depot; these fourteen locomotives were taken over by the Korean State Railway. Despite the DPRK government's extensive anti-Japanese propaganda, the railway nevertheless continues to use the "Mika" name officially for these locomotives even thought it refers to the Japanese emperor.[2]

The Mikasa class was also operated by the Central China Railway in Japanese-occupied China,[2] and by the China Railway after the Liberation of China, where they were designated JF9 class.


Designed by Sentetsu based on the experiences with the rebuilding of the Pureshi class, the Mikasa class, along with the Pashishi and Tehoro classes, were the first locomotives designed by Sentetsu. Because they were designed specifically for Korean operating needs and conditions, these superheated, two-cylinder locomotives were a great success and proved very easy to build, operate and maintain.[3]

The Mikasa, Pashishi and Tehoro classes all had large heating areas. From its inception, the Mikasa class was designed to use the lignite abundant in Korea, which is less efficient than the anthracite the American-built locomotives needed. The Mikasa class featured a combustion chamber firebox to achieve sufficient combustion of the coal, which in turn improved boiler efficiency. Following the experience with the Mikasas, combustion chamber fireboxes were installed on the JNR 9700 class and JNR D52 class locomotives built from 1943. To improve maintenance logistics, care was taken during the design process to maximise the number common components between the Pashishi and Mikasa classes.[3]

Structurally it is generally an American design in its features, with the first dome being a sandbox, and the second being for steam. The firebox is located above the trailing axle. After the first 27 were completed, the design was modified, resulting in a slightly different appearance of the smokestack and the steam dome. The tender was made bigger at the same time, with coal capacity rising from 11 t (11 long tons; 12 short tons) to 12 t (12 long tons; 13 short tons), and water capacity increasing from 22.7 m3 (800 cu ft) to 28.0 m3 (990 cu ft). The tender is a four-axle type, running on two four-wheel bogies of American Bettendorf design.[3]


Between 1927 and 1945, 308 were built for Sentetsu in Japan and Korea by five different builders, and a further five were built after the end of the Pacific War for the KNR. Prior to 1945, eight units were built for the privately owned West Chosen Central Railway, and 38 for the Central China Railway. In all, a total of 398 were built, but there were many in various states of construction at the end of the war that were never completed.

Chosen Government Railway ミカサ (Mikasa) class

The first 70, which entered Sentetsu service prior to April 1938, were numbered ミカサ1701 through ミカサ1770; in Sentetsu's general renumbering of 1938, these became ミカサ1 through ミカサ70.[4] Those that entered service after April 1938 were numbered according to the new system.

The Mikasa class became Sentetsu's standard locomotive for freight trains and trains on steeper lines, especially on trunk lines such as the Gyeongui and Gyeongbu Lines. During the Pacific War, the industrialisation of northern Korea was expanded on a large scale, and to meet the resulting sharp increase in freight demands in the area, large numbers of Mikasas were assigned to work on the Gyeongwon and Hamgyeong Lines, as well.

The exact dispersal of Sentetsu's Mikasa-class locomotives after the partition of Korea is uncertain.

Timeline of Mikasa production for Sentetsu
Running Number
YearOriginalPost-1938BuilderWorks Number
19271701–1708ミカサ1–ミカサ8Kisha Seizō927–930, 961–964
19281709–1711ミカサ9–ミカサ11Nippon Sharyō207–209
1718–1720ミカサ18–ミカサ20Kisha Seizō1016–1018
19301721–1727ミカサ21–ミカサ27Gyeongseong Works8–14
1732–1735ミカサ32–ミカサ35Kisha Seizō1331–1334
19361736–1742ミカサ36–ミカサ42Kisha Seizō1382–1388
1752–1765ミカサ52–ミカサ65Kisha Seizō1507–1514, 1526–1531
19381748–1751ミカサ48–ミカサ51Nippon Sharyō514–517
1766–1770ミカサ66–ミカサ70Kisha Seizō1539–1543
ミカサ81–ミカサ93Kisha Seizō1643–1647, 1656–1663
1939ミカサ71–ミカサ75Nippon Sharyō607–611
ミカサ94–ミカサ99Kisha Seizō1672–1677
ミカサ104–ミカサ109Kisha Seizō1766–1771
1940ミカサ110–ミカサ129Kisha Seizō1896–1905, 1936–1945
ミカサ148–ミカサ172Nippon Sharyō817–841
ミカサ173–ミカサ179Gyeongseong Works64–70
ミカサ180–ミカサ186Kisha Seizō1960–1966
ミカサ192–ミカサ196Nippon Sharyō842–846
1941ミカサ197–ミカサ208Kisha Seizō2049–2054, 2156–2161
1942ミカサ209–ミカサ216Kisha Seizō2209–2216
ミカサ223–ミカサ228Nippon Sharyō1029–1034
ミカサ248–ミカサ278Hitachi1621–1627, 1704–1727
1943ミカサ217–ミカサ222Kisha Seizō2266–2271
ミカサ229–ミカサ244Nippon Sharyō1142–1151, 1176–1181
1944ミカサ245–ミカサ247Nippon Sharyō1261–1263
ミカサ279–ミカサ297Hitachi1728, 1848–1855, 1945–1954
ミカサ303–ミカサ313Nippon Sharyō1332–1342

West Chosen Central Railway ミカサ (Mikasa) class

As traffic volumes increased significantly through the Pacific War, the privately owned West Chosen Central Railway also found itself needing more power. As a result, eight Mikasa class locomotives were bought in 1943 and 1944. More were needed, but as the capacity of locomotive builders in Japan and Korea was already being stretched, Mikaro (ミカロ, Mika6) class locomotives were borrowed from the South Manchuria Railway (Mantetsu) instead.

After the partition of Korea all railways in both North and South were nationalised, and being located north of the 38th parallel, the West Chosen Central Railway's assets were taken over by the Korean State Railway.

Timeline of Mikasa production for the
West Chosen Central Railway
YearRunning NumberBuilderWorks Number
1943201, 202Hitachi1457, 1458
1944203-206Kisha Seizō2227-2230
207, 208Nippon Sharyō1213, 1214

Central China Railway ミカサ (Mikasa) class

The Central China Railway also bought locomotives built to the Sentetsu Mikasa design;[2] a total of 38 were built by Kisha Seizō, Hitachi and Nippon Sharyō in 1943 and 1944. These were numbered ミカサ11 through ミカサ19, ミカサ110 through ミカサ137 and ミカサ320. After the war, these eventually ended up with the China Railway.

Timeline of Mikasa production for the
Central China Railway
YearRunning NumbersBuilderWorks Number
1943ミカサ11–ミカサ15Kisha Seizō2217 - 2221
ミカサ16–ミカサ19Hitachi1392 - 1395
ミカサ110–ミカサ113Hitachi1478 - 1481
ミカサ119–ミカサ128Nippon Sharyō1193 - 1202
1944ミカサ114–ミカサ118Kisha Seizō2222 - 2226
ミカサ127–ミカサ137, ミカサ320Hitachi1729 - 1733, 1872 - 1875, 1871


The exact distribution of Sentetsu's Mikashi-class locomotives after the partition of Korea is uncertain, but they were operated by both the Korean National Railroad in the South and by the Korean State Railway in the North.

Korean National Railroad 미카3 (Mika3) class

Though the exact quantity and identities of the former Sentetsu Mikasa class locomotives that went to the Korean National Railroad isn't certain, there were at least 54 that were operated by the KNR.[4] Additionally, a further five, which had been under construction for Sentetsu at the end of the Pacific War, were completed by Hitachi in 1946 and delivered to the KNR as 미카3-298 through 미카3-302 (works numbers 2022-2026); this was followed by eight, 미카3-314 through 미카3-321, built new in 1947.[4] They were operated until at least 1968, by which time they were mostly relegated to shunting duties.[5]

Known Korean National Railroad 미카3
KNR numberSentetsu number in 1945BuilderYear builtWorks NumberNotes
미카3-8ミカサ8Kisha Seizō1927964
미카3-17ミカサ17Kawasaki19281253Scrapped by 1954.
미카3-27ミカサ27Gyeongseong193014During and immediately after the Korean War, carried "Southern Pacific" lettering on the tender.[6]
미카3-42ミカサ42Kisha Seizō19361388
미카3-50ミカサ50Nippon Sharyō1938516
미카3-52ミカサ52Kisha Seizō19371507
미카3-66ミカサ66Kisha Seizō19381539
미카3-71ミカサ71Nippon Sharyō1939607
미카3-89ミカサ89Kisha Seizō19381659
미카3-94ミカサ94Kisha Seizō19391672
미카3-96ミカサ96Kisha Seizō19391674
미카3-99ミカサ99Kisha Seizō19391677
미카3-111ミカサ111Kisha Seizō19401897
미카3-118ミカサ118Kisha Seizō19401904Scrapped by 1953.[4]
미카3-119ミカサ119Kisha Seizō19401905
미카3-120ミカサ120Kisha Seizō19401936
미카3-124ミカサ124Kisha Seizō19401940
미카3-150ミカサ150Nippon Sharyō1940819
미카3-161ミカサ161Nippon Sharyō1940832Preserved at the Korean Railway Museum.[4]
미카3-162ミカサ162Nippon Sharyō1940831
미카3-169ミカサ169Nippon Sharyō1940838
미카3-180ミカサ180Kisha Seizō19401960
미카3-181ミカサ181Kisha Seizō19401961
미카3-199ミカサ199Kisha Seizō19412051
미카3-208ミカサ208Kisha Seizō19412161
미카3-209ミカサ209Kisha Seizō19422209
미카3-210ミカサ210Kisha Seizō19422210
미카3-212ミカサ212Kisha Seizō19422212Wrecked in 1953 in a collision with a tank.[4]
미카3-216ミカサ216Kisha Seizō19422216
미카3-228ミカサ228Nippon Sharyō19421034
미카3-239ミカサ239Nippon Sharyō19431176
미카3-242ミカサ242Nippon Sharyō19431179
미카3-244ミカサ244Nippon Sharyō19431181Preserved at Imjingak.[4]
미카3-247ミカサ247Nippon Sharyō19441263
미카3-272ミカサ272Hitachi19421721Still in service in 1968.[4]
미카3-288ミカサ288Hitachi19441945Wrecked in an accident with a lorry in 1953.[4]
미카3-304ミカサ304Nippon Sharyō19441333Preserved at Sammu Park in Jeju City.[4]
미카3-311ミカサ311Nippon Sharyō19441340
미카3-312ミカサ312Nippon Sharyō19441341

