Japan Railway & Transport Review No. 45 (pp.2–4 & 52–55)


Japanese Shinkansen

The first shinkansen, Series 0, for the Tokaido Shinkansen entered revenue service between Tokyo and Shin-Osaka on 1 October 1964. It ran at more than 200 km/h and was called ‘dream super express’. Since then, the JR group of companies has operated shinkansen in safety without a single passenger fatality. The newest shinkansen is the Series N700 which entered revenue service on the Tokaido and San’yo shinkansen on 1 July 2007.

JR East: JR Central: JR West: JR Kyushu:

Series 0 (1964) (JR Central: JR West:)

The First shinkansen, Series 0, for Tokaido Shinkansen between Tokyo and Shin-Osaka opened in 1964.

Series 100 (1985) (JR Central: JR West:)

Series 100 for Tokaido and San’yo shinkansen between Shin-Osaka and Hakata opened in 1985 about 20 years after the Series 0 entered operations.

Series 200 (1982) (JR East:)

Series 200 for Tohoku and Joetsu shinkansen with snowplow and entirely covered under-floor equipment.

Series 300 (1992) (JR Central: JR West:)

Series 300 for Nozomi service on Tokaido and San’yo shinkansen with speed up to 270 km/h.

Series 400 (1992) (JR East:)

Series 400 mini-shinkansen with shorter (20 m) body for Yamagata-bound Tsubasa services.

Series 500 (1997) (JR West:)

Series 500 developed for Japan’s first 300-km/h operation on San’yo Shinkansen.

Series 700 (1997) (JR Central: JR West:)

Series 700 for Tokaido and San’yo shinkansen to succeed Series 300 Nozomi services.

Series 700 Rail Star (2000) (JR West:)

Series 700 Rail Star for Hikari service on San’yo Shinkansen between Shin-Osaka and Hakata modified from Series 700 as 8 car train set.

Series N700 (2007) (JR Central: JR West:)

Newest shinkansen, Series N700, on Tokaido and San’yo shinkansen with upgraded features jointly developed by JR Central and JR West entered service on 1 July 2007.

Series 800 (2004) (JR Kyushu:)

Series 800 for Tsubame services on Kyushu Shinkansen between Kagoshima-Chuo and Shin-Yatsushiro.

Series E1 (1994) (JR East:)

All-double-decker Series Max E1 for both commuter and long-distance intercity services on Tohoku and Joetsu shinkansen.

Series E2 (1997) (JR East:)

Series E2 for Asama services on Nagano Shinkansen and faster Yamabiko services (max. 275 km/h) on Tohoku Shinkansen.

Series E2 Hayate (2002) (JR East:)

Series E2 for Hayate services on Tohoku Shinkansen between Tokyo and Hachinohe.

Series E3 (1997) (JR East:)

Series E3 mini-shinkansen for Komachi services (max. 130 km/h) on Akita Shinkansen between Akita and Morioka directly connected to Tohoku Shinkansen with speed up to 275 km/h.

Series E4 (1997) (JR East:)

All-double-decker Series Max E4 with increased seating capacity for Tokyo commuters from north of Tokyo.

Nearing Opening of The Railway Museum in Saitama City, Japan

The Railway Museum in Saitama City, Japan, is a main project commemorating the 20th anniversary of the establishment of JR East.  The new construction and museum operation are the responsibility of East Japan Railway Culture Foundation (EJRCF) and have already been previewed in JRTR 43/44.  In this issue, we report on how the museum construction and preparation of the exhibits are progressing in the run-up to the public opening on 14 October 2007.

Building Construction

Construction of the museum building started in autumn 2005.  Work progressed smoothly, with the roof-raising ceremony celebrating completion of the framework in September 2006.  Facilities to house important cultural assets and other exhibits requiring careful storage were completed first in spring 2007.  The railway lines for rolling-stock exhibits were also finished at the same time.  The turntable centrepiece of the History Zone (provisional name) was installed in May 2007.
Due consideration has been given to environmental issues.For example,a photovoltaic system is used to meet some power requirements for moving exhibits.Trees and greenery have also been planted on the roof along with other measures to control the indoor temperature with the aim of reducing energy consumption by the air conditioning.

