JR Hokkaido will end regular operation of the diesel limited express trains “Kiha 183 series” on March 17, 2023 (Fri), and after that, will carry out final-run operation as extra trains and group trains until April.
The final runs to Hakodate, Wakkanai and Abashiri
The KIHA 183 series, which made its debut in 1986 and has been active as limited express trains in various routes of Hokkaido, is currently used for the limited express trains “OKHOTSK” and “TAISETSU” on the Sekihoku Line. It has been decided that this regular service will end on March 17, 2023 (Fri), the day before the timetable revision, and there are only a few left to see these train cars that has been running for 36 years.
Since December 2021, JR Hokkaido has been developing a campaign “Shine now! Northern KIHA 183” that focuses on the KIHA 183 series, which has become the oldest active limited express rolling stocks in Hokkaido. As the final 5th event, last run operation will be held in various routes of Hokkaido from March to April 2023 after the regular operation ends so that you can enjoy the last ride.
The first run of the final series will be on March 25, 2023 (Sat), and will be operated from Sapporo to Hakodate via the Muroran Line as a limited express “KIHA 183 HOKUTO”. On the next day, 26 (Sun), the name of the train will change to the limited express “KIHA 183 NISEKO” departing from Hakodate, and will run to Sapporo via Niseko on the Hakodate Line, commonly known as the “Mountain Line”.
In April 2023, on 1 (Sat) and 2 (Sun), the limited express “KIHA 183 SAROBETSU” heading for the Soya Line will make one round trip between Sapporo and Wakkanai in two days. On April 9 (Sun) and 10 (Mon), the last day of the final runs, the limited express “KIHA 183 OKHOTSK” will make one round trip between Sapporo and Abashiri in two days (See the chart below for details such as the timetable of the final runs of KIHA 183 series).
“North Rainbow Express” will also retire
The KIHA 183 series 5-car train will be used for the final runs, and reserved seats will be sold at JR stations nationwide. Cars 1 and 2 are scheduled to be connected with rolling stocks that have been repainted to reproduce the appearance at the time of debut. In addition, on the last operation day to Abashiri, the final run will be decorated with a special formation that incorporates three Green Cars in the middle. On each driving day, a “boarding certificate” with a different design will be presented to passengers.
In addition, KIHA 183 series trains will be chartered by some travel agencies for two days on April 7 (Fri) and 8 (Sat), 2023, and will travel back and forth between Sapporo and Hakodate on different routes. Also on these days, the trains will be operated by a special formation of 3 Green Cars.
As the KIHA 183 series resort train specification “North Rainbow Express” is about to retire, it is scheduled to be operated as a group charter train for the final run.