JR East have announced that they are building a new shinkansen train, the E8 series, which will be introduced on the Yamagata Shinkansen Line in 2024. The new train will replace the E3 series and raise the maximum speed of the Yamagata Shinkansen service from the current 275 km/h to 300 km/h. This faster speed is made possible by the 9-meter-long nose of the E8 shinkansen which is a full 3 meters longer than the nose of the E3.[Read more…]
With the lifting of Japan’s state of emergency many people who had been sheltering from the pandemic at home have now returned to a regular commute to work by train. Although the prospect of once again taking that morning and evening rush hour commute may depress some, there are some trains that may help lift people’s spirits.[Read more…]
Food lovers visiting Fukuoka Prefecture should book their tickets for Rail Kitchen Chikugo; a beautifully designed sightseeing train that celebrates both local cuisine and craftsmanship. Rail Kitchen Chikugo is effectively a mobile restaurant operated by the private railroad company Nishitetsu Railway, and it runs along scenic rural routes on the Nishitetsu Tenjin Omuta Line and Daizafu Line. The train is named after the historic Chikugo Province that once covered the southern part Fukuoka Prefecture.[Read more…]
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…]
JR Shikoku are to launch a new “Monogatari” excursion train this April which will run on the Dosan Line between Kochi Station and Kubokawa Station in the southern prefecture of Kochi. Starting in April this train will operate one round trip per day on weekends and holidays, but from July of this year it will also operate on Fridays. The train will slow down at scenic spots on route, such as the Niyodogawa Bridge, and it will also make a stop at Awa Station in Susaki, so that passengers can enjoy the view from there of the Pacific Ocean.
This is the third of JR Shikoku’s Monogatari tourist trains. “Monogatari” is a rather romantic word that means “story” or “tale” in Japanese and each of these three colorful trains is designed to celebrate the special romance of a particular region in Shikoku. [Read more…]
JR East will launch a new limited express sightseeing service, called the “Saphir Odoriko”, on March 14th this year. The new train will run between destinations in Tokyo and Izukyu-Shimoda Station on the Izu Peninsula passing through Yokohama and Atami on the way. This train will replace the current Super View Odoriko service. All of the Odoriko trains are named after a famous short story by Yasunari Kawabata called “Izu no Odoriko” or “The Dancing Girl of Izu”. However, the new train’s name and exterior coloring is inspired by the sapphire blue of the ocean and sky in Izu’s popular seaside spa resorts.[Read more…]
This spring Kintetsu Railway will introduce a new limited express service called the “Hinotori” which will offer unprecedented levels of comfort for passengers traveling between the cities of Osaka and Nagoya. Hinotori means “phoenix” in Japanese, a name which reflects the new train’s combination of speed and elegant refinement.[Read more…]
JR Hokkaido have introduced two new sightseeing trains called the “Sanshi-Suimei” series on local lines. The trains are renovated Kiha 40 series trains, which have been thoroughly refurbished both inside and out.[Read more…]
As the year draws to a close let’s take a look at some of Japan’s outstanding train designs in 2019. Japan Institute of Design Promotion have selected two beautiful railway vehicles for this year’s Good Design Awards: the Sotetsu 12000 series and Hiroshima Electric Railway’s “Green Mover Apex”, along with Seibu’s Laview express train for a Gold Award.[Read more…]
Tokyo Metro have announced that the new station building and platform for the Ginza Line at Shibuya Station will open for business on January 3rd 2020. First opened in 1938, the Ginza Line Shibuya Station is a busy transportation hub with around 220,000 passengers per day in 2018. Work to relocate the station building has been ongoing since 2009 and is just one part of the ongoing redevelopment projects in and around the Shibuya Station complex. In this case, the Ginza Line stop’s new location should make transfers easier with the other multiple rail lines that make use of the Shibuya Station complex.[Read more…]