Saturday, March 19, 2016

Sayonara Super-swan, the Inter-island Express

EMU JR Hokkaido 789 series, Super-Hakucho stands at Hakodate Station

It is mid-March already. Time really flies. March is a season of new timetables. Many railway companies change their timetables during this month. JR Hokkaido is no exception. According to their press release, the timetable will be changed on 26th March. The main topic is the inauguration of the Hokkaido Shinkansen between Shin-Aomori on Honshu Island and Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto on Hokkaido Island. The route of the Hokkaido Shinkansen is partially shared with the existing Tsugaru Kaikyo Line (Seikan Undersea Tunnel). Corresponding to the inauguration of Hokkaido Shinkansen, the limited express train, Super-Hakucho (Super-swan) on the Tsugaru Kaikyo Line, will be replaced by the Hokkaido Shinkansen train.

Super-Hakucho, EMU JR Hokkaido 789 series, was launched in 2002 as a 20,000 V and 50 Hz alternate current train. The light green colored body is very vivid. It takes a little over two hours from Shin-Aomori on Honshu Island to Hakodate Terminal on Hokkaido Island. The highlight of the train journey by Super-Hakucho is passing through the Seikan Undersea Tunnel, which lies between Honshu and Hokkaido islands. The total length is 53.85 km. It was completed in 1988, and had been the world's longest tunnel until 2010, when the Gotthard-Basis Tunnel penetrated through the Alps in Switzerland. The Super-Hakucho passes through this thick darkness in only 24 minutes with a maximum speed of 140 km per hour.

The last run of Super-Hakucho is planned on 21st March. Sayonara (good-bye) and arigato (thank you) to Super-swan, the inter-island express.

An illustration of Seikan Subsea Tunnel is posted in Super-Hakucho

Official information about Hokkaido Shinkansen:
Official movie of Hokkaido Shinkansen (in Japanese):