Wednesday, 5 February 2014

The 50th Anniversary of Hitachi Express

EMU JR East E657 series, limited express "Fresh Hitachi" leaves Tsuchiura Sta. on the Joban Line
Following the Tokyo Monorail Line, I am going to show you the other "50th anniversary" in the Tokyo metropolitan area... Hitachi express.

Along with the electronic manufacturer, Hitachi, Ltd., Hitachi express is well known as a time-honored train in Japan. Its name was taken from the old feudal domain, Hitachi, which was located in the present Ibaraki Prefecture.

Hitachi express debuted on October 1st in 1963 on the Joban Line. It was a semi-express train operated between Ueno and Taira stations using the EMU 451 series. Since then, the timetable has been changed many times, but Hitachi express has been surviving up until today.

On October 1st, 2013, JR East celebrated the 50th anniversary of Hitachi express operation. In commemoration of the anniversary, "Arigatou (thanks) Hitachi" stickers are displayed on the body of the E657 series, which is the present Hitachi express train.

What is the mascot on the sticker?

His name is Mukona, a cat reflecting the image of the E657 series. But I think the E657 is more like a capybara than a cat. The big front nose doesn't look like a cat, but a capybara.

The current Hitachi express train, the E657 series was manufactured by Hitachi, Ltd, but, it was not always. The former Hitachi train, namely 651 series, was manufactured by Kawasaki Heavy Industries. It was much-hyped among rail fans in the late 1980's.

Congratulations on the 50th anniversary of Hitachi express! Here's to the next 50 years!

A memorial sticker for the 50th anniversary of Hitachi express is displayed on the E657 series