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miyakoji

Two of JR East's observation cars, SUROFU 14-701 and 14-702, were moved to Nagano Depot on July 7 for scrapping.

These cars started life in 1974 as SUHAFU 14-53 and -57.  53 was built by Niigata Tekkyo, 57 by Fuji Heavy Industries.  In 1983 they were modified into a European-style joyful train called the Salon Express Tokyo with observation, compartment, and lounge areas.  They were reclassified as SUROFU 14-700 series.  The full formation was 7 cars with 5 ORO 14s as intermediate cars.

They were modified again in 1997; the compartment and lounge areas were removed and replaced with Japanese-style furnishings, tatami mats and kotatsu tables with lowered floors below (hori kotatsu).  It was called the Yutori, which I think means 'pressure free' or something to that effect.  It became a 6-car formation and was used until 2008.  They were last stored at Oku Depot.

SUROFU 14-701 was car 1 in the formation, -702 car 6 (or 7 during the Salon Express era).  During the first modification, -702 got computer controlled lighting allow for various in-car moods :).  It also had a video camera and some kind of karaoke system (and presumably somewhere to stow the requisite alcohol).

After becoming the Yutori, seven swivel chairs existed in the observation areas, they're visible in some of the videos below.  As I understand it, all lounge areas and compartments throughout the formation were removed and replaced with the tatami mats and hori kotatsu tables.

The intermediate cars were ORO 14 series, -701 through -705, originally OHA 14s.  In the Salon Express Tokyo formation they were all compartment cars with a capacity of 30 passengers each.  Excepting -702, these were scrapped in 2008.  When it became the Yutori, -702 was reassigned to Niigata, modified to be a lobby/lounge car, and renumbered OHA 14-1702.  It was scrapped in 2002.

Tetsudou Fan news item: http://railf.jp/news/2015/07/08/140000.html
Hobidas news item: http://rail.hobidas.com/rmn/archives/2015/07/jr14_14.html
Japanese Wikipedia entry for Salon Express Tokyo and Yutori: https://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E3%82%B5%E3%83%AD%E3%83%B3%E3%82%A8%E3%82%AF%E3%82%B9%E3%83%97%E3%83%AC%E3%82%B9%E6%9D%B1%E4%BA%AC
blog entry about the move: http://blogs.yahoo.co.jp/kiha58okukuzitokiwa/12137833.html
Japanese Wikipedia entry for 14 series passenger cars: https://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E5%9B%BD%E9%89%8414%E7%B3%BB%E5%AE%A2%E8%BB%8A
Previous JNS Forum thread about sister formation with JR West, Salon Car Naniwa: http://www.jnsforum.com/community/topic/9513-what-train-is-this
of actual interest to forum members [ :grin] Kato item 10-250: http://www.katomodels.com/n/14kei/

at Oku and Omiya, by tobu8111F:

 

some detail visible at Hachioji, by powerskyaccess.  Railfans out in force:

 

more detail at Shiojiri, by ya1964ma:

 

moving around Nagano with KUMOYUNI 143-3 as locomotive, by hyama5071

 

interior shots, maybe at a depot open day, by 東雲ちの(苺餅地域鉄道部)(can't translate this):

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Sacto1985

Do these two rail cars require being pulled by a locomotive? If so, that explains why they're being scrapped.

 

If I remember correctly, Joyful Train excursion trainsets are usually based on EMU's or DMU's nowadays (I know a lot of 485 Series EMU's were rebuilt into Joyful Train units).

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miyakoji

Yes, they're just unpowered passenger cars.  In the videos you can see engines mounted to the undercarriages, these were for generators.

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