Thursday, January 30, 2014

Autumn Leaves on the Kururi Line

Diesel railcar JR East KiHa E130-100 series stands at Yokota Station on the Kururi Line 
 
It is already mid-winter in Tokyo, but, there are still some autumn photos to be introduced. I am going to show you a bit more of last autumn.

Lake Kameyama is located in the southern part of Chiba Prefecture, some 60km directly southeast of Tokyo. It is known as the final reaching area of the "autumn leaves front" in the Tokyo metropolitan area. The best season to view the autumn leaves there is late November to early December.

To enjoy the best view, you should join the "autumn leaves cruise" held by local travel vendors. The majority of the beautiful spots are located on the lakeside, especially on the steep slopes by the lake. Preferable means to view these spots is by boat. Thanks to the cruise, I could visit these spots of beautiful autumn leaves one after another.

To get to the gateway of this splendid autumn leaves area, you should take the JR East Kururi Line, and get off at Kazusa-Kamayama Terminal. The Kururi Line is an important transportation route from the coastal area to the midland of Boso Peninsula. Connecting Kisarazu and Kazusa-Kameyama, the total operating length is 32.2 kilometers. The entire route is a non-electrified single track.

The main fleet of the Kururi Line is the diesel rail car, KiHa E130-100 series, which debuted in 2012. A total of 10 units have been manufactured so far by Niigata Transys. The shining stainless steel body with blue, green, and yellow colored accents makes a vivid impression on passengers.

 
Autumn colors of Lake Kameyama near Kazusa-Kameyama Station on the Kururi Line
 
More information about the diesel railcar, JR East KiHa E130 series (in Japanese):

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Count Down to the Last Run: EMU E3 Series, Komachi

Being coupled with the E5, the EMU JR East E3 series, "Komachi", stands at Tokyo Station
 
Spring is the season of the new timetable for Japanese railways. For instance, JR East recently made a press release announcing that a new timetable would begin on March 15th. It means that several new trains will debut, while other trains will be retired. Everything flows, nothing stands still.

Some big news was the announcement of the E3 series' retirement from the Akita Shinkansen. The EMU E3 series, super-express "Komachi" was launched in 1997, when the Akita Shinkansen line was opened. Being coupled with other Shinkansen trains, the E3 series have been frequently operated from Tokyo to Akita every day.

As 16 years have already passed, JR East have started to introduce a new generation train, the EMU E6 series, onto this route. The E6 series will completely replace all of the E3 series by March 14th. For your information, JR East plans to raise the maximum speed of the E6 series to 320km/hour at the same time. As a result, all E5+E6 coupled trains; "Hayabusa+Komachi" will be operated with the maximum speed of 320km/hour.

Currently, "Arigatou (thanks) Komachi" stickers are displayed on the body of the E3 series on the cusp of retirement. What will be the fate of the E3 series? I hope that they find a new assignment, such as the other super-express train operations, namely "Tsubasa (wing)" on the Yamagata Shinkansen.

The last run of the EMU E3 series, super-express "Komachi", is planned on March 14th.

 
"Arigatou (thanks) Komachi" sticker is displayed on the EMU E3 series

More information about the last run, EMU JR East E3 series, Komachi (in Japanese):

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Monorail Line in the Dream and Magic Kingdom, Part 2

EMU, set number 2, leaves Tokyo Disneyland Station on the Disney Resort Line
 
Let me start where I left off last time.

The Disney Resort Line is not an amusement ride in a fun park. It is a monorail line under the Railway Business Act of Japan. Pasmo and Suica, which are prepaid IC transit cards for railway and bus passengers in the Tokyo metropolitan area, can be used on this train.

The main fleet on the line is a 6-car train manufactured by Hitachi in 2001. They are a set numbered from 1 to 5. Each set has a different color, namely blue, yellow, green, purple, and peach. Each train can carry 537 passengers. The specification of the EMU is not clear, but the configuration of a set is supposed to be 4M2T. The maximum operating speed is 50km/hour.

I like the interior design of this monorail. It has a splendid atmosphere as a resort train. For instance, the windows are shaped like Mickey Mouse. They are smart-looking. The design of the straps is also Mickey Mouse shaped. The custom-designed sofas are my favorite, and they always play background music softly on the train. Using the ATO (automatic train operation) system, the trains are driverless, meaning the passengers can enjoy a scenic view from the frontal seats without a cockpit.

