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What Is Your Favorite Shinkansen?


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railsquid

That's the one, the フリーゲージトレイン ("free gauge train").

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Martijn Meerts

I think the 800 used to be my favourite, also because it was the first Japanese model train I ever bought. I still really like, it has a nice shape, and I love the colour combination.

 

However, since my interest has started shifting more towards older JNR stuff, I guess my favourite would be the 0 series.

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Kamome

Yes the Nagasaki dual gauge train was abandoned due to the projected high and frequent maintenance costs. The red and gold prototype looked pretty cool but the Nagasaki connection is back underway with standard gauge track.

 

Back to topic, I’ve always been a bigger fan of the Tohoku Shinkansens more than the Tokaido Sanyo purely for the variety of colours and designs.

The first shinkansen i rode was an E2 to Nagano when i first moved to Japan in 2005. A year later i remember going on the 500 Nozomi from Tokyo to Kyoto and thinking how futuristic it was. The 700 will always be an image of modern Japan for me. I never really liked the 300. Travelling further west in those days i do remember seeing 6 car 0系 sets of which i knew from Super Trains Top Trumps as well as 4 car 100系 sets in that grey and lime green livery. Probably didn’t appreciate the gravity of seeing them in their last few years at the time.

 But the E5 in 2011, delayed its debut due to the Tsunami but what a design. Like nothing else.

 

Favourites

 

200系 (for looking like it could clear snow without effort)

E4系 (for trying to make a bus look sporty and kind of succeeding)

E5系 (for rewriting the design book)

700系 ( for being an icon of modern Japan)

500系 (that bubble canopy and before it got its wings clipped on the Kodama service)

 

Least favourite

 

E1系 (horrible initial livery and cheese wedge nose)

300系 (Just looked lazy to me and i first saw after 700 had started so seemed ugly and obsolete)

N700-8000 or A/S (yawn!)

 

 

 

 

 

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nah00

When I started out in Japanese N scale I originally had zero interest in Shinkansen since I've been a freight modeler most of my life and passenger trains were never my thing. My first one was an E7 Hokuriko Shinkansen, originally I was only going to get the three car add-on but I thought it looked too short and I bought the other six cars. I've tried to keep my collection limited to JR East but we all know how well that works...

 

Favorites of the top of my head:

E3

400 Series 

E6 

(my Mini-Shinkansen bias is clear)

200 Series

 

Least favorites:

300 Series (looks like it was in an accident)

500 Series (too pointy)

700 Series (solely for the really boring paint jobs on them, the Hikari Rail Star is an example of a better scheme in my opinion)

 

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tossedman
Posted (edited)

I’ve got a soft spot for the 100 Series as this the the type I rode on many times when I lived in Japan way back in 1989-90. My favourite model of the Shinkansen would have to be the 16 car 0 Series B Train Shorty. I just love the way it snakes around corners. We’ve got a few Kato Shinkansens of various vintages but the B Train is my favourite by far. 

Edited by tossedman
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HankyuDentetsu

What a great thread, and a fantastic opening post from 200系!

 

I love that there are no wrong answers here - because it's true. We all find beauty in different things, and there is so much to be found here!

 

The 500 series was my gateway into Japanese rail, and so it'll always be top of my list. But nostalgia aside, it represented the pinnacle of Japanese engineering at the time, and it's brutal and aggressive form will always win it for me. If you were to pull every shinkansen into a line-up and ask people which one looked the most futuristic, they'd still pick the 500 despite it's age. It's the Concorde of Shinkansen - over-engineered, complex to maintain, and expensive to run... but just look at the thing. Love it, and getting to check out the drivers cab of one in the Kyoto railway museum a while back was a true highlight.

 

Runners up go to the 700 series in Hikari Rail Star guise (much more entertaining to look at than the standard 700, and always appreciated the extra space inside from the 2x2 seating), and the E/W7 series. Probably some eyes rolling at the E/W7 nomination - it's one of the most generic looking Shinkansen, but there's a simplicity and elegance to it which I can't ignore. It's also a fantastically smooth train to ride, and it goes to places I like 😄 

 

Not really a massive fan of the Tohoku lines, other than the Max which is a true beast of a machine. The rest are all a bit bland/just not quite right - the E5/6 which ain't pretty from most angles. Out of those two? E6 every time. One half of the Alfa-X is looking tasty though.

 

I love the odd relationship most of us seem to have with the 300 - it is easily my least favourite series. But there's something so 90s about it that part of me is almost starting to come round. Like, I still hate it, but I also feel a weird, misplaced affection for it at the same time. It's the odd one out, the ugly duckling, the middle child, etc etc... it'll go down in history as the one of the Shinkansen most will never remember, and for that reason there's a weird charm to it. Also, it looks like a bit like a Cylon. I think I need to lay off the beer.

