Wednesday, 28 November 2012

The 500 Series, Ultimate Beauty of High Speed Train

EMU JR West 500 series stands at Fukuyama Station on the Sanyo Shinkansen

What is the most beautiful train in Japan? Perhaps, nine times out of ten, the answer will be "the shinkansen 500 series!"

The EMU JR West 500 series was launched in 1997 as the Super-express train, Nozomi (hope). A total of 9 sets, 144 units have been manufactured by Hitachi, Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Kinki Sharyo and Nippon Sharyo. The canopy architecture with the long front nose is very cool and popular among rail-fans as well as tourists. I think that the design of the 500 series is developed into a fine art; however, it is the result of pursuit to reduce air resistance and tunnel boom.

The EMU 500 series had been operated on the Tokaido and the Sanyo Shinkansens with a maximum speed of 300km per hour; but after the debut of the N700 (see my blog on February 22nd, 2012), the 500 series has been retired gradually. Everything flows, nothing stands still.

To see and get on this beautiful train today, take the Sanyo Shinkansen between Shin-Osaka and Hakata in the western part of Japan. Currently, they make 9 to 12 round trips per day as mostly all-stations trains, Kodama (echo). Although it has been shortened from 16 to 8 cars per set, and decreased its maximum speed from 300 to 285km per hour, the beautiful tubular body with a sharp long nose is still alive and kicking.

EMU JR West 500 series, it is the ultimate beauty of high speed train.

Side view of Type 521, EMU JR West 500 series at Fukuyama Station
More information about EMU JR West 500 series: