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Joetsu Shinkansen Upgrade / E4 Series retirement

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Work began in May on the Joetsu Shinkansen increasing operating speeds from 240km/h to 275km/h.    With this upgrade E7 Shinkansen operate all Joetsu Shinkansen services will replace the double-deck E4 Shinkansen by the end of 2022





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If they start assigning the E7 train set between Tokyo and Niigata, it's likely the top speed between Omiya and Takasaki Stations will be limited to 260 km/h.

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E7s already travel Omiya to Takasaki section. And are limited to E4 top speed. So this will increase the top speed for said section.

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Also note that the E2 series currently runs on the Joetsu Shinkansen as well. JR East's plan is to have the complete Joetsu Shinkansen fleet unified to E7 series by 2022, so that means the end for both the E4 and E2 series on this line.

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I don't think this has been posted on JNS already, has it? The E7 Series formations for the Joetsu Shinkansen will receive an alternative livery, albeit being nothing more than just an added pink stripe and alternative logo.


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The logo looks interesting though... it's a splash of some sort?  The pink line grows on me... interesting ~

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5 hours ago, JR 500系 said:

The logo looks interesting though... it's a splash of some sort?  The pink line grows on me... interesting ~

The logo looks like it is based off the feathers of the crested ibis, which is what the Toki is named after. But I am not entirely sure though...

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JR East has released a short, but sweet, CM as part of the last run campaign for the E4 series:



With the March 2021 timetable revision, the number of E4 services has decreased to a point at which they need only about 7 formations to keep everything running smoothly.


As mentioned in the article posted by @Yavianice, those 7 formations, which are intended to remain in service until the very end, are to receive the mentioned commemorative wrapping.

As of the beginning of this month, this process has apparently been completed, with the following formations receiving the wrapping:


- P11~P14

- P17

- P52

- P82


Not surprisingly, the two formations which went through another general inspection (life extension as a result of the typhoon 19 mess), formations P17 and P52 are part of the group which will likely soldier on until the very end.


This means the following formations will likely be retired sometime in the near future:


- P20~P22


Since the beginning of 2021 the following 3 formations have been retired and scrapped:


- P18, in February

- P19 In March

- P81 (the second to last E4 series formation to be completed in 2003), also in March.



Formation P81 near the end of its final journey. Note the lack of headrest covers, this is usually done when a train is (administratively) scrapped.


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18 hours ago, 200系 said:




Formation P81 near the end of its final journey. Note the lack of headrest covers, this is usually done when a train is (administratively) scrapped.



Do you mean on by pausing the video at 1:20? Wow! That's some attention to detail. 


I'm really impressed by this gesture. I love the sense of ceremony. 

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Found this really interesting video about the E4 Max:



Seems like a Arigato tribute video to the Max E4, first part of 2... Really interesting i didnt know there is a jump seat on board the E4!


*I really want the Mask  😛

Edited by JR 500系
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A couple of hours ago, at 23:08 JST, with Max Tanigawa 416 arriving at Tōkyō station, the era of (scheduled) double decks shinkansen services has ended.

Though the day started with heavy rain, courtesy of typhoon no. 16, in the end the last day of scheduled services for the E4 series seems to have gone by without a hitch.





Though the E4 series has officially retired from service, there will be 4 additional (chartered) trains later this month:



The E4 series will once again return to the Shinkansen she was actually designed for, the Tōhoku shinkansen:



-> On the 9th of October she will be running as Thank You Max Toki & Yamabiko, departing Niigata at 09:29 JST and arriving at Morioka (via Ōmiya) at 13:58.

-> The same train will return to Niigata the next day, on October 10, via the same routing, departing Morioka at 10:04 and arriving back at Niigata at 14:08


A week later there will be two more runs, out and back, which will serve as the definitive Last Run for the E4 series:


-> Thank you Max Toki, on the 16th of October, departing from Niigata at 09:29 and arriving at Tōkyō at 11:32.

-> The final run will be another Max Toki, departing Tōkyō at 11:44, while arriving at Niigata at 13:54




Anyway that will be all, this time I actually managed to keep everything within a reasonable number of words for now,  guess keeping track of, and enjoying, the different livestreams covering the final services today (Yesterday), as well as the different webcams in Tōkyō, has tired me out to the point that I'm able to keep it short... It does feel kind of special though to experience such an event, even though I of course wasn't able to experience it in person, even when on the other end of the planet, well worth the fatigue as well as the melancholy accompanying it.

Edited by 200系
added additional news footage
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I wish they would run it with an E6 for realsies and not just for 100 meters. I think it’s one of the best combos there is.


o well. Gonna miss the E4

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A while back I promised the Squidlet to take him on one of these, alas by the time I remembered they were disappearing, the delta variant / state of emergency was in full swing and while it would have been legally possible, I prefer to avoid unnecessary rusk.

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Really gonna miss this big guy.... Glad i was able to ride on one of them before it retired....  


*Gonna love the E4 mask and the bento though ~~ wish to get one of those! 


So touching to see one of the female rail fans shed tears.... amazing feeling the trains give us...

Edited by JR 500系
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I am a pretty big fan of the E4 and it was my first step into Japanese model railways. I also saw one being jacked up and having bogies replaced at an open day in the north, towards Sendai.

Great to be on the top deck so you could see the yards after passing the Ueno area. Seats were a bit cramped compared with Tokaido/Sanyo bullets but still fun to ride for either the added height or watching platforms whizz by at eye level on the lower deck.

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An headcar of the E4 is preserved in the Niitsu Railway Museum and an headcar of the E1 is preserved in the Saitama Railway Museum, so while we cannot travel the Max anymore we can thankfully still see them for many years to come.

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