The Mikasa-class (ミカサ) locomotives were a group of steam tender locomotives of the Chosen Government Railway (Sentetsu) with 2-8-2 wheel arrangement. The "Mika" name came from the American naming system for steam locomotives, under which locomotives with 2-8-2 wheel arrangement were called "Mikado" in honour of the Emperor of Japan, as the first 2-8-2 locomotives in the world were built for Japan.

Of all Mika classes, 131 went to the Korean National Railroad in South Korea and 292 to the Korean State Railway in North Korea.[1] Of these 423 locomotives, 356 were from Sentetsu; the other 67 were South Manchuria Railway Mikai-class engines on loan to Sentetsu along with Mika-type locomotives which had previously belonged to the twelve privately owned railways in Korea before 1945. Not included in this number, however, are the six SMR Mikai-class locomotives that were assigned to SMR's Rajin depot for operation on SMR's lines in northeastern Korea, and the eight SMR Mikaro-class locomotives likewise assigned to the Rajin depot; these fourteen locomotives were taken over by the Korean State Railway. It is interesting to note that, despite the DPRK government's extensive anti-Japanese propaganda, the railway nevertheless continues to use the "Mika" name officially for these locomotives regardless of the fact that it refers to the Japanese emperor.[2]

The Mikasa class was also operated by the Central China Railway in Japanese-occupied China,[2] and by the China Railway after the Liberation of China, where they were designated JF9 class.


Designed by Sentetsu based on the experiences with the rebuilding of the Pureshi class, the Mikasa class, along with the Pashishi and Tehoro classes, were the first locomotives designed by Sentetsu. Because they were designed specifically for Korean operating needs and conditions, these superheated, two-cylinder locomotives were a great success and proved very easy to build, operate and maintain.[3]

The Mikasa, Pashishi and Tehoro classes all had large heating areas. From its inception, the Mikasa class was designed to use the lignite abundant in Korea, which is less efficient than the anthracite the American-built locomotives needed. The Mikasa class featured a combustion chamber firebox to achieve sufficient combustion of the coal, which in turn improved boiler efficiency. Following the experience with the Mikasas, combustion chamber fireboxes were installed on the JNR 9700 class and JNR D52 class locomotives built from 1943. To improve maintenance logistics, care was taken during the design process to maximise the number common components between the Pashishi and Mikasa classes.[3]

Structurally it is generally an American design in its features, with the first dome being a sandbox, and the second being for steam. The firebox is located above the trailing axle. After the first 27 were completed, the design was modified, resulting in a slightly different appearance of the smokestack and the steam dome. The tender was made bigger at the same time, with coal capacity rising from 11 t (11 long tons; 12 short tons) to 12 t (12 long tons; 13 short tons), and water capacity increasing from 22.7 m3 (800 cu ft) to 28.0 m3 (990 cu ft). The tender is a four-axle type, running on two four-wheel bogies of American Bettendorf design.[3]


Between 1927 and 1945, 308 were built for Sentetsu in Japan and Korea by five different builders, and a further five were built after the end of the Pacific War for the KNR. Prior to 1945, eight units were built for the privately owned West Chosen Central Railway, and 38 for the Central China Railway. In all, a total of 398 were built, but there were many in various states of construction at the end of the war that were never completed.

Chosen Government Railway ミカサ (Mikasa) class

The first 70, which entered Sentetsu service prior to April 1938, were numbered ミカサ1701 through ミカサ1770; in Sentetsu's general renumbering of 1938, these became ミカサ1 through ミカサ70.[4] Those that entered service after April 1938 were numbered according to the new system.

The Mikasa class became Sentetsu's standard locomotive for freight trains and trains on steeper lines, especially on trunk lines such as the Gyeongui and Gyeongbu Lines. During the Pacific War, the industrialisation of northern Korea was expanded on a large scale, and to meet the resulting sharp increase in freight demands in the area, large numbers of Mikasas were assigned to work on the Gyeongwon and Hamgyeong Lines, as well.

The exact dispersal of Sentetsu's Mikasa-class locomotives after the partition of Korea is uncertain.

Timeline of Mikasa production for Sentetsu
Running Number
Year Original Post-1938 Builder Works Number
1927 1701–1708 ミカサ1–ミカサ8 Kisha Seizō 927–930, 961–964
1928 1709–1711 ミカサ9–ミカサ11 Nippon Sharyō 207–209
1712–1714 ミカサ12–ミカサ14 Hitachi 293–295
1715–1717 ミカサ15–ミカサ17 Kawasaki 1251–1253
1718–1720 ミカサ18–ミカサ20 Kisha Seizō 1016–1018
1930 1721–1727 ミカサ21–ミカサ27 Gyeongseong Works 8–14
1935 1728–1731 ミカサ28–ミカサ31 Hitachi 614–617
1732–1735 ミカサ32–ミカサ35 Kisha Seizō 1331–1334
1936 1736–1742 ミカサ36–ミカサ42 Kisha Seizō 1382–1388
1937 1743–1747 ミカサ43–ミカサ47 Kawasaki 1844–1848
1752–1765 ミカサ52–ミカサ65 Kisha Seizō 1507–1514, 1526–1531
1938 1748–1751 ミカサ48–ミカサ51 Nippon Sharyō 514–517
1766–1770 ミカサ66–ミカサ70 Kisha Seizō 1539–1543
ミカサ81–ミカサ93 Kisha Seizō 1643–1647, 1656–1663
1939 ミカサ71–ミカサ75 Nippon Sharyō 607–611
ミカサ76–ミカサ80 Kawasaki 2118–2122
ミカサ94–ミカサ99 Kisha Seizō 1672–1677
ミカサ100–ミカサ103 Hitachi 1036–1039
ミカサ104–ミカサ109 Kisha Seizō 1766–1771
1940 ミカサ110–ミカサ129 Kisha Seizō 1896–1905, 1936–1945
ミカサ130–ミカサ147 Hitachi 1171–1188
ミカサ148–ミカサ172 Nippon Sharyō 817–841
ミカサ173–ミカサ179 Gyeongseong Works 64–70
ミカサ180–ミカサ186 Kisha Seizō 1960–1966
ミカサ187–ミカサ191 Hitachi 1324–1328
ミカサ192–ミカサ196 Nippon Sharyō 842–846
1941 ミカサ197–ミカサ208 Kisha Seizō 2049–2054, 2156–2161
1942 ミカサ209–ミカサ216 Kisha Seizō 2209–2216
ミカサ223–ミカサ228 Nippon Sharyō 1029–1034
ミカサ248–ミカサ278 Hitachi 1621–1627, 1704–1727
1943 ミカサ217–ミカサ222 Kisha Seizō 2266–2271
ミカサ229–ミカサ244 Nippon Sharyō 1142–1151, 1176–1181
1944 ミカサ245–ミカサ247 Nippon Sharyō 1261–1263
ミカサ279–ミカサ297 Hitachi 1728, 1848–1855, 1945–1954
ミカサ303–ミカサ313 Nippon Sharyō 1332–1342

West Chosen Central Railway ミカサ (Mikasa) class

As traffic volumes increased significantly through the Pacific War, the privately owned West Chosen Central Railway also found itself needing more power. As a result, eight Mikasa class locomotives were bought in 1943 and 1944. More were needed, but as the capacity of locomotive builders in Japan and Korea was already being stretched, Mikaro (ミカロ, Mika6) class locomotives were borrowed from the South Manchuria Railway (Mantetsu) instead.

After the partition of Korea all railways in both North and South were nationalised, and being located north of the 38th parallel, the West Chosen Central Railway's assets were taken over by the Korean State Railway.

Timeline of Mikasa production for the
West Chosen Central Railway
Year Running Number Builder Works Number
1943 201, 202 Hitachi 1457, 1458
1944 203-206 Kisha Seizō 2227-2230
207, 208 Nippon Sharyō 1213, 1214

Central China Railway ミカサ (Mikasa) class

The Central China Railway also bought locomotives built to the Sentetsu Mikasa design;[2] a total of 38 were built by Kisha Seizō, Hitachi and Nippon Sharyō in 1943 and 1944. These were numbered ミカサ11 through ミカサ19, ミカサ110 through ミカサ137 and ミカサ320. After the war, these eventually ended up with the China Railway.

Timeline of Mikasa production for the
Central China Railway
Year Running Numbers Builder Works Number
1943 ミカサ11–ミカサ15 Kisha Seizō 2217 - 2221
ミカサ16–ミカサ19 Hitachi 1392 - 1395
ミカサ110–ミカサ113 Hitachi 1478 - 1481
ミカサ119–ミカサ128 Nippon Sharyō 1193 - 1202
1944 ミカサ114–ミカサ118 Kisha Seizō 2222 - 2226
ミカサ127–ミカサ137, ミカサ320 Hitachi 1729 - 1733, 1872 - 1875, 1871


The exact distribution of Sentetsu's Mikashi-class locomotives after the partition of Korea is uncertain, but they were operated by both the Korean National Railroad in the South and by the Korean State Railway in the North.

Korean National Railroad 미카3 (Mika3) class

KNR Mika3-161 on display at the Korean Railway Museum.

