This year JR West will introduce a new long-distance train linking key areas of western Japan. The new train is called the West Express Ginga and offers a variety of seating and sleeping options to suit the varying needs of different travelers. The name “Ginga” means “galaxy” or “milky way” in Japanese, but for railway fans the new train’s name is evocative of the original Ginga train, an overnight express sleeper train that ran between Tokyo and Osaka between 1949 and 2008. The new West Express Ginga is flexible in that it can operate either as a daytime or overnight service. Initially it will run as a sleeper service between the Kansai and Sanin regions, but from October it is scheduled to run as a daytime service between Kansai and the Sanyo Region.
The new train has been created by remodeling a 6-car JNR #117 series train that previously ran as a commuter train on the Sanyo and Tokaido main lines. The #117 series was first introduced in 1979, so the train’s basic form has a vintage appearance which is enhanced by its new exterior coloring: a deep lapis lazuli blue which represents the beautiful sea and sky of western Japan. There are also white lines on the sides of the train that represent the long distances it will travel and the hope that this train will have a long future![Read more…]