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Standard Gauge (1435 mm) JF6/GP6 Class
Chinese built
Steam locomotives

chinese2-8-2 001

These Chinese built 2-8-2 locomotives were used on the standard gauge (1435 mm) lines running into China. They were originally built between 1933-1945, so machines delivered to Nth Vietnam must have been well use. They were known as GP6 in Vietnam. It is believed that the JF6 were delivered during the 50's and 60's (presumably as Chinese assistance to the war effort) and it has been suggested that up to 60 were delivered to Vietnam. This is odd as there doesn't seem to be the need for that many locomotives on the limited standard gauge. Perhaps they were replacements for destroyed locomotives? Whether they were 'owned' by Vietnam or whether they were loaned is not clear.


Above: GP6 1055 rusting away at Yen Vien. Following the Vietnamese numbering system, if this is number 55 then the total of 60 may be right. Note metal cover over buffer beam, not seen on earlier photos. Perhaps protection during war.

DATA (As listed on "Railography" website)

Class Designation JF6 (解放6)(China)/GP6(Viet Nam)
Descriptive Name Jie Fang 6 (Liberation 6)
1435 mm (Standard Gauge/4ft 8 1/2)
Builders Numbers JF6 3001 - 3043*
JF6 3044 - 3100
JF6 3101 - 3149*
JF6 3150 - 3600
Road Numbers
Locomotives appear to have had Vietnamese road numbers: eg: the locomotive in the above photo appears to be numbered 1013) Railography lists two definite locomotives as 'ex' Vietnam: builders nos. 3026, 3032.
Builders Kawasaki, KSK, Nippon, Hitachi, SMR shops, Dalian
Building Dates 1933-1945
Number Built up to 600
Boiler Pressure 13.7 bar / 200 psi
Grate Area 4.07* or 4.57 sq m
Total Heating
172 sq m
Superheater Area 48.5 sq m
Wheel Arrangement 2-8-2
Driving Wheel
1370 mm
Cylinders, Number 2 (outside)
Cylinders, Diameter/Stroke 530 mm x 710 mm
Valve Gear Walschaerts
Tractive Effort  
Power Output
(Wheel Rim)
938 kW
Maximum Speed 80 km/h
Overall Weight 141-145* or 150 t
Overall Length 21.2 m
Coal Capacity 9.6 t
Water Capacity 24,000 l

Locomotive Classifications

Steam Locomotives generally used the traditional French classification system. A steam locomotive with a 2-8-2 wheel arrangement is classified as 141 class, a locomotive with  4-6-2 wheel arrangement is classified as 231 class etc. Pretty straight forward, except what happened  if two classes had the same wheel arrangement? It would appear that there would be several different say 231 classes eg. 231-301 and 231-501.

Diesel locomotives have a completely dfferent clasification system.

In the south diesels were classified again by wheels, so BB for bo-bo types. The same system as used in France and still used in Cambodia. In the north I'm not sure.

Now all diesel classes start with the letter 'D'  (for diesel) then a number which I believe is related to the locomotives  power output. The third character defines  Electric' (E) or hydraulic  (H).

e.g. D5H class = Diesel + 500 hp + hydraulic.

Again, what happens if two classes are the same I don't know.

Therefore it would appear that metre guage locomotives can have the same class but not the same road number.

Standard guage locomotives have a slightly different system. Diesel sometimes have 'er' added to the class e.g. D19er, but sometimes don't, e.g. D14E. Steam?

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Railways in Vietnam website 2009-2014 David Gurnett
  Updated February 3, 2014
All images remain the copyright of their original owners and are reproduced purely for the purposes of research.

Please feel free to contact me at railwaysofvietnam@gmail.com