Korean State Railway 미가서 (Migasŏ) class/6300 series

The identities and quantity of Sentetsu's Mikasa class locomotives that ended up in North Korea is not known; another eight were taken over from the West Chosen Central Railway. They remained in service for many decades after the Korean War;[2] some may still be in service at the present time. They were initially designated 미가서 (Migasŏ) class, and were later renumbered into the 6300 series; numbers higher than 100 were probably numbered into the 6400 series, as there were less than 24 Mikashi/Miganŏ-class locomotives in the DPRK, so numbers from 6425 on would have been free. How those taken over from the West Chosen Central Railway were numbered is unknown.

Known Korean State Railway 미가서
KSR numberSentetsu number in 1945BuilderYear builtWorks NumberNotes
미가서18 (6318)ミカサ18Kisha Seizō19281016Active around Kaesŏng in the 1990s.[7]
미가서36 (6336)ミカサ36Kisha Seizō19361382Still in service in 2003.[8]
미가서44 (6344)ミカサ44Kawasaki19371845Active around Wŏnsan in the 1990s.[7]
미가서91 (6391)ミカサ91Kisha Seizō19381661Featured in the 1971 film On the Railway (철길우에서)[9]
미가서129ミカサ129Kisha Seizō19401945Used by North Korean forces during the invasion of Daejeon,[10] destroyed on 28 June 1950 when the Han River bridge was destroyed.[3] Restored, now on display with KNR-style number plates at the Daejeon National Cemetery,[4] on loan from the Daejeon Railway Vehicle Maintenance Centre.[3]
미가서168 (6468?)ミカサ168Nippon Sharyō1940837Featured in the 1971 film On the Railway (철길우에서)[9]

China Railways 解放9 (JF9) class

Following the end of the war, the Central China Railway was absorbed into the state-owned Republic of China Railway, and after the establishment of the People's Republic in 1949 and the subsequent establishment of the China Railway in 1950, the Central China Railway Mikasas were given the ㄇㄎ玖 (MK9) designation; in 1959 they were reclassified 解放9 (JF9, "Liberation 9"), numbered 3671 through 3710. Although they were classified ㄇㄎ玖/解放9, they are completely different from the Mantetsu Mikaku (ミカク) class. The last of the JF9s in China were retired in the 1990s. JF9 3673 has been preserved, and is on display at the China Railway Museum in Beijing.[11]

Preserved examples

In addition, the hulks of two Mikasa class locomotives which were destroyed during the Korean war are located within the DMZ and are deteriorating from exposure to the elements.


  1. "Korean National RR MK-1 2-8-2".
  2. Kokubu, Hayato (January 2007). 将軍様の鉄道 [Shōgun-sama no Tetsudō] (in Japanese). 新潮社 (Shinchosha). pp. 106–107. ISBN 978-4-10-303731-6.
  3. Byeon, Seong-u (1999). 한국철도차량 100년사 [Korean Railways Rolling Stock Centennial] (in Korean). Seoul: Korea Rolling Stock Technical Corp.
  4. "Korean National RR MK-3 2-8-2s".
  5. "Korean R Gaddie photos".
  6. "A Tribute to Charlie Ward".
  7. Ziel, Ron; Huxtable, Nils (1995). Steam Beneath the Red Star. Amerion House. p. 193. ISBN 978-0-8488-0929-4.
  8. "Sign in".
  9. "2013年11月のブログ|ゴンブロ!(ゴンの徒然日記)".
  11. "China Railway Museum (Dongjiao)". 30 August 2012.
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