Sunday, 9 June 2019

Good-bye to the Sobu 209-500 Series Trains

Set C505 of the EMU JR East 209-500 series stands at Ochanomizu sta. (December, 2015)

Metropolitans are busy every day. They go to their offices or schools every day taking commuter lines, but they don't realize that the train has undergone changes. On April 19th, one group of the trains quietly disappeared from the track in Tokyo. It was the EMU 209-500 series on the JR East Sobu line.

The EMU 209-500 series is JR East's first commuter train with widened bodies. It was launched on the Sobu line (the Sobu-Chuo local line) in 1999. A total of 17 sets, 170 units, were operated on the line, but most of the 209-500 series trains had already retired from the Sobu line, and moved to the other local lines to spend their second lives. Eventually, the final set was retired from the Sobu line on April 19th.

Who is the successor of the 209-500 series? It is the E231-500 series from the Yamanote line. It is a bit of a complicated story. In 2015, JR East launched a new commuter train model, the E235 series, on the Yamanote line. The introduction of the new model caused JR East to make train transfers one after another. Firstly, the E231-500 series on the Yamanote line was transferred to the Sobu line. Secondly, the EMU 209-500 series on the Sobu line was transferred to the Musashino and the other local lines. Finally, the 205 series on the Musashino line will be transferred to Jakarta, Indonesia to spend a second life.

The volkerwanderung continues for the time being.

Close up of set C505 of the EMU JR East 209-500 series (December, 2015)