This month JR Hokkaido celebrated its 140th anniversary with the launch of a new multi-purpose limited express train called the Hamanasu. The Hamanasu is the first Kiha #261 5000 series train which as well as running regular express services, will also function as a special sightseeing train and provide extra services during busy periods. The second Kiha #261 5000 series train will be called the Lavender and will be introduced in April 2021.
The Hamanasu is named after the hamanasu rose, a species of rose that is commonly seen along Hokkaido’s coastal beaches. The front of this 5-car train has therefore been painted the pink color of the hamanasu rose. Inside the first car is a lounge area with booth and counter seating. This lounge can alternatively be used as a free recreational space for passengers, as a dining car, or as an event space. There is also a sales counter and a multi-purpose private compartment in the first car which has a sunken horikotatsu type heated table and seating for two. The sales counter will sell drinks, snacks, and local souvenirs.
The other four cars have regular seating with power outlets for charging mobile phones and laptop computers at every seat. Free wireless internet access will also be available throughout the train. In addition each car will have two luggage storage areas and there will be two wheelchair spaces in Car 2.
The new train was displayed to the public at Otaru Station on September 26th, but will make its first official run on October 17th. Its debut journey will be as an excursion train, running a special two-day tour that will chart the history of coal and iron transportation via the ports and railways of Hokkaido. The routes for the 17th and 18th are as follows:
October 17th: Otaru → Iwamizawa → Oiwake → Muroran → Sapporo
October 18th: Sapporo → Muroran → Oiwake → Iwamizawa → Otaru
From October 24th the Hamanasu will run on regular limited express services such as the Okhotsk, Hokuto, and Soya services. These services will have both reserved and non-reserved seating. The Hamanasu will run on the following services in late October and early November:
October 24th & 25th, 2020
Ltd. Exp. Okhotsk No.1: Sapporo 6:56⇒Abashiri 12:17
Ltd. Exp. Taisetsu No.4: Abashiri 12:35⇒Asahikawa 16:19
October 31st & November 1st, 2020
Ltd. Exp. Ozora No.3: Sapporo 8:51⇒Kushiro 13:20
Ltd. Exp. Ozora No.8: Kushiro 13:42⇒Sapporo 18:03
November 7th & 8th, 2020
Ltd. Exp. Hokuto No.6: Sapporo 8:32⇒Hakodate 12:23
Ltd. Exp. Hokuto No.19: Hakodate 17:51⇒Sapporo 21:36
November 14th & 15th, 2020
Ltd. Exp. Soya: Sapporo 7:30⇒Wakkanai 12:40
Ltd. Exp. Sarobetsu No.4: Wakkanai 13:01⇒Asahikawa 16:48
From late November 2020 the Hamanasu will run on the following Limited Express Soya and Sarobetsu services:
|Service||Departure||Arrival||Dates (2020 – 2021)|
Nov. 28, 30
Article by Michael Lambe. Photos courtesy of JR Hokkaido. All rights reserved.