C55 Streamlined Locomotive and Mt. Fuji, c. 1940.

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Streamlined Class 55 locomotive and Mt. Fuji, c. 1940. Of the forty Class 55 locomotives manufactured by the Imperial Government Railways between 1935-1937, twenty were produced as streamliners. Used primarily as passenger locomotives on mainline railways throughout the county, the C55 streamliner could reach speeds of 60 mph (100 kmh). The last C55 in Japan wasn’t retired until 1975. (A further nine were manufactured and exported to Japan’s Formosa colony. The last of those were in service until 1982.) Four C55 locomotives are preserved as museum pieces at various locations around Japan.

“Streamlining was tried on the Japanese Government Railways in 1934 on one of the C53 class ‘Pacific’ type locomotives. The experience gained was so satisfactory that a new series of locomotives has been designed and built on these lines during the past twelve months. These are known as the C55 class, and are of the 4-6-2 type.

“Forty of these engines have been built so far, of which twenty (numbered C5501 to C5520) are of usual style but with enlarged dimensions, whilst the remaining twenty (C5521 to C5540) are streamlined.

“In many respects the engines are similar to the preceding series of ‘Pacifics’ but electric welding has been extensively used in their construction and the sand box and steam dome are in one casing.”

“Recent Japanese Locomotives”, The Locomotive Railway Carriage and Wagon Review, September 15, 1936

[Source: The Locomotive Railway Carriage and Wagon Review, 9/15/1936]

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