The Red List of Trains in Japan

JNR Class ED79

Express Hamanasu at Aomori station

Data (as of 16 Jan 2022)

Status:  Extinct 
Constructed in: 1971-76 (ex-Class ED75)
1989 (those from the ground up)
Rebuilt in: 1986-87 (ex-ED75)
Number built: 10 (those from the ground up)
Number rebuilt: 34 (ex-ED75)
Retired in: 2016


The Class ED79 was the last type of electric locomotive that Japanese National Railways developed, but 34 out of 44 locos were converted from Class ED75. The ED79 was designed for trains running Seikan Tunnel that connects islands of Hokkaido and Honshu. In 1989, JR Freight introduced 10 brand new ED79 locos. The ED79 looked the same as the ED75, but braking systems and traction were converted to be compatible with Seikan Tunnel.

JR Hokkaido and JR Freight used them on trains that run the Tunnel. The ED79 locos could run anywhere in eastern Japan where electricity is supplied with 20 kV 50 Hz, but they mostly run between Aomori and Hakodate. Those owned by JR Hokkaido hauled several coach trains, such as Sleeper Limited Express Hokutosei (Ueno - Sapporo), Nihonkai (Osaka - Hakodate) and Express Hamanasu (Aomori - Sapporo). JR Freight also used them for freight trains that do not run Seikan Tunnel, but in Aomori, Iwate and even Miyagi Prefectures. However, all locos, including those owned by JR Freight, were withdrawn by 2016 as Hokkaido Shinkansen high-speed rail was opened.

(Updated: 16 Jan 2022)

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