This autumn JR Kyushu will debut a new tourist train called the “36 plus 3”. Running a complete circuit of Kyushu over a five-day period the new train will have a six-car formation with 103 seats. All cars will be first class Green Cars with options for gourmet lunch and dinner menus featuring the very best local cuisine.
The 36 plus 3 is a revamped #787 series electric train that was previously used on JR Kyushu’s limited express services. The exterior of the new train has been painted a debonair black with gold details and the interior has been completely renovated.
JR Kyushu have given a variety of reasons for the train’s unusual name which is read “36 plus 3”. The primary reason given for “36” is that Kyushu is the 36th largest island in the world. However, it is also an expression of appreciation to JR Kyushu’s passengers as 36 is pronounced sankyu in Japanese which sounds like “thank you!” The “plus 3” part of the name is said to refer to three emotions that passengers will experience when they travel on this train: wonder, inspiration, and happiness. However, it is also meant to represent the three groups of people who the train will bring together: the passengers, the local people of Kyushu, and the JR Kysuhu railway staff.
Inside the train Cars 1 to 3 contain private compartments, Car 4 is a lounge, while Cars 5 and 6 have regular seating.
In Car 3 there is also a snack bar that sells drinks, snack and souvenirs.
The lounge in Car 4 is designed to be a common area where passengers can freely mingle and it will sometimes be used for special events.
The 36 plus 3 will run five daytime trips in a circuit around all 7 prefectures in Kyushu. As the illustration below shows a different route will be followed on each day.
Passengers can book a seat for just one day or more as they wish, and there are a variety of booking plans available depending on whether or not you want to include lunch or dinner with your trip.
The five routes are shown below:
|Thursday||Hakata > Kumamoto > Kagoshima-Chuo|
|Friday||Kagoshima-Chuo > Miyazaki|
|Saturday||Miyazaki Airport, Miyazaki > Oita, Beppu|
|Sunday||Oita, Beppu > (Mojiko) > Kokura > Hakata|
|Monday||Hakata > Saga > Nagasaki / Nagasaki > Saga > Hakata|
The 36 plus 3 will make its debut run from Kagoshima-Chuo Station to Miyazaki Station on October 16th 2020. For more details please visit the 36 plus 3 official website.
Article by Michael Lambe. Photos courtesy of JR Kyushu. All rights reserved.