I used this monorail at the end of last week. It was a cold windy day; however, many passengers were on board to enjoy this resort and monorail. The Disney Resort Line... it is a fully-fledged popular monorail line in the dream and magic kingdom.

 
Interior design of the monorail, the Disney Resort Line

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Monorail Line in the Dream and Magic Kingdom

EMU, set number 1, heads to Bayside Station on the Disney Resort Line
 
Tokyo Disney Resort is located in Urayasu City, Chiba Prefecture, about 10km east of downtown Tokyo area. It is an enigma why they call it "Tokyo" Disney Resort when it is located in Chiba Prefecture.

Jokes aside, Tokyo Disney Resort is always crowded with tourists from around the world. The first facility, Tokyo Disneyland, was opened in 1983. The second facility, Tokyo Disney Sea, was, then, added in 2001. Currently, this resort is composed of the two major amusement facilities and several official hotels located on the coast of Tokyo Bay.

Preferable means of transportation in the large resort area is the monorail line, the Disney Resort Line, that was opened in 2001. The route is a looped single track with a 1,500-volt DC system running through several key areas in the resort, such as two amusement facilities, the hotel areas, and JR East Maihama Station. It is 5 km long with four stations. Automatic platform gates, to prevent passengers from falling off the platform edge, are equipped in all stations.

The trains run counterclockwise throughout the day and cover the entire route in about 12 minutes. The operation interval is 4 to 13 minutes. Using ATO (automatic train operation) system, driverless operation is conducted; meanwhile, a conductor is on board for door operation and guide announcements to passengers.

The Disney Resort Line... it is the main transportation artery in the dream and magic kingdom.

To be continued...

 
Resort Gateway Station on the Disney Resort Line
 
More informaton about the Disney Resort Line (in Japanese):

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Narcissus Trail on the Uchibo Line

Set number C601 of the EMU JR East 209-2100 series heads to Awa-Katsuyama Station
 
It is the coldest period of the year in Japan. The daytime maximum temperature is lower than 10 degrees Celsius; however, just outside the downtown area has already been filled with hints of spring. One of the examples is Tomiyama Narcissus Trail in Chiba Prefecture.

When I visited the trail with my family last weekend, about half of the narcissus blossoms were in bloom. They were planted in fields, slopes, riversides and house gardens. The sweet smell of the flowers attracted my family; while, I enjoyed taking flower photographs.

Tomiyama Narcissus Trail is located 70km directly southeast of downtown Tokyo, but, it is more than 120km by railway because trains have to go around the coast of Tokyo Bay. To visit there, you should take the JR East Keiyo Line from Tokyo Station and get off at Iwai Station on the Uchibo Line. It takes around two and a half hours by limited express and local trains, changing at Kisarazu Station.

The EMU 209 series is the main fleet on the Uchibo Line. It was originally debuted in Tokyo in 1993 to replace the old commuter EMU, the 103 series. The 209 series was then introduced onto the Uchibo Line in 2009 under names of the 209-2000 and the 209-2100 series after the original 209 series was renovated.

The wind was still cold, but sun was stronger than before. Spring is around the corner. I can't wait for a genial season.


In the meantime, I have linked to an informative website, Eugene's Railpictures. Please enjoy beautiful pictures and information about South African and Japanese trains.
 
Tomiyama Narcissus Trail near Iwai Station on the Uchibo Line
 
More information about the EMU JR East 209 series (in Japanese):

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Retro Colored Streetcars on the Arakawa Line

Unit number 7022 of the electric car, Toei 7000 series stands at Oji-ekimae Stop
 
The Tokyo metropolitan area once had an extensive tram network. It was operated by several companies and local governments, such as Tokyu Electric Railway, Tokyo Metropolitan Government, Yokohama and Kawasaki city offices. Today, most routes have already been abolished due to heavy traffic jams; however, the Toei (Tokyo Metropolitan Government) Arakawa Line is one of the few precious survivors, since it was constructed as an exclusive track.

The Arakawa Line had been operated as two tram routes, namely Route 27 and 32. They were integrated into one route, the Arakawa Line, in 1974. Connecting Waseda and Minowabashi, its operating length is 12.2km. The track is 1,372mm dual-gauge. The electric system is 600V DC overhead.

