Kokutetsu (Japan National Railways (JNR)) Steam Locomotive Type 120 (国鉄120形蒸気機関車)

Type 120 was a steam locomotive that was imported from U.K. in 1874 when a railway began operation between Osaka and Kobe. Four locomotives of this type were imported. They were manufactured in 1873 by Robert Stephenson and Company (manufacturer's serial number 2102-2105). Of steam locomotives manufactured by Robert Stephenson and Company, only these four and two Kokutetsu Steam Locomotives Type 400, belonging to Tetsudo Sagyokyoku (a government bureau in charge of the railway) delivered to Taiwan Governor-General Railway, were imported into Japan, and therefore they had rare value.

This article also mentions four locomotives of the same specifications manufactured by Sharp, Stewart Co., Ltd. (manufactured in 1875, serial number 2480-2483, later called Type 130 and Type140) were imported in 1876.

Type 120
It was a tank locomotive with two cylinders that employed a saturated steam system with simple expansion, and its driving wheel diameter was 1295 mm (4 ft 3 in) and axle arrangement was 2-4-0 (1B). It incorporated a Stephenson valve gear, a Salter safety valve, and its steam dome was set on top of a boiler.

For the driver's platform, a windshield is set only in front, a roof is supported by two steel pipes located in the rear and the sides and the backside are open. As the side water tank and coal storage box were fixed mainly with flush rivets, its smooth surface is characteristic of this model.

It was altered at Shinbashi Works around the end of 1890's, and windshields were installed on the sides and behind the driver's platform. At the same time, the safety valves were replaced with Ramsbottom type valves. Also, its steam dome was moved to the front part. For one of them (eight), its side water tank was extended forward and the sanding machine was revamped.

Principal specifications of Type 120
Following are the specifications based upon the 1936 version of the specifications chart.

Length: 8179 mm (7702 mm in the case of 1909 version)
Height: 3531 mm
Gauge: 1067 mm
Axle arrangement: 2-4-0 (1B)
Driving wheel diameter: 1346 mm
Valve gear: Basic type Stephenson valve gear
Cylinder (diameter * length): 330 mm * 508 mm
Boiler pressure: 8.0 kg/cm
Size of rooster: 0.93 m
Size of total heat transfer area: 52.9 m
Size of smoke tube evaporative heat transfer area: 47.7 m
Size of fire room evaporative heat transfer is: 5.2 m
Capacity of boiler water: 1.6 m
Small smoke stack (diameter * length * number): 45 mm * 2921 mm * 130
Locomotive's weight prior to run: 23.37 t
Locomotive's weight when empty: 18.66 t
Locomotive's weight on the driving wheels (prior to run): 17.78 t
Weight of driving wheel shaft (on the first driving wheel): 9.14 t
Capacity of water tank: 2.3 m
Volume of carrying fuel: 0.85 t

Type 130 and Type 140
Although their sizes are basically the same as those of Stephenson products, nailheads are seen on the side water tanks since they were assembled using ordinary rivets.

Two locomotives were sold to Nihon Railway in 1882, and two others, which were continuously used by the government-managed railway (later called Type 130), were also altered a little later after Stephenson products were altered. Two locomotives that were sold to Nihon Railway (later called Type 140) kept their original configuration until the time when the company was nationalized based upon the Railway Nationalization Act.

Operation and history

Four locomotives manufactured by Stephenson arrived in 1874 and were assigned to Western Japan (Kobe). It seems that they were numbered 'No.13-No.16,' consecutive numbers from tender locomotives manufactured by Sharp, Stewart Co., Ltd. (later called Kokutetsu Steam Locomotive Type 5000), but no recorded material has been found to confirm it.

Another four locomotives manufactured by Sharp, Stewart Co., Ltd. arrived in 1875, and it is anticipated that they were numbered 'No. 24-No. 27.'

In 1876, a new numbering system was introduced under which odd numbers were used for locomotives used in Eastern Japan (between Tokyo and Yokohama) and even numbers were used for locomotives used in Western Japan (between Osaka and Kobe). As a result, No. 13 - No. 16 were changed to 'No. 6, No. 8, No. 10 and No. 12' and No. 24 - No. 27 were changed to 'No. 34, No. 36, No. 38 and No. 40' respectively.

