New Yamagata Shinkansen E8 Series debut – A E3 Series train will be repainted in silver

JR East will introduce a new train “E8 Series” that will start commercial operation on the Yamagata Shinkansen from the spring of 2024, and will conduct trial runs for about one year.

Exterior design of the JR East E8 Series scheduled to start commercial operation on the Yamagata and Tohoku Shinkansen in the spring of 2024 (Imge by JR East)
Exterior design of the JR East E8 Series scheduled to start commercial operation on the Yamagata and Tohoku Shinkansen in the spring of 2024 (Imge by JR East)

Realized 300km/h run with 3m long “nose”

The E8 Series is based on the concept of “a train that weaves a rich climate and heart.” It inherits the image of the Yamagata Shinkansen, which is rooted in the region, and has a more mature design. Starting from the upper part of the train body, the colors of “Oshidori (mandarin duck) Purple”, “Safflower Yellow” and “Zao Bianco” are applied to represent the climate of Yamagata.

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The length of the head part is 9m, which is 3m longer than the current Yamagata Shinkansen E3 Series, and it has a more evolved arrow line. The maximum operating speed of the E8 Series will be increased from 275km/h for the E3 Series, and it will be possible to run at 300km/h in the Shinkansen section. They aim to shorten the required time by performing combined operation with the E5 series and fully demonstrating the performance between Utsunomiya and Fukushima on the Tohoku Shinkansen, which allows to run at 300 km/h.

By the way, the Akita Shinkansen E6 Series, which can travel 320km/h, has a longer head length of 13m, and there seems to be a correlation between the length of the “nose” and the maximum speed based on fluid dynamics.

The interior design is also ingenious, and you can feel the connection with the climate of Yamagata while riding, such as the cabin passage decolated with a pattern of the flow of the Mogami River.

All seats, including ordinary cars, are equipped with electrical outlets, and all cars are equipped with large luggage storage areas to meet the diversification of travel needs. In addition, wheelchair space will be added to enhance accessible support. In addition, considering that the conventional line section is in a snowy cold region, transportation stability is improved by installing a heater on the bogie to prevent snow from accumulating on the body.

The design of the E8 Series was supervised by KEN OKUYAMA DESIGN (Shibuya-ku, Tokyo) represented by industrial designer Kiyoyuki Okuyama, who was born in Yamagata City, and the manufacturer Kawasaki Sharyo (Head Office: Kobe City) was in charge of the design.

In addition, since the existing E3 series was originally introduced for the Akita Shinkansen, the E8 series is the first new model in about 30 years since the 400 series introduced in 1992 when the Yamagata Shinkansen opened (See the chart below for details such as the interior design of the E8 Series).

JR East starts the test run of Yamagata Shinkansen “E8 Series”

The E3 Series reprints the old painting

According to reports such as Kahoku Shimpo, the first E8 Series rolling stocks was transported by ship from Kobe port and arrived at Sendai Shiogama port on the morning of January 29, 2023 (Sun). After that, it will be transported by land to the Shinkansen General Rolling Stock Center in Rifu, Miyagi. From the end of February, test runs will begin for the purpose of confirming vehicle performance.

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On the other hand, one of the existing E3 Series “Tsubasa” trains will start driving in a nostalgic “silver color”. It recreates the atmosphere of the time when the Yamagata Shinkansen E3 Series debuted, and it will be the first reprint in about 6 and a half years since the paint color was unified to express “Oshidori” in October 2016.

The first silver-colored E3 train will be the inbound “Tsubasa 138”, which departs from Yamagata Station at 10:57 on February 11, 2023 (Sat/holiday). On the day of the train departure, a commemorative ceremony will be held in which the mayor of Yamagata City and the chairman of the Yamagata Landlady’s Association will attend. In 2023, attention is likely to be focused on the Yamagata Shinkansen, where two trains compete. One is the next-generation E8 series, which will start trial operation, and the other is the silver color “Tsubasa” that inherits the image of the 400 series.