Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The E653's Little Side Trip to Kamakura


EMU JR East E653 series arrives at Kita-Kamakura Station on the Yokosuka Line

The ecology of rail fans is curious. They dislike mass-produced models such as standard commuter trains and express trains in general; however, they flock to get on these trains once it is announced that the models will be retired soon. Rail fans might be fond of rare species of trains. As a matter of fact, so am I.

Last week I visited Kamakura for a stroll. As you may know, Kamakura is known as a historic city where the bakufu (shogunate government) was located from 1185 to 1333. It was enjoyable for me to visit historical temples and shrines, but I had another purpose to visit Kamakura. It was to see a rare EMU that would come to Kamakura as a special train.

Look at the top photo. It is an EMU JR East E653 series arriving at Kita-Kamakura Station on the Yokosuka Line. The E653 series was commissioned in 1997 to replace the old limited express model, the 485 series, on the Joban Line. A total of 12 sets, 72 units, have been manufactured so far by Hitachi, Kinki Sharyo and Tokyu Sharyo. They were being operated as limited express trains on the Joban Line until March 15th, 2013. The E653 was then retired from regular trains on the tracks. Currently, E653's field of performance is only as special trains. It means that the E653 has become a rare train to be chased by rail fans.

The E653... haven't seen you for yonks.

Side view of the KuHa E653-8, EMU JR East E653 series