The electric railcar 7000 series is the oldest active model on the Arakawa Line. It was launched in 1954 to reinforce the tram fleet. A total of 93 units have been manufactured so far by Alna Sharyo and 19 units are still operated on the track. Although the bodies, pantographs and some other equipment have been changed, the electric motors, driving gear units and bogies are still the originals.

Among the 19 survivors, unit numbers 7001 and 7022 have been given "retro colored" bodies recently. The 7001 has a yellow body with a red stripe, whereas the 7022 has the same colored body with a blue stripe. These designs were taken from the body colors sometime around the 1970s. They are very popular with old rail fans.

 
Unit number 7001 of the electric car, Toei 7000 series stands at Arakawa Depot
 
More information about the streetcars on the Toei-Arakawa Line (in Japanese):

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Winter Sunset on the Inokashira Line

1701F of the EMU Keio 1000 series stands at Eifuku-cho Station on the Inokashira Line
 
Here we are in the middle of winter in Tokyo. It is clear every day in the regions here on the Pacific Ocean. In contrast, it always snows in the areas on the Japan Sea, because 2000-3000m high mountain ranges give the Pacific Ocean and the Japan Sea sides vastly different climatic patterns.

Winter is one of the best seasons to take scenic pictures in the Tokyo metropolitan area. The crystal blue sky gives photographers many beautiful subjects, such as snow-capped summits. The sunset is also photogenic, because the clear sky enhances the orange colored sunlight.

One day, I headed to my birthplace, which was on the Keio-Inokashira Line. The purpose of my visit was to take pictures of Mt. Fuji backed by the winter sunset. When I was a child, I could view Mt. Fuji easily from my parent's house. But today, it is not so easy, since built-up houses interrupt the scenery of Mt. Fuji from a distance.

How can I view Mt. Fuji in this area? The solution was to climb up on the roof top garden of Eifuku-cho Station Building on the Keio-Inokashira Line. I could enjoy a fantastic view of Mt. Fuji backed by an orange colored sunset there. It was the same as what I saw in my childhood.

After taking photographs, I started for home by getting on a train on the Inokashira Line. The stainless-steel 1000 series was blazing under the station lights. It was also very beautiful to feel myself compelled to use the shutter button again.

 
Sunset view from Eifuku-cho Station Building on the Keio-Inokashira Line

Friday, January 17, 2014

Train in Yokohama: The 205 series on the Yokohama Line

EMU JR East 205 series stands at Yokohama Station on the Yokohama Line
 
The JR East Yokohama Line is one of the main transportation arteries in the Yokohama area. It was opened in 1908 to transport silk from the midland area to Yokohama Port. Connecting Higashi-Kanagawa and Hachiouji, the route length is 42.6km.

One of the features of this line is its route arrangement. The Yokohama Line forms part of the outer ring railway in the Tokyo metropolitan area. Ths route intersects many radially-arranged trunk lines, such as JR Central-Tokaido Shinkansen, Tokyu-Toyoko Line, Odakyu-Odawara Line and Keio-Sagamihara Line.

An 8-car train, the EMU 205 series is operated as a singular model on the Yokohama Line. It was introduced onto the track in 1988 to replace an old model, the 103 series.

On April 10th 2012, JR East held a press release, in which they announced that 224 units of new EMUs, the E233-6000 series, would be introduced to the Yokohama Line in 2014 to replace the EMU 205 series. The first set was dispatched from J-TREC Yokohama Factory on January 7th, 2014. Currently, JR East is conducting its test run on the track. According to some media, the first set will debut on February 16th for commercial operations.

What will be the fate of the old 205 series? According to other media, all sets of the 205 series will be retired from the Yokohama Line by August this year.

I hope that the 205 series on the Yokohama Line finds out a new assignment, such as commuter transportation in Jakarta, Indonesia.

 
Close-up of KuHa205-69 of the EMU JR East 205 series

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Mini-Funicular to the Scenic Mountain Pass

Car number 2, "Jikkoku", of the Jikkoku-touge Cable Line, Izu-Hakone Railway

Jikkoku Pass is located in the eastern part of Shizuoka Prefecture, some 100km southwest of Tokyo. Although its altitude is not high (770m above sea level), it has the best view of the mountains and the ocean. "Jikkoku" is the Japanese word for "ten domains". It means that people could view ten feudal domains from this pass in ancient times. They are the present Shizuoka, Tokyo, Kanagawa, Chiba, Yamanashi and Nagano prefectures.

