JR Shikoku are giving their #8000 series limited express trains a complete upgrade to increase passenger comfort and add a dash of style.
The #8000 series was JR Shikoku’s first limited express train and was first introduced in 1992. Currently it is used for Shiokaze services that run between Okayama and Matsuyama and Ishizuchi services that run between Takamatsu and Matsuyama.
This is the second time for the #8000 series to be refurbished as the trains were previously given an extensive upgrade between 2004 and 2006.
This time the train’s exterior is to be repainted to match the colors of the #8600 series train with stripes to express the speed of the train. A bold orange stripe on the upper part of the train is said to represent the citrus fruit of Ehime Prefecture while a thinner green stripe lower down represents the olives of Kagawa Prefecture.
Inside the train will be provided with all modern comforts. All carriages will now have LED lighting and Western-style toilets.
First class Green Car and reserved seating will have power outlets for each seat while unreserved carriages will have power outlets in the walls. There will also be an open space for wheelchairs in car number 5.
The upgrade is planned for two or three trains per year. One three-car train will be refurbished and ready to operate on the Ishizuchi route this December and another 5-car train should be ready for the Shiokaze route by next August. The renewal of all the trains should be complete by the end of 2027.
Article by Michael Lambe. Images courtesy of JR Shikoku. All rights reserved.