The Red List of Trains in Japan

JNR Class EF66

An EF66 (variant 100) locomotive delivering intermediate carriages of E233 series.

Data (as of 31 Mar 2024)

Status:  Vulnerable 
 (JR Freight)
 (JR West)
Constructed in: 1966, 1968-74, 1989-91
Number built: 89
Registered: 15*

*Excluding one that is still registered but awaiting disposal.


Class EF66 is a type of electric locomotive (DC 1.5 kV) developed by Japanese National Railways. It was designed for freight trains with more powerful motors and more enhanced braking systems than Class EF65. In 1966, JNR introduced a Class EF90 loco (prototype). As the trials were successful, JNR ordered more, and the EF90 was renumbered EF66 901. There are two more groups: those introduced by JNR (variant 0) and others by JR Freight (variant 100). Both groups share similar traction and braking systems, but they look very different.

The variant 0 was introduced in 1968-74, with 55 locos in total. The ex-EF90 was also treated like other variant 0s. They were allocated to Suita in Osaka, Hiroshima and Shimonoseki in Yamaguchi Prefecture, and used for freight trains on Tokaido and San-yo Main Lines. Some redundant locos were also allocated to Sleeper Limited Express Asakaze, Fuji, Hayabusa, Mizuho and Sakura, and EF66s hauled these trains between Tokyo and Shimonoseki. When JNR was privatised in 1987, 16 were allocated to JR West and 40 (including ex-EF90) to JR Freight.

JR West used them for sleeper trains mentioned above until 2010, when all of them were discontinued. A few of them were resold to JR Freight. Meanwhile, JR Freight has been using them for freight trains in the Greater Tokyo Area as well as on Tokaido and San-yo Main Lines. They were very common in Tokyo and Osaka, but they were replaced with Class EF210 and withdrawn from all regular service by 2022.

In 1989-91, JR Freight introduced 33 locos of the variant 100. There are minor differences, but they do not look the same type as the variant 0. They have been engaging in freight trains alongside variant 0 locos. Withdrawal commenced in 2020 as more Class EF210s are delivered.

Current Operations & Future Prospects

JR Freight uses just a few of them in the Greater Tokyo and Kansai areas (such as Tokaido Main Line). The Class EF66 was common on San'yo Main Line but no longer runs beyond Okayama today. All remaining locos are likely to be operational until the mid-2020s.


The variant 0 of Class EF66, which looked very different from the variant 100.

(Updated: 31 Mar 2024)

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