I visited this reputable mountain pass with my family last weekend. To get to this spot, Jikkoku-touge Cable Line is convenient. Connecting Jikkoku-touge Noboriguchi and Jikkoku-touge stations, the route length is only 317m. The height difference between the highest and lowest points of the route is 101m. The maximum inclination is 22 degrees and the track gauge is 1435mm. It takes only three minutes to move between the two stations.

The Jikkoku-touge Cable Line was completed in 1956 by Sunzu Railway (present Izu-Hakone Railway). The two Hitachi funiculars, namely "Hikane (car number 1)" and "Jikkoku (car number 2)" debuted in 1956, when the line was opened. The body is rather old, but the interior is nicely renovated. They are operated every 15 minutes on average.

After arriving at Jikkoku-touge Station, we could enjoy the superb view. Mountain upon mountain of backbone hills of Izu Peninsula expand southward. Mt. Fuji, the Sea of Sagami and Suruga Bay could also be seen beautifully under the clear winter's sky.

Jikkoku-touge Cable Line... it is a lovely mini-funicular to the scenic mountain pass.


Distant view from Jikkoku Pass near Jikkoku-touge Station on the Jikkoku Cable Line

Monday, January 13, 2014

Getting Lost in Ootemachi Labyrinth

The latest version of Ootemachi Station Yard map

My office is located near JR Tokyo Station, which is the largest railway terminal in Japan. The surface tracks and the 20 elevated tracks are used by Yamanote, Chuo, Keihin-Tohoku, Tokaido and Shinkansen trains and 8 underground tracks are allocated for Yokosuka-Sobu Rapid and Keiyo lines. But, there is more to it. In conjunction with Tokyo, another huge railway station exists. It is subway Ootemachi Station.

Ootemachi is the largest subway station in Japan. Trains of two operators (Tokyo Metro and Toei), 5 lines (Marunouchi, Tozai, Chiyoda, Hanzomon and Toei-Mita) arrive at and leave this giant station. Each route has its own "line color", namely red, light blue, green, purple and dark blue. The ridership of Ootemachi is 320,000 passengers per day, which doesn't include passengers, who change train from one line to another route at this station. There are 48 entrances in the station yard.

Ootemachi Station continues to expand. Whenever I use this station, there is construction in the yard. As a result, the appearance of the rail yard is always changing, which is a problem for passengers. Recently, I went to a building in Ootemachi from my office via underground Ootemachi Station; but I got lost in the station yard because the entrance of the Tozai Line had been changed after completion of a new building. The entrance of the station was moved from the old to a new position. I was almost late for an important appointment.

Subway Ootemachi Station... it is a living labyrinth.
 
"C8" entrance of Ootemachi Station on the subway lines

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Dawn on the Northern Track

Being pulled by EF64-1031, overnight sleeper train, "Akebono", stands at Ueno Terminal
 
On December 20th, 2013, JR East made a press release, in which they announced that a new timetable would begin on March 15th, 2014. At the same time, they announced that the overnight sleeper train, "Akebono" would be retired from being a regular train when the timetable is changed.

Akebono (dawn) is operated from the Ueno Terminal of Tokyo, to Aomori, the northernmost major city in Honshu Island, every day. It debuted in 1970, and covers a distance of 772.8km in about twelve and a half hours via Joetsu, Uetsu and Oou lines. The passenger cars are the blue colored 24 series, which are composed of A-sleepers (first class), B-sleepers (standard class), an open coach and a power-supply car. Although the luxury of the interior doesn't come up to that of Cassiopeia, Akebono has been popular among tourists to and from the area along the Japan Sea coast in the Tohoku District. The pulling locomotives are types EF64-1000 and the EF81, which are switched at Nagaoka Station in Niigata Prefecture.

In the 1970s, overnight sleepers were star trains on the trunk lines in Japan; but today, many sleeper trains have been abolished, because passengers have transferred to other vehicles such as Shinkansen or air carriers. Consequently, only three JR East's overnight sleeper trains survive on the northern tracks in Japan.

After March 15th, Akebono will be operated only in the peak seasons such as summer and New Year vacations. Everything flows, nothing stands still.
 
Passenger carriage, JR East 24 series, overnight sleeper train, "Akebono" 

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Tokyo Night Walk: Omotesando Illumination 2013-2014

EMU Tokyo Metro 16000 series stands at Ootesando station on the Chiyoda Line
 
Winter is known as a season of "street illumination". The winter illumination is an annual event in Japan. We can see a lot of beautiful decorations here and there. Specifically, urban streets are nicely illuminated by millions of LED lights.

