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Darren Jeffries

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6 hours ago, 200系 said:


You're more than welcome, Mark! As a fellow Shