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International Railroad Discussion > Green Shinkansen

Date: 01/08/23 02:51
Green Shinkansen
Author: cchan006

Here's another unique train I ran into while chasing a freight train recently.

2022 has been an anniversary year for railroading in Japan. Besides being the 150th anniversary of railroading, it was the 40th anniversary of the start of revenue service for the northern extensions of the Shinkansen service, the Tohoku and Joetsu Shinkansen Lines.

When service started in 1982, the new Shinkansen Lines terminated in Omiya, 30.3 km (about 19 miles) north of Tokyo Station, disconnected from the original Tokaido Shinkansen that has been in service for 18 years already. In 1985, the extension to Ueno was completed to take these lines closer to Tokyo, and in 1991, the service to Tokyo Station started.

Due to Japan's non-uniform electric transmission standards (50 vs. 60 Hz), through service between Tokaido and Tohoku/Joetstu Shinkansen Lines at Tokyo was not planned. Interesting that when the newer Nagano/Hokuriku Shinkansen Line had to cross the 50/60 Hz boundaries elsewhere, dual frequency capable train sets had to be built.

In 1982, Tohoku and Joestu Shinkansen used the Class 200 train sets, similiar in appearance to the original Class 0 on the Tokaido Shinkansen. Tohoku/Joetsu trains were beige with green stripes, in contrast with Tokaido's beige with blue stripes. The beige/green livery eventually went away and the trains became much more colorful in recent years.

Class 200s were retired in 2013, so none was available to celebrate the 150/40 anniversaries in 2022. Instead, East Japan Railway (JR East) decided to repaint a Class E2 set into Class 200's original beige/green livery. E2s are being replaced with E5s and E7s, so railfan gossip says that the green E2 will stay that way until retirement. We'll see.

- 40th Anniversary green/beige E2 at Tokyo Station.
- From left to right, E5, and E2 coupled to E3.
- Video of green/beige E2 + E3 departing Tokyo.

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Date: 01/08/23 09:46
Re: Green Shinkansen
Author: King_Coal

Fun to see these trains. Thanks for sharing your experience.

Date: 01/08/23 10:26
Re: Green Shinkansen
Author: cchan006

How was I able to document the Green Shinkansen? By accident (luck).

As with the Black Yamanote Line E235 EMU, I was aware of the 40th Anniversary Shinkansen by reading Japan's railfan media. I was going to forego documenting it, as it was my last day in Japan, and I was looking for "the last train before my flight home."

Technically, it was the last freight train before my flight home - instead of chasing trains in a rental car whenever I visit SoCal, I still had to ride trains to get to the airport.

It wasn't planned that way, as I wanted to joyride randomly not too far from Tokyo... until I saw on JR Freight's web site that #3086 was delayed 6+ hours due to weather.

Here was my chance to document my favorite Shinjuku-running freight train in daylight where it'd normally run in the dark.

My JR Rail Pass was still valid, so again, I looked to ride a Shinkansen train north to intercept the #3086. There was an one-hour delayed Yamagata Shinkanen (uncoupled E3 set) about to depart in 3 minutes when I arrived in Tokyo, so I hopped on that, and hoped the conductor would allow me to sit in an empty seat, which he did when I showed my JR Rail Pass. The train had no unreserved section, all reserved seats.

The train I was riding met the Green Shinkansen going south, just as it was passing the Railroad Museum in Omiya. I told myself, bummer, I won't be able to catch it today.

As I rode north and checked the hourly updates for delays, #3086 was now 7+ hours late. So I detrained in Utsunomiya (68 miles from Tokyo), did food tourism, then hopped on the next available Shinkansen and detrained at Koriyama (141 miles from Tokyo) for the intercept.

A southbound freight train showed up within minutes, the video I'm posting here. Unfortunately, I was not sure if it was JR Freight #3058 running on time, or the delayed #3086. Whatever it was, the train makeup was similar to #3086 with almost all 12' containers with one domestic 20' container ("Freight Liner") near the rear. My guess is that it was the #3058 (not delayed according to the hourly updates) and #3086 was running behind it.

I went back to the Shinkansen platform to return to Tokyo, to catch my flight out of Haneda. I was unprepared for the Green Shinkansen being my ride, so I didn't document it there as my camcorder was in the backpack. While I was doing food tourism in Utsunomiya, it must have turned around at Tokyo, headed north past me, and was heading back south when I was at Koriyama.

I spotted a good number of railfans at Omiya Station platform, documenting the Green Shinkansen. I was joined by a few after I detrained at Tokyo.

That's it for the report.

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Date: 01/08/23 14:16
Re: Green Shinkansen
Author: 55002

Thanks for these. I've had one railfan trip in Japan and was blown away! Chris uk.

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