 

Brilliant thread folks.

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Kyouhei

I remember reading about the Tokaido Shinkansen in a book about trains of the world when I was young, and I still think the 0 series (and by turn its Tohoku sister, the 200 series) is a timeless design. 

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gavino200
5 hours ago, Kyouhei said:

I remember reading about the Tokaido Shinkansen in a book about trains of the world when I was young, and I still think the 0 series (and by turn its Tohoku sister, the 200 series) is a timeless design. 

 

Was it the Ladybird books "Trains" book? That's were I saw the "Bullet Train" first too!

 

 

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gavino200
On 5/3/2021 at 7:36 AM, gavino200 said:

 

Was it the Ladybird books "Trains" book? That's were I saw the "Bullet Train" first too!

 

 

 

I couldn't resist searching and buying this gem. Well worth it. Every picture brought back warm memories. This was my first Shinkansen sighting. I expected it to be described as a "Bullet Train", but to my surprise it was presented as the new Tokaido line.

 

J9XjQad.jpg

 

7ZtSARU.jpg?1

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James-SNMB

First of all, let me begin by saying: This is all your fault.

 

I come into the hobby as someone who fell in love with the models first, and then slowly learned more about the real thing over time. My first love honestly would have been the TGV, but being a kid in North America modelling HO, it wasn't really an option at the time, and so I had freight trains, and assumed I always would.

 

Returning to the hobby as an adult, I happily switched to n scale thanks to the kato TGV offerings. I still have a CP freight train I like to run, but my layout is built to serve high speed passenger trains.

 

I joined JNS because of the volume of small, passenger train layouts and urban modelling. I didn't have any strong feelings about the Japanese prototype, but you have all won me over. It has begun...

 

Favourite Shinkansens:

 

-300 Series - I feel odd being so far on the other side of the sentiment towards the look of the 300 series, which might well be my favourite of the lot. I've been trying to figure out why that is, and someone referred to the design as looking a bit dated, which is hard to argue with. But why do I still like it then? Upon reflection, my best guess is that it's because I was 5 when the 90s began, and the design asthetic screams to me "This is what the future is going to look like" from that 90s perspective... They were wrong, of course, and I don't know if we'll ever look back at this aesthetic "classic", but for me I have to assume there's some nostalgia at play. I can imagine a final boss in a Sega Genesis game having that face/helmet... I hear the boss music...

 

- 0 series - my other favourite. I think I've settled on a preference for the small windowed variations, but I could swing the other way

 

- 100 series - but mainly in the fresh green livery...

 

- 700 series - I'm not making the distinction among 700/N700/A/S here. It's the only one I've ridden. Back in Dec 2012 I took a trip from Tokyo to Kyoto (probably Kodama service, but no rail pass involved) and returned with videos looking out the window, and zero pictures! The horror! I must have been actively surpressing my inner train nerd, knowing I was many years from being able to return to the hobby. I assume this was a 700 series, based on my wikipedia journey, but might have been the N700? Unlikely the N700A... Any guesses? It took a while for me to warm to the duckbill nose of these Shinkansens. It bugged me that they looked so deliberately designed for speed, but only went 270 km/h which seemed underwhelming compared to the more straightforward European designs that went faster. I now know the technical reasons for this, and made my peace.

 

Undecided:

 

- 500 series - This one is on and off my list of favourites, bit more on than off. The pointy nose is more relatable for me, so it was the first Shinkansen I was drawn to.

 

- E5/H5/E6 - Again it's the super high tech looking nose that makes it look like it should go faster than it does that keeps it from being a definitive favourite. I have a specific curiosity about Hokkaido though, so this could move it up the list.

 

Least favourites:

 

- E4

- 100 series with double decker cars

 

I don't care for the look of the double decker Shinkansens. What it comes to bi-level trains, I much prefer the proportions of the TGV duplex.

 

I'm currently more or less ambivalent towards the rest.

 

Of course, all opinions above are subject to change and none are strongly held. If you've made it this far through my wall of text, good on you. Thank you for joining me on my journey to financial ruin.

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sutenai

As others mention above, the 0 series is still the quintessential Shinkansen in my mind, thanks to growing up with a series of children's books translated from Japanese. Of course I had no idea at the time and was simply baffled by all the pictures and illustrations being so strange and unfamiliar. And "high-speed train" was synonymous with the TGV in my young mind!
 

Thinking about it now, I bet that book series planted the seed of my interest in Japan. Like, subliminally.

