Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Rakuraku Train in the Niigata Area

EMU JR East 485 series, Rakuraku Train "Murakami", stands at Niigata Station
 
Japanese businessmen and businesswomen in the large cities are very busy every day. To make matters worse, their journeys home are hard. As you may know, the commuter trains are packed on most of the lines. It is a pain for city dwellers in this country.

Niigata is no exception. Although the population of Niigata City is 0.8 million, much smaller than that of Tokyo, this large city is also in a similar commuting predicament with Tokyo. What can you do if you are a Niigatan?

Here is what you need to do. Get on "Rakuraku Train (relaxing train)". It will take you to a healing world. Rakuraku Train is similar to that of a Commuter Liner in the Tokyo metropolitan area. Once you pay an extra fee (310 yen), a squashy reclining seat is secured for you.

The vehicles for Rakuraku Train are higher grade than those of standard commuter trains. A 6-car train, the EMU JR East 485 series, is used. This train has a long history on the Japanese railways. It was launched in 1968 as an AC-DC dual system EMU for limited express, and has been manufactured for 11 years.

Currently, the 485 series is operated as limited express trains in the daytime in the Niigata area. It is, then, operated as Rakuraku Train in the evening. The operating routes are from Niigata to Naoetsu (136km) and Murakami (61km).

Rakuraku Train... it is a healer for hard workers in Niigata City.

 
Side view of the Type KuHa 481, the EMU 485 series