Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Reunion with the Old Super-Hitachi

EMU JR East 651 series (left) is exhibited in Uchihara Rail Yard on the Joban Line
 
When I joined the event for "Mito Railway Communication Day" last month, I met some old familiar EMUs on the site. One such train was the EMU 651 series, "Super-Hitachi".

As I mentioned before, the 651 series was launched as a limited express train on the JR East Joban Line in 1989. Replacing an old EMU 485 series, it speeded up the route between Tokyo, Ibaraki, Fukushima and Miyagi Prefectures. The maximum speed was 130 kilometers per hour. A total of 9 sets, 99 units had been manufactured by Kawasaki Heavy Industries. The 651 series once retired from the track in March this year; but, recently, it revived, and is operated as a limited express, "Fresh-Hitachi" for one round service per day.

One of the features of this train is its exterior. Specifically, a large LED display on the front is quite unique. The white and olive gray colored body is also funky fresh. Because of its coloring, rail fans call it the "tuxedo body (penguin suit body)". The spec of the train is rather old these days; however, it has lots of fans who enthusiastically "worship" this train.

I enjoyed a long-awaited reunion with the old Super-Hitachi, the 651 series. The only complaint was that the exhibited train was NOT provided with electric current on the site. It is probably because the railway company considered visitors' safety; however, sad to see the "not lit up" LED display on the train.

 
Side view of the EMU JR East 651 series (right)