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chadbag

 

I have to say I don't really like the E5 and E6.    They just don't do anything for me.   And they don't look particularly clean.    Part of it is probably related to my personal experiences with them, which until 2019, were basically nothing more than a single ride a few stops from Tokyo on an E5, just to say I had ridden one.  I think I did something similar on an E6.  

 

In 2019 we went to Hokkaido with stops along the way, so I got a bit more E5 riding in.  It still doesn't do that much for me, but I have a little more interest in eventually acquiring a model one now that I have more experience.

 

Most of my Shinkansen riding has been Tokaido/Sanyo Shinkansen, N and S of Osaka,, which is the area we are based in when we go to Japan.  The N700 looks quite "clean" to me as a body design.

 

I liked my one day of riding the 800.  It was different and I liked the interior with wood and other more personable features, more comfortable and wider seats, etc.  (Also like the JR West Sakura N700 services as their reserved seats are more comfortable and wider than the JR Central N700 services).

 

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cteno4

I have to say 0 series will always be charming and handsome to me as the start was just stunning start to the look of Shinkansens to come. Also saw pictures as a kid early in its history. But the 700 for me is the cleanest and got to that point where it’s down to just the essentials and you feel like every curve was had done with a French curve with loving care. After that shape design I think were almost exclusively done with computer design based on aerodynamic modeling. 500 is nice but really just a f104 on wheels. The 0 to 700 really is an interesting design evolution even with the 500 blip.
 

I must say I liked the E1 and E4 even though big hulks (and maybe because of that) and the silly big platypus nose on the E4, but when I saw them slide into stations in person, I was just awed. Especially the E4 as that nose when sliding in does such a graceful entrance and growth to the very big train and of course almost silently, but with immense grace. Definitely not awkward or hulking. It’s the best platform experience I’ve ever had with a train.

 

jeff

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lesliegibson

Spoiling the party, I have absolutely no interest in the Shinkansen whatsoever old or new.

Everyone take care and stay safe

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gavino200
2 hours ago, lesliegibson said:

Spoiling the party, I have absolutely no interest in the Shinkansen whatsoever old or new.

Everyone take care and stay safe


Leslie, that doesn’t spoil the party at all. But it’s also not interesting unless you tell us why 😉

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lesliegibson

That is a very good question Gavino!.

Probably not interested because my main love of trains especially in Japan is loco hauled. And of course the only loco hauled left in Japan is freight as far as I am aware.

Rightly or wrongly I've always regarded the Shinkansen as an overblown E.M.U and therefore very boring.

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JR 500系
12 hours ago, lesliegibson said:

That is a very good question Gavino!.

Probably not interested because my main love of trains especially in Japan is loco hauled. And of course the only loco hauled left in Japan is freight as far as I am aware.

Rightly or wrongly I've always regarded the Shinkansen as an overblown E.M.U and therefore very boring.

 

There are some loco-hualed passenger trains too in Japan, like the Furano Bei Go in Hokkaido:

 

 

SL Yamaguchi Go in West Japan

 

 

 

SL Ban-etsu Monogatari Go in Eastern Japan 

 

 

Just to name a few ~~

 

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I love the 0 Series, because it represents such a triumph for Japan and such an amazing feat of engineering. A real moonshot at the time.

 

I also love the L0 Series. I just remember the first time I saw it in person, being stood on a bridge as it went past and my brain just sort of short circuited at the shear speed of the thing. It just doesn't make sense for something that big to be moving that fast 100mm off the ground.

 

That was years after an N700 did the same thing as it passed through Odawara station while I was just coming on to the platform. Riding those trains it's hard to believe how smooth and quiet they are, but when you see them pass by the shear size and speed is difficult to grasp too.

 

In short I can't pick one!

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bikkuri bahn

As far as overall appeal, the 0 series- thankfully was able to ride the last services on JR West back in the aughts.  Modern stuff doesn't appeal to me as much, appreciate them for their tech and performance, but shinkansen scheduling and operations interests me more than the hardware nowadays (like much of the Japanese railway scene outside of private railways in Kansai). But as far as the passenger experience, I do like JR West Kodama services (700 series, 500 series) with their 4 abreast seating in reserved seat cars (as others have similarly mentioned)- always make it a priority to take these after a long day of railfanning as they are roomy and provide near-green car level comfort at standard level prices, and uncrowded!.  And finally every one to two years, instead of flying like 99% of people, I take a journey from Shin-Hakodate to Tokyo on an E5 Hayabusa service with seating in Gran Class- just to pamper myself on a holiday from a stressful job. 

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