Sunday, July 17, 2011

EMU JR East E1 and E4 Series, Duplex Shinkansens

EMU JR East E4 series, bi-level Shinkansen train at Tokyo Station

As I mentioned in the last article, Tokyo has been expanding both above and under ground. But, there is another direction as well. It’s horizontal.

When I was a child, I lived in Suginami Ward, which is 10km west of the city center. At that time, vegetable fields could be seen everywhere near my neighborhood. However today, if you visit there, you would have difficulty finding any vegetable fields or even blank spaces there, because of housing land development. Tokyo is an exploding city. Commuting time for workers never seems to get shorter. Is there any solution?

Yes, there is. Take a shinkansen! It transports you to your office quickly. Shinkansens were constructed as interurban transportation at first. But, their function is more than that nowadays. They are utilized as commuter trains as well. But, the question is how to transport large numbers of people during rush hour?

The answer is the “duplex”. JR East started to operate bi-level trains, EMU E1 series in 1994. Then, they launched the EMU E4 series in 1997. The newest model, the E4 series, consists of 8 cars, which can accommodate 817 seats in one set. These sets can be connected, therefore, a maximum of 1634 seats are available, if 2 sets of trains are connected.

I rode an EMU E4 series several years ago and found that it’s much more comfortable than I imagined. The best advantage was its good view from the upstairs window.

Duplex Shinkansens … they are dependable monster trains for daily Tokyo commuters.

Size comparison, Shinkansen EMU JR East E1 (bi-level) and E2 series at Tokyo Station