As mentioned above, two locomotives manufactured by Sharp, Stewart Co., Ltd. (36 and 40) were sold to Nihon Railway in 1882 and were known as Type SS2/3 (16 and 17). No. 34 and No. 38, which were continuously used by the government-managed railway, were used in Western Japan as they were, but later (around 1890 ?) they were transferred to Eastern Japan. Four locomotives manufactured by Stephenson were also transferred to Eastern Japan during 1884 to 1885 and were used on the line connecting Tokyo and Yokohama.

In 1894, four locomotives manufactured by Stephenson were classified as Type F and locomotives manufactured by Sharp, Stewart Co., Ltd. were classified as Type G. On this occasion, the numbers of locomotives manufactured by Sharp, Stewart Co., Ltd. were changed, namely No. 34 was changed to No. 31 and No. 38 was changed to No. 32.

According to the classification made by Tetsudo Sagyokyoku in 1898, both types were integrated into Type A 4.

Nihon Railway was purchased by the nation and nationalized after the Railway Nationalization Act was enacted in 1906, and two locomotives belonging to it were returned to the government-managed railway. According to "Regulations on Types and Classification," established by Tetsudo-In (the predecessor of the Ministry of Railway) in 1909 after its purchase of Nihon Tetsudo, four locomotives manufactured by Stephenson were classified as Type 120 (No. 120 - No. 123). As for locomotives manufactured by Sharp, Stewart Co., Ltd., two locomotives belonged to the government-managed railway were classified as Type 130 (No. 131 and No. 132), and two other locomotives once belonging to Nihon Railway were classified as Type 140 (No. 140 and No. 141).

Thereafter, these locomotives became the target of disposal and were sold to local private railways during 1912 to 1915. Many of them drifted from company to company after they were sold, and some of them were registered at Japan National Railway two or three times due to the nationalization of private railways to which they belonged. History of the transfer of locomotives is shown below.

No. 120 and No. 122 were sold in May 1914 to Mikawa Railway (currently, the Meitetsu Mikawa Line of Nagoya Railroad Co., Ltd.), and they were used under the same number with those of Tetsudo-in. Their use was suspended when the company line was electrified in 1925, and they were scrapped in 1934.

Locomotives number 121 and 123 were sold in March 1915 to Hinokami Railway (currently, a part of the Kisuki Line of West Japan Railway Company), and they became No. 1 and No. 2 in the company.

Of these, No. 2 was sold in 1926 to Kaetsu Railway,
On the other hand, No. 1 was again registered in August 1934 at Japan National Railways (Ministry of Railways) under the former number 121 because of the nationalization of Hinokami Railway, but it was again sold to Nanso Railway in 1935 and became No. 1 in the company. However, no information was found after Nanso Railway was abolished in 1939.

No. 130 and No. 140 were sold in 1913 to Miyazaki Prefectural Railway (currently, a part of the Nippo Main Line and the Tsuma line of Kyushu Railway Company), and they were used under the same number as those of Tetsudo-In. They were again registered by the Japan National Railway in September 1917 when Miyazaki Prefectural Railway was nationalized.

No. 130 was sold in 1919 to Boseki Railway and used under the same number as that of Tetsudo-In. It was sold to Taiwan in 1940 and nothing has been heard about it since then.

On the other hand, No. 140 was sold in 1922 to Anan Railway (currently, a part of the Mugu Line of Shikoku Railway Company) and was used under the former number. As Anan Railway was nationalized in July 1936, it was registered by Japan National Railway for the third time. In 1940, after it was registered by the Japan National Railway for the third time, it was sold to Ecchu Railway (it later became the Imizu Line of Toyama Chiho Tetsudo Inc. and the current Manyo Line Shinminatoko Line). It was sold in 1942 to Tohoku Chemical's fertilizer private side located at Murasakino Station of the Tohoku Main Line and was used until 1952.

No. 131 and No. 141 were transferred to the Engineering Bureau of the Interior Ministry in March 1912 and used for construction work of government-administered rivers, but the details are unknown.

One locomotive sold to Kaetsu Railway (No. 2 steam locomotive. Former No. 123) is being preserved at 'Kaetsu Steam Locomotive Square' located in Yosano-cho, Yosano-gun, Kyoto Prefecture. It was designated, together with its locomotive registry, as a national important cultural property as of June 9, 2005.

[Original Japanese]