The Red List of Trains in Japan

JGR Class C11

Data (as of 29 Jul 2023)

Status: Preserved
Constructed in: 1932-47
Number built: 401*
Registered: 6

*Including 20 introduced by private railways.


The Class C11 is a type of 2-6-4T steam locomotive developed by the Ministry of Railways (Japanese Government Railways). The government introduced the Class C11 mainly to short-distance trains in cities and on rural branch lines, replacing older locos (some of which were imported from the United Kingdom in the 1890s). Since the C11 was small but still powerful and reliable, it was regarded as one of the most successful steam locomotive in Japanese history. 401 locos were used across the country, not only Japanese Government Railways' network but also several private railways in Japan, Sakhalin and Korea.

They hauled both passenger trains (mostly stopping services) and freight trains as well as mixed trains. Even after JGR was reorganised into Japanese National Railways in 1949, the Class C11 remained one of the most common type on the network. They were withdrawn by 1975 along with other steam locomotives.

Since the Class C11 is small and light, six locomotives are preserved. There are also many static displays across the country, one of which is in front of Shimbashi station in the middle of Tokyo.

Current Operations & Future Prospects

There are six preserved C11s: two owned by JR Hokkaido, Tobu and Oigawa Railway in Shizuoka Prefecture, respectively.

JR Hokkaido has two and uses one of them for steam rail tours in Kushiro area. There had been several steam trains in Sapporo area until 2014 but discontinued because of financial crisis of JR Hokkaido. The other C11 has been on long-term loan to Tobu.

Tobu Railway has three, including one owned by JR Hokkaido. They have been used for SL Taiju steam trains in Kinugawa area, Tochigi Prefecture. One of them was introduced by a private railway called Kojaku Railway in Shiga Prefecture (closed in 1969).

Oigawa Railway also has two and uses them for their steam trains, and one of them is decorated exactly like Thomas of Thomas the Tank Engine in summer to attract family tourists.


A static display in front of Tsuyama station, Okayama Prefecture.

(Updated: 29 Jul 2023)

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