Photo: The Railway Museum building approaching completion
Photo: The turntable centrepiece of the History Zone

Rolling Stock Displays

The 36 items of rolling stock to be displayed at The Railway Museum have been in store at various yards following decommissioning from service.  From March 2005, these rolling stock were moved to eight JR East and JR Freight workshops for restoration and maintenance.  Every effort has been made to restore them to the exact same conditions as in their heyday, emphasizing their technical characteristics.  However, when there was not enough technical data from when a train was operating, or when it was difficult to acquire the necessary parts for complete restoration, the focus has been left on the condition at the time of removal from service, even if modifications had been made.  To give visitors an idea of the work involved in restoration, work on the Hanifu 1 carriage (D963 series electric train) will start after the museum opens.
Of all the rolling stock scheduled to go on display, the First and Second Imperial Carriages required the most care.  Cleaning and restoration was performed by the Association for Conservation of National Treasures with guidance from the Agency for Cultural Affairs.  A pneumatic air caster system developed by Nippon Express was used to transport the First and Second Imperial Carriages to avoid subjecting them to mechanical shock.
Movement of restored trains on operational lines to The Railway Museum started in April 2007 and many railway fans turned up to photograph them.

Photo: Removal of wrapped First Imperial Carriage from Transportation Museum
Photo: JR East locomotive hauling rolling stock to The Railway Museum
Photo: Air-conditioned and fire-controlled Imperial Carriage exhibit
Photo: Inside fully restored Kiha 41000 carriage


Exhibits at The Railway Museum are designed to allow visitors to learn about railway technologies through hands-on experience.  In the History Zone, scenes from stations and rolling stock yards have been reconstructed so visitors can get a feel for contemporary society and the role of railways at the time.  Scenes have been constructed using authentic materials and period construction methods whenever possible.  In particular, a skilled riveter was employed to erect a steel platform hut using techniques that have nearly disappeared from Japan.  The Learning Zone features a large number of exhibits designed to familiarize children with scientific principles applied to railway technologies through hands-on experiments.  Each exhibit was subjected to repeated experiments to evaluate whether the intended objectives have been met.  As a result, specifications for a number of hands-on exhibits were changed midway through construction.
Other attractions are being constructed at specialist plants and are scheduled to be brought to the museum in July 2007, exactly on time.

Photo: Constructing largest HO-gauge model railway diorama in Japan
Photo: Mini-train for children to drive and learn about train control systems

Other Attractions

Around 400,000 items from the collection at the former Transportation Museum are currently being sorted, packed and fumigated or otherwise cleaned when necessary.  Since many items from the Transportation Museum had never been sorted or documented, 2 years were spent cataloguing them all to prevent loss or misplacement during the move.
The Railway Museum will have two restaurants and a museum shop that will play an important role in the museum’s reputation and standing.  As a result, detailed discussions have been held with tenants regarding issues, such as development and selection of products, pricing, and store interiors.

Photo: Completed storeroom for collections

Last Few Months Before Opening

Construction finished in July 2007 with all exhibits and collections delivered in August.  Operational staff training commenced in August with recruitment for part-time support staff starting in May.  Related parties will be invited to private viewings and receptions in October before the Museum opens to the public on Railway Day—14 October 2007.

The Railway Museum Details:
Location: Omiya Ward, Saitama City, Saitama Prefecture (about 30 km north of Tokyo)
Size: Site area approx. 41,600㎡, total museum floor area 28,200㎡, area of exhibits 9,600㎡
Total project cost: approx. ¥12.4 billion
Opening: 14 October 2007 (Railway Day—anniversary of first railway operation in Japan)
URL: http://www.railway-museum.jp