The most traditional and famous illuminations in Tokyo are on Omotesando Avenue, which is a well-known fashion town built 90 years ago. In this winter, "Omotesando Illumination 2013-2014" was held for the first time in 2 years. The avenue of Japanese zelkova was ornamented with a total of 500,000 LED lights between Tokyo Metro Omotesando and JR East Harajuku stations. I visited there on the final day; but many couples and families were still enjoying this annual event.

To get to Omotesando Avenue, it is convenient to get off at Tokyo Metro Omotesando Station. 3 subway routes reach this station, namely Ginza, Hanzomon and Chiyoda lines. The Chiyoda Line is the most convenient access for people like me living on the Odakyu Line, because many Odakyu trains are directly operated into the Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line.

The stylish brand new train, the EMU 16000 series is the main fleet on the line. It has high-tech Permanent Magnet Synchronous Motors (PMSM) to reduce electric power consumption and also has a comfortable design such as copious use of glass to brighten the interior of the train. The interior monitors installed above the doors are also quite nice as they are very informative.
 
Omotesando Illumination 2013-2014 is held near Omotesando Station

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Train in Yokohama: The Sotetsu 8000 Series

EMU Sotetsu 8000 series arrives at Seya Station
 
Yokohama is located some 20km southwest of Tokyo, and is the second largest city in Japan. It has been developed as Tokyo's outport since the 19th century. Currently, it has an estimated population of 3.7 million. The railway network in Yokohama is extensive. It is part of the huge commuter railway network in the Tokyo metropolitan area. I am going to show you the trains in Yokohama bit by bit.

Sagami Railway (Sotetsu) is one of the major private railway companies. It has a Yokohama-based railway line network. The total route length is only 38.1km; however, Sotetsu functions as the main transportation artery in the Yokohama area. It is an electrified double track, and its dual gauge is 1,067mm. The electric system is 1,500V DC overhead.

Sotetsu has 6 kinds of EMUs. The 8000 series is the third oldest series of trains on the line. It was commissioned in 1990 to replace old EMUs, the 6000 series. A total of 13 sets, 130 units, have been manufactured so far by Hitachi.

One of the features of this train is the rectangle cardan driving device that is adopted. This driving system provides passengers with a quiet in-car environment; however, it is said that maintenance of the system is not easy.

As a rail fan, I like the 8000 series because there are cross seats in this train. Although the 8000 series is a commuter train, we can enjoy the atmosphere of the holiday tour sitting in the cross seats. It is a little bit of fun for urban commuters.

 
EMU Sotetsu 8000 series stands at Nishi-Yokohama Rail Yard

Monday, January 6, 2014

Late Autumn Visit to Hakone

Coupling scene of the EMU Odakyu 60000 series (MSE) is seen at Odawara Station
 
I just celebrated New Year, but I can't believe that one week has passed already. Before introducing the topic of winter railway scenery in Japan, I would like to keep to the subject of last autumn a bit more.

Viewing colorful autumn leaves is one of the indulgences that Japanese people have during fall. Leaves turn yellow, red and brown. Representative yellowish leaves are from gingko trees; meanwhile, representative reddish leaves are from maple trees. I visited Hakone Mountain last November to enjoy late autumn leaves. Although the leaves had started defoliating in the high-altitude area, they still kept beautiful autumn colors in the lower altitude area such as Hakone-Yumoto and Miyanoshita.

On the way back home, I took the Odakyu Line from Odawara Station. My vehicle was the Romance Car, EMU 60000 series (MSE). I often use this train on the way home, but it was something special on that day, since it was very beautiful and glaring in the twilight.

This train adds 4 passenger cars to become a ten-car train at Odawara Station. I saw the coupling scene at platform number 10. It was quite simple, because the train has a tight lock type automatic coupler with an automatic dividing and merging equipment. It means that crew members don't need to descend onto the track to help the coupling operation.

The Romance Car, MSE was operated on schedule. When I got off at Shin-Yurigaoka Station, it had become completely dark. The autumn sun set quickly.

