Saturday, January 14, 2012

Flagship Model of Romance Car Fleet


EMU Odakyu 50000 series, "Romance Car" VSE passes through Kyodo Station

As I introduced in my June 25th, 2011 blog, the "Romance Car" is the train that represents Odakyu Electric Railway Company. Connecting Shinjuku; a subcenter of Tokyo and Hakone, Enoshima and other reputable resorts, Odakyu has been operating this luxury limited express train since 1950. So far, a total of 8 models have been launched. Currently, 6 of them are still operating on the routes.

If I introduce a flagship model of the Romance Car, I can instantly select the EMU 50000 series without question (see the top photo). The EMU 50000 series, also known as VSE (Vault Super Express), launched in 2005 to replace old models. Before the debut of the 50000 series, Odakyu had been suffering from a decreasing number of Romance Car passengers. It was serious because the decreasing number of passengers was much larger than that of sightseers to resorts on the Odakyu Line. It meant that the visitors to the resorts were not satisfied with the existing Romance Cars.

Because of this, the daring style was adopted by the new Romance Car, EMU 50000 series. For example, the cockpit is up stairs. So, the passengers can enjoy a front view through the wide window (see the bottom photo). The roof design has also been changed to a near-futuristic, vault-shape. The interior has become more luxurious.

In late 2005, the EMU 50000 series received a "Blue Ribbon Prize" from Japan Rail Fan Club. This award is given to the best new train model of the year. Odakyu's effort finally bore fruit.

EMU Odakyu 50000 series, "Romance Car" VSE at Hakone-yumoto Station