“Yonesaka Line” was a local line in Touhoku District joining inland city Yonezawa and seaside city Sakamachi. It ran through mountainous area that was buried in deep snow in winter. The locos on Yonesaka Line were JNR 9600 class only, old Consolidation work horses.
JNR 9600 Class
This class was designed by JNR as their standard freight locos and manufactured from 1913. They stayed as work horses for freight services for quite long time. The fire chamber of the 9600 class was located above driving wheels instead of between driving wheels of ordinary arrangement. This arrangement allowed larger boiler and made them quite powerful. The design was very successful and some of them survived until the last years of JNR steam age. Obviously the centre of gravity was higher than other locos, and could not rum in high speed. However their main role was slow speed freight trains and it did not cause any problems.