Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Wakashio: The Peninsula Express on the Sotobo Line

EMU JR East E257-500 series, limited express "Wakashio" travels on the Keiyo Line

Boso is a large peninsula in Chiba Prefecture, east of Tokyo. It is situated between the Pacific Ocean and Tokyo Bay. Along with Izu, Boso Peninsula is a famous resort area for enjoying marine activities.

To get to this peninsula resort, there are three access routes. Firstly, you can take a highway bus operated via Trans-Tokyo Bay Highway. Passing through a submarine tunnel (9.6km) and a bridge (4.4km), it takes one hour to get from Tokyo to Kisarazu, a western gateway city to the peninsula. Secondly, you can take a JR East Uchibo Line train. The limited express Sazanami (ripples) is the representative train to the western side of the peninsula. It also takes one hour from Tokyo to Kisarazu going around the coast of the bay. Thirdly, you can take a JR East Sotobo Line train to the eastern side of the peninsula. The limited express, Wakashio (transitional tide between spring and neap tides), is the representative train. It is operated between Tokyo on the Keiyo Line and Awa-Kamogawa on the Sotobo Line.

Currently, the main carrier of Wakashio limited express trains is the EMU E257-500 series. It was launched in 2004, replacing the old trains the EMU 183 and 189 series. The blue, white and yellow, three-toned body is very vivid. The blue stands for the ocean, the white stands for the beach and the yellow stands for the canola flowers in Chiba Prefecture. It is operated as a 5-car or a 10-car train depending on each time zone.

Limited express train, "Wakashio", arrives at Awa-Kamogawa Station on the Sotobo Line