 
Autumn leaves of a maple tree near Hakone-Yumoto Station

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Diesel Rail Car on the Ryugasaki Line

Diesel rail car, Kantetsu 2000 series arrives at Ireji Station on the Ryuhasaki Line
 
After my visit to Uchihara Rail Yard on the Joban Line for the event of "Mito Railway Communication Day" last November, I stopped over at Sanuki Station on my way back home. What I was looking for was a diesel rail car on the Ryugasaki Line.

Ryugasaki is located some 50km northeast of Tokyo, and has been developed as a commuter city since the 1970's. There are two new residential areas and one industrial complex in the city.

The Ryugasaki Line is a small local route operated by Kanto Railway Company. Connecting Sanuki and Ryugasaki, the operating length is only 4.5km. This route was opened in 1900 as a 762mm gauge light railway, where small steam locomotives and passenger carriages were operated. Currently, it has become a 1,067mm gauge unelectrified single track, where diesel rail cars are operated.

The main rolling stock of the Ryugasaki Line is the diesel rail car, 2000 series, which was commissioned in 1997. A total of two units have been manufactured so far by Niigata Tekko. It is similar to the 2100 series on the Joso Line (also operated by Kanto Railway), but the 2000 series has door steps for lower platforms.

I got off at Ireji, an intermediate local station between Sanuki and Ryugasaki for a stroll. I saw a small cosmos garden on the platform. It was clear and sunny day in the late autumn. The cosmos blossoms were swaying in the wind.

Winter was only just around the corner.
 
Diesel rail car, Kantetsu 2000 series stands at Ireji Station on the Ryugasaki Line

Saturday, January 4, 2014

New Year Tram on the Arakawa Line

Electric rail car Toei 9000 series stands at Minowabashi Terminal on the Arakawa Line
 
Although a modern railway system has been developed, there are still two traditional tram routes in the Tokyo metropolitan area. One of them is the Tokyu-Setagaya Line and the other is the Toei-Arakawa Line. Today let me introduce you to the Toei-Arakawa Line, which is operated by Tokyo Metropolitan Government (Toei).

Tokyo once had a 181km-long tram network; but most routes were abolished due to heavy traffic jams. The Arakawa Line was a sole survivor, as it was constructed as an exclusive track. This route had been operated as two tram routes, namely Route 27 and 32. They were integrated into one route, the Arakawa Line, in 1974. Connecting Waseda and Minowabashi, its operating length is 12.2km. The track is 1,372mm dual-gauge. The electric system is 600V DC overhead.

The electric car 9000 series is the latest model on the Arakawa Line. It was commissioned in 2007. A total of 2 units have been manufactured so far by Aluna Sharyo. Each unit has a different color, red (unit 9001) and blue (unit 9002). Although the specification of the 9000 series has been modernized, the exterior design and interior atmosphere of this model remains retro-inspired.

During the New Year week, Tokyo Metropolitan Government places special plates displaying "Gasho and Geishun (Happy New Year)" on the front of the 9000 series. Many rail fans enjoy taking pictures of the 9000 series with the New Year plates along the track.

Trains in the Tokyo metropolitan area also celebrate New Year.
 
Electric car Toei 9000 series stands at Kishibojin-mae Stop on the Arakawa Line

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

EMU E653 Series: Old "Fresh-Hitachi" on the Joban Line

EMU JR East E653 series is exhibited in Uchihara Rail Yard on the Joban Line
 
Happy New Year!

The year 2014 has begun. At the opening of New Year, I am going to show you an old limited express train, the EMU JR East E653 series, which was exhibited in Uchihara Rail Yard for the event of "Mito Railway Communication Day".

The E653 series was commissioned in 1997 to replace the previous 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. There were five body colors, namely scarlet, blue, yellow, green and orange. It varies with the variety of train sets. They had being operated as limited express, "Fresh-Hitachi" on the Joban Line until March 15th, 2013.

The E653 was, then, retired from regular trains on the Joban Line. Most units have been moved to the Niigata area. The E653's remaining field of performance in the Tokyo metropolitan area is only as special trains, such as a sightseeing train to Kamakura. It means that the E653 has become a rare train to be chased by rail fans. I enjoyed a long-awaited reunion with the old Fresh-Hitachi in Uchihara Rail Yard. The silver metallic body with an orange colored stripe was shining brilliantly on the track.

Along with the 651 and the E657 series, the frontal mask of the E653 looks like a capybara. It is cute; but, I don't know why the limited express trains on the Joban Line have traditionally looked like capybaras.

Close up of the EMU JR east E653 series