JF6 Vital Statistics

JF6 Class 2-8-2s

jf6_85-c0317JF6 3413 was pilot at Nankou Engineering Works in January 1985. The plant produced steam locomotive components, such as air pumps and motion. The sandbox is thought to be a replacement. Most JF6 carried round sandboxes similar to SY and YJ classes.

The JF6 design originated in a number of light 2-8-2s built by ALCo for Japanese occupied Korea. More locos of the same design came from Japanese builders, starting in 1927.

From 1933 locos were also supplied to the Japanese controlled South Manchurian and Manchurian National Railways in north-east China and classified MiKaRo (MiKa = Mikado, Ro = 6). In 1935, construction of a modified design with a larger firebox commenced (an asterix* is used to identify the original design in the statistics on the right). Production continued until the end of Japanese occupation in 1945. A final batch of five JF6 were built in China between 1958 and 1960. The well known SY class, built in China until 1999, is a development of the JF6 design.

Although Chinese sources quote a number series of JF6 3001 - 3600, only locos numbered between JF6 3018 and 3475 have actually been reported. It is probable that the last 120 locos were never built as the highest number reported, JF6 3475 is one of the final batch and carries Shenyang 1959 plates.

China is thought to have supplied JF6 to North Korea and North Vietnam during the '50s and '60s. Around 70 locos are thought to have gone to North Korea during the Korean War with up to 60 going to North Vietnam as class GP6 during the Vietnam War. This number aligns fairly well with the missing numbers above 3475 but it is unlikely that China would send its newest JF6 abroad en-masse. Two dumped locos at Laibin, which are said to be ex-Vietnam, are early examples.

A number of locos were said to have been regauged during WWII in preparation for a Japanese invasion of the USSR which never happened. It has also been suggested that some JF6 were rebuilt as PL2 class 2-6-2s, which might explain why more PL2 were reported than were known to have been built. However, it appears that a further batch of PL2 were built at Dalian during the second world war while other PL2 seem to be reclassified members of the virtually identical YJ class.

Many JF6 ended their careers in industrial service but they were also widespread on the national system. Most saw use in north-eastern China on lines which had previously been under Japanese control. They were quite common around Beijing and a few migrated to southern and western China. On the national system, no sightings have been reported since the late 1980s but some lasted another decade in industrial use. The last loco reported working was JF6 3472, a pilot at Huanggutun Rolling Stock Works in Shenyang, seen in 1998. The Guanshui-Saima Local Railway's JF6 3475 was reported under repair at Sujiatun in October 1999 but no reports have been received from this line since so it is not known whether it returned to traffic.

Two locos are known to have been preserved. JF6 3022 is at Beijing Railway Museum, while sister engine JF6 3329 is part of the Shenyang collection.