Saturday, 16 May 2015

Winsome Swallow on the Kyushu Shinkansen

EMU JR Kyushu 800 series arrives at Kagoshima-chuo Station on the Kyushu Shinkansen
Tsubame (swallow) is a famous bird in Japan. Farmers have been treasuring it, as a swallow eats pests in rice paddies. We can see many swallow nests in the countryside this season.

Tsubame is also famous as a train. It was launched in 1930 on the Tokaido Main Line by Japanese Government Railway. This super-express train linked Tokyo with Osaka in 8 hours 20 minutes. It was composed of a steam locomotive and seven passenger coaches. In 1960, Tsubame was replaced by the EMU 151 series by Japanese National Railways. The new Tsubame train linked Tokyo with Osaka in 6 hours 30 minutes. After inauguration of the Tokaido Shinkansen, Tsubame moved to the western part of Japan, such as the Sanyo and the Kagoshima Main Line. Various kinds of EMUs, such as the 481 and the 787 series, had been comissioned for Tsubame limited express.

In 2004, Tsubame was moved again to the newly opened Kyushu Shinkansen. Currently, it is operated between Hakata and Kagoshima-chuo using the EMU JR Kyushu 800 series. The 800 series is a 6-car train with a maximum speed of 260 km/hour.

I like the 800 series, since the design is not only cool but also winsome. Specifically, its two frontal lights are lovely. According to JR Kyushu, this model was designed for children, who will take over the future world. It means that the best angle to see this train is looking from the height of 1 meter. That's a good idea! I like it.

Front view of the EMU 800 series, super-express "Tsubame (Swallow)"
More information about the EMU JR Kyushu 800 series on the Kyushu Shinkansen: