The Red List of Trains in Japan

JNR Class EF64

An EF64 (variant 1000) locomotive in the original livery

Data (as of 31 Mar 2024)

Status:  Vulnerable  (JR Freight)
 Endangered  (JR East)
 Extinct  (JR Central, JR West)
Constructed in: 1964-76, 1980-82
Number built: 132
Registered: 28


Class EF64 is a type of electric locomotive (DC 1.5 kV) developed by Japanese National Railways. It was designed for mountainous areas with steep gradients often with heavy snow in winter. There are two groups, variants 0 and 1000, and they are very different as described below.

The variant 0 (EF64-0) was introduced in 1964-76 with 79 locos in total. They were initially allocated to Ou Main Line in Fukushima Prefecture, and later introduced to Chuo Main Line. Those in Fukushima were reallocated to Chuo Main Line as Ou Main Line electrification was changed from DC 1.5 kV to AC 20 kV 50 Hz.

The variant 1000 (EF64-1000) was introduced to Joetsu and Takasaki Lines with 53 locos in total. Since both lines were notorious for extreme amount of snowfall, there were major changes on the structure. The EF64-1000 locos also have enhanced braking systems to cope with slippery track in winter.

Both variants were used for passenger and freight trains, and some EF64-0s were also used as bank engine pushing diesel multiple units. They also engaged in Sleeper Limited Express services like Hokuriku (Ueno - Kanazawa via Joetsu Line).

When JNR was privatised in 1987, 14 out of 132 locos were allocated to JR East, three to JR Central, two to JR West and 113 to JR Freight. JR East had used them for Sleeper Limited Express services until when Akebono (Ueno - Aomori via Joetsu and Uetsu Main Lines) was discontiued in 2014. JR Central and JR West owned a few for seasonal trains and ad hoc work but withdrawn by 2009.

All EF64-0s were scrapped by 2021. Today, JR East and JR Freight retain some EF64-1000s.

Current Operations & Future Prospects

JR East has a few EF64 locos for ad hoc work, mostly engineering work or hauling empty coaching stock. They are due to be withdrawn by around 2025 along with other locomotives that the company owns.

JR Freight uses them on Chuo Main Line (Nagano and Nagoya areas) and Hakubi Line in Okayama area, but not a few locos have been taken out of service and stored at depots. The EF64 locos were very common in Tokyo until 2020, but they can no longer be seen in the capital and surrounding prefectures. They are expected to be replaced with Class EH200 within a few years, possibly by around 2028.


Some EF64-0 locos owned by JR East were painted brown.

Another EF64-0 in the original livery.

JR East's EF64-1000s often haul trains for scrap, as well as delivering brand new trains.

Some EF64-0s of JR Freight in Hiroshima (and later Okayama) had a pale yellow gangway.

JR Freight's EF64-1000 was common in the capital until the mid-2010s.

Refurbished EF64-1000s owned by JR Freight were painted as such.

However, they are being restored to the original livery since the late-2010s.

(Updated: 31 Mar 2024)

←The List of JR Trains