Though the exact quantity and identities of the former Sentetsu Mikasa class locomotives that went to the Korean National Railroad isn't certain, there were at least 54 that were operated by the KNR.[4] Additionally, a further five, which had been under construction for Sentetsu at the end of the Pacific War, were completed by Hitachi in 1946 and delivered to the KNR as 미카3-298 through 미카3-302 (works numbers 2022-2026); this was followed by eight, 미카3-314 through 미카3-321, built new in 1947.[4] They were operated until at least 1968, by which time they were mostly relegated to shunting duties.[5]

Known Korean National Railroad 미카3
KNR number Sentetsu number in 1945 Builder Year built Works Number Notes
미카3-8 ミカサ8 Kisha Seizō 1927 964
미카3-16 ミカサ16 Kawasaki 1928 1252
미카3-17 ミカサ17 Kawasaki 1928 1253 Scrapped by 1954.
미카3-27 ミカサ27 Gyeongseong 1930 14 During and immediately after the Korean War, carried "Southern Pacific" lettering on the tender.[6]
미카3-31 ミカサ31 Hitachi 1935 617
미카3-42 ミカサ42 Kisha Seizō 1936 1388
미카3-43 ミカサ43 Kawasaki 1937 1844
미카3-50 ミカサ50 Nippon Sharyō 1938 516
미카3-52 ミカサ52 Kisha Seizō 1937 1507
미카3-66 ミカサ66 Kisha Seizō 1938 1539
미카3-71 ミカサ71 Nippon Sharyō 1939 607
미카3-76 ミカサ76 Kawasaki 1939 2118
미카3-78 ミカサ78 Kawasaki 1939 2120
미카3-89 ミカサ89 Kisha Seizō 1938 1659
미카3-94 ミカサ94 Kisha Seizō 1939 1672
미카3-96 ミカサ96 Kisha Seizō 1939 1674
미카3-99 ミカサ99 Kisha Seizō 1939 1677
미카3-100 ミカサ100 Hitachi 1939 1036
미카3-111 ミカサ111 Kisha Seizō 1940 1897
미카3-118 ミカサ118 Kisha Seizō 1940 1904 Scrapped by 1953.[4]
미카3-119 ミカサ119 Kisha Seizō 1940 1905
미카3-120 ミカサ120 Kisha Seizō 1940 1936
미카3-124 ミカサ124 Kisha Seizō 1940 1940
미카3-129 ミカサ129 Kisha Seizō 1940 1945 Destroyed on 28 June 1950 when the Han River bridge was destroyed.[3] Restored, now on display at the Daejeon National Cemetery,[4] on loan from the Daejeon Railway Vehicle Maintenance Centre.[3]
미카3-142 ミカサ142 Hitachi 1940 1183
미카3-144 ミカサ144 Hitachi 1940 1185
미카3-146 ミカサ146 Hitachi 1940 1187
미카3-150 ミカサ150 Nippon Sharyō 1940 819
미카3-161 ミカサ161 Nippon Sharyō 1940 832 Preserved at the Korean Railway Museum.[4]
미카3-162 ミカサ162 Nippon Sharyō 1940 831
미카3-169 ミカサ169 Nippon Sharyō 1940 838
미카3-177 ミカサ177 Gyeongseong 1940 68
미카3-180 ミカサ180 Kisha Seizō 1940 1960
미카3-181 ミカサ181 Kisha Seizō 1940 1961
미카3-199 ミカサ199 Kisha Seizō 1941 2051
미카3-208 ミカサ208 Kisha Seizō 1941 2161
미카3-209 ミカサ209 Kisha Seizō 1942 2209
미카3-210 ミカサ210 Kisha Seizō 1942 2210
미카3-212 ミカサ212 Kisha Seizō 1942 2212 Wrecked in 1953 in a collision with a tank.[4]
미카3-216 ミカサ216 Kisha Seizō 1942 2216
미카3-228 ミカサ228 Nippon Sharyō 1942 1034
미카3-239 ミカサ239 Nippon Sharyō 1943 1176
미카3-242 ミカサ242 Nippon Sharyō 1943 1179
미카3-244 ミカサ244 Nippon Sharyō 1943 1181 Preserved at Imjingak.[4]
미카3-247 ミカサ247 Nippon Sharyō 1944 1263
미카3-253 ミカサ253 Hitachi 1942 1626
미카3-255 ミカサ255 Hitachi 1942 1704
미카3-256 ミカサ256 Hitachi 1942 1705
미카3-257 ミカサ257 Hitachi 1942 1706
미카3-261 ミカサ261 Hitachi 1942 1710
미카3-271 ミカサ271 Hitachi 1942 1720
미카3-272 ミカサ272 Hitachi 1942 1721 Still in service in 1968.[4]
미카3-276 ミカサ276 Hitachi 1942 1725
미카3-280 ミカサ280 Hitachi 1944 1848
미카3-288 ミカサ288 Hitachi 1944 1945 Wrecked in an accident with a lorry in 1953.[4]
미카3-298 - Hitachi 1946 2022
미카3-299 - Hitachi 1946 2023
미카3-300 - Hitachi 1946 2024
미카3-301 - Hitachi 1946 2025
미카3-302 - Hitachi 1946 2026
미카3-304 ミカサ304 Nippon Sharyō 1944 1333 Preserved at Sammu Park in Jeju City.[4]
미카3-311 ミカサ311 Nippon Sharyō 1944 1340
미카3-312 ミカサ312 Nippon Sharyō 1944 1341
미카3-314 - ? 1947
미카3-315 - ? 1947
미카3-316 - ? 1947
미카3-317 - ? 1947
미카3-318 - ? 1947
미카3-319 - ? 1947
미카3-320 - ? 1947
미카3-321 - ? 1947

Korean State Railway 미가서 (Migasŏ) class/6300 series

The identities and quantity of Sentetsu's Mikasa class locomotives that ended up in North Korea is not known; another eight were taken over from the West Chosen Central Railway. They remained in service for many decades after the Korean War;[2] some may still be in service at the present time. They were initially designated 미가서 (Migasŏ) class, and were later renumbered into the 6300 series; numbers higher than 100 were probably numbered into the 6400 series, as there were less than 24 Mikashi/Miganŏ-class locomotives in the DPRK, so numbers from 6425 on would have been free. How those taken over from the West Chosen Central Railway were numbered is unknown.

Known Korean State Railway 미가서
KSR number Sentetsu number in 1945 Builder Year built Works Number Notes
미가서18 (6318) ミカサ18 Kisha Seizō 1928 1016 Active around Kaesŏng in the 1990s.[7]
미가서36 (6336) ミカサ36 Kisha Seizō 1936 1382 Still in service in 2003.[8]
미가서44 (6344) ミカサ44 Kawasaki 1937 1845 Active around Wŏnsan in the 1990s.[7]
미가서91 (6391) ミカサ91 Kisha Seizō 1938 1661 Featured in the 1971 film On the Railway (철길우에서)[9]
미가서168 (6468?) ミカサ168 Nippon Sharyō 1940 837 Featured in the 1971 film On the Railway (철길우에서)[9]

China Railways 解放9 (JF9) class

Following the end of the war, the Central China Railway was absorbed into the state-owned Republic of China Railway, and after the establishment of the People's Republic in 1949 and the subsequent establishment of the China Railway in 1950, the Central China Railway Mikasas were given the ㄇㄎ玖 (MK9) designation; in 1959 they were reclassified 解放9 (JF9, "Liberation 9"), numbered 3671 through 3710. Although they were classified ㄇㄎ玖/解放9, it is important to note that they are completely different from the Mantetsu Mikaku (ミカク) class. The last of the JF9s in China were retired in the 1990s. JF9 3673 has been preserved, and is on display at the China Railway Museum in Beijing.[10]

Preserved examples

In addition, the hulks of two Mikasa class locomotives which were destroyed during the Korean war are located within the DMZ and are deteriorating from exposure to the elements.



  1. ^ "Korean National RR MK-1 2-8-2". donsdepot.donrossgroup.net. 
  2. ^ a b c d Kokubu, Hayato. 将軍様の鉄道 [Shōgun-sama no Tetsudō] (in Japanese). 新潮社 (Shinchosha). pp. 106–107. ISBN 978-4-10-303731-6. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Byeon, Seong-u (1999). 한국철도차량 100년사 [Korean Railways Rolling Stock Centennial] (in Korean). Seoul: Korea Rolling Stock Technical Corp. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Korean National RR MK-3 2-8-2s". donsdepot.donrossgroup.net. 
  5. ^ "Korean R Gaddie photos". donsdepot.donrossgroup.net. 
  6. ^ "A Tribute to Charlie Ward". donsdepot.donrossgroup.net. 
  7. ^ a b Ziel, Ron; Huxtable, Nils (1995). Steam Beneath the Red Star. Amerion House. p. 193. ISBN 0-8488-0929-7. 
  8. ^ "Sign in". www.farrail.net. 
  9. ^ a b "2013年11月のブログ|ゴンブロ!(ゴンの徒然日記)". ameblo.jp. 
  10. ^ "China Railway Museum (Dongjiao)". 30 August 2012.