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JR East Shinkansen lineup at Niigata Depot

A line up of Shinkansen trainsets. From left to right: E-5; E-3; 400; 200; E-4; & E-2 series trainsets.

Shinkansen (meaning "New Super Express" in Japanese), known as "bullet trains" in English due to their overall shape resembling that of a bullet, is Japan's high-speed-rail network, which opened in 1964. The whole network has been purpose-built, to the standard gauge (4 ft 8½ in [1,435 mm]), with an exception being the Yamagata branch line (see History).

HistoryEdit

The first line to open was the Tokaido line on Honshu. This line stretched between Tokyo and Osaka; about 250 miles (400 km) away. Nagoya and Kyoto are the only stops in-between. Then the Sanyo line running south from Osaka opened. Followed by the Joetsu line from Tokyo to Niigata in the north of Honshu. Then the Tohoku line heading north from Tokyo to Morioka. A branch line was then added to the network built from the Tohoku line to Yamagata. This is the only line that has been upgraded, and regauged to fit into the network.

List of modelsEdit

Full production setsEdit

  • The 0 Series sets were the first sets introduced on the network. Originally unclassified, the 0 Series sets received a retrospective designation later on; these sets enjoyed a very long service life from 1964 to 2008.
  • The 100 Series sets were introduced in 1985 and featured bilevel cars with a restaurant and compartments. These sets were retired in 2012.
  • The 200 Series sets were the first sets built for use on the Jōetsu and Tōhoku lines. The sets were retired in 2013.
  • The 300 Series sets were introduced in 1992 on the Nozomi service, but ran the semi-fast Hikari services on the Tōkaidō/San'yō lines later in their lives. The sets were retired in 2012.
  • The 400 Series sets were the first Mini-Shinkansen type of train, introduced in 1992. The sets were retired in 2010.
  • The 500 Series sets were introduced in 1997 and ran the super fast Nozomi service on the San'yō and Tokaidō lines; they have since been downgraded since 2010 due to the introduction of more modern trains.
  • The 700 Series sets were introduced in 1999 on the San'yō and Tōkaidō Shinkansen and are primarily used on Nozomi and Hikari services.
  • The N700 Series sets were introduced in 2007 used on the Tōkaidō and San'yō Shinkansen. The sets are very modern and feature a variety of novel features such as active suspension and are normally seen on the Nozomi service. Eight-car sets were introduced on the Kyushu Shinkansen in 2011, normally seen on the Mizuho and Sakura services.
  • The 800 Series sets were the first Shinkansen sets used on the Kyushu Shinkansen, introduced in 2004. These are normally seen on Tsubame services.
  • The E1 Series sets are the first bilevel trainsets introduced in 1994. These were used on the Tōhoku and Jōetsu Shinkansen until they were retired in 2012.
  • The E2 Series sets were introduced in 1997 for use on the Tōhoku and Hokuriku Shinkansen. These are the second fastest trains on those lines.
  • The E3 Series sets are the second mini-Shinkansen sets introduced in 1997. The sets have been used on the Yamagata and Akita Shinkansen lines.
  • The E4 Series sets are the second bilevel trainsets introduced in 1997. Now only used on the Jōetsu Shinkansen.
  • The E5 Series sets are ten-car sets used on the Tōhoku and Jōetsu Shinkansen since 2011 and are the fastest trains on those lines. The sets are normally seen on Hayabusa services.
  • The H5 Series sets are the first sets built for JR Hokkaido and are almost identical to the E5 Series sets. They have been in service since 2016.
  • The E6 Series sets are mini-Shinkansen sets similar to the E5 Series sets and are the fastest sets on the Yamagata and Akita Shinkansen. They have been in service since 2013.
  • The E7 and W7 Series sets are jointly developed by JR East and JR West. Both trains are very similar to each other and are built to very similar specifications. The sets are used jointly on Kagayaki and Hakutaka services.
  • The L0 Series sets are maglev-type sets to be introduced on the Chūō Shinkansen currently under construction.

Experimental setsEdit

  • The Class 1000 Shinkansen sets were the first prototype sets used for testing before the Tōkaidō Shinkansen opened. Both sets were converted to inspection trains once the Tōkaidō Shinkansen opened.
  • The Class 951 Shinkansen was used to test technologies for future high-speed trains operating at 250 km/h after the Tōkaidō Shinkansen opened.
  • The Class 961 Shinkansen was used to test technologies for future high-speed trains to be used on the Tōhoku and Jōetsu Shinkansen.
  • The Class 962 Shinkansen was the prototype for the 200 Series sets to be used on the Tōhoku and Jōetsu Shinkansen. The set was later converted to become the Class 925 Shinkansen "Doctor Yellow" set S2.
  • "Doctor Yellow" sets are inspection trains that run on Shinkansen Lines. They earned this nickname due to their role of inspecting track and overhead lines and their yellow coloration.
  • The WIN350, STAR21 and 300X were all built by JR West, East and Central respectively for the same purpose; to test technology to be incorporated in future Shinkansen train sets operating at speeds of 350 km/h or higher. All three set numerous speed records throughout their testing, with the 300X setting a national railed vehicle speed record in 1996 that remains unbeaten till this day.
  • The Fastech 360S and Z were a pair of high-speed sets meant to test technology to be incorporated into next-generation Shinkansen rolling stock.
  • The Gauge Change Trains are high-speed EMUs with variable gauge axles which allow them to run between standard gauge (4 ft 8½ in [1,435 mm]) and narrow gauge (3 ft 6 in [1,067 mm]) tracks. The project has been on hiatus since 2014.
  • The ALFA-X is a future experimental Shinkansen set to test technologies of next-generation Shinkansen sets operating at speeds of 360 km/h or higher; it is a spiritual successor of sorts to the Fastech 360 sets.

ReferencesEdit

Shinkansen
Active JR West 500700N700W7
JR East E2E3E4E5E6E7
JR Central 700N700
JR Kyushu N700800
JR Hokkaido H5
Withdrawn JR West 0100300
JR East 200400E1
JR Central 0100300
Future JR Central L0N700S
Non-revenue JNR Class 922Class 925Class 941Class 951Class 961Class 962Class 1000
JR West Class 922Class 923WIN350
JR East Class 925E926ALFA-XFastech 360SFastech 360ZSTAR21
JR Central Class 922Class 923300X
RTRI FGT-9000GCT01GCT01-200ML100ML500ML500RMLU001MLU002MLU002NMLX01