The Red List of Trains in Japan

JNR Class EF65

The original livery (variant 1000)

Data (as of 31 Mar 2024)

Status:  Vulnerable 
 (JR West, JR Freight)
 Critically Endangered 
 (JR East)
 (JR Central)
Constructed in: 1965-79
Number built: 308
Registered: 38


Class EF65 is a type of electric locomotive (DC 1.5 kV) developed by Japanese National Railways. It was designed for both pasenger and freight trains in flat areas like Tokaido and San-yo Main Lines. The EF65 contributed to the expanding economy in the 1960s and 70s, when there was no motorway in the country. There were three groups: variant 0, variant 500 and variant 1000.

The variant 0 was for freight trains built in 1965-70. The variant 500 looked similar to the EF65-0, though they were painted slightly differently. The variant 1000 looks different from others as it has a door in the middle of front end. The EF65 locos have been used widely in the Greater Tokyo Area, Nagoya, Kansai areas and on San-yo Main Line as far as Yamaguchi Prefecture. They were also used for many sleeper trains such as Limited Express Asakaze (Tokyo - Hakata) and Express Ginga (Tokyo - Osaka).

When JNR was privatised in 1987, 269 out of 308 locos were allocated to JR East, JR Central, JR West and JR Freight. JR Central scrapped all of its locos by 2007, while JR East and JR West use them for ad hoc works and rail tours. JR Freight still uses them regularly, and they renamed existing locos "variant 2000". They declined dramatically in 2024.

Current Operations & Future Prospects

JR East is the only company that has the variant 500, while others are variant 1000 (or 2000). JR East and JR West use them for ad hoc works and rail tours as mentioned above, but JR East is going to withdraw all by 2025 along with other locomotives.

JR Freight uses them in the Greater Tokyo Area and Kansai region, and a few towards Takamatsu in Shikoku. Not a few locos are registered for mainline use, but many of them have been taken out of service and stored at depots. The company carried out the last large-scale overhaul of Class EF65 in 2022, implying that the locos will retire by around 2028.


The only variant-500 locomotive for mainline use.

Super Express Rainbow livery, which was named after a Joyful Train (in service: 1987-2000).

JR Freight has been painted them in various ways, but many of them are now gradually restored to the original livery.

Another livery (JR Freight), which is often called "the mustard".

(Updated: 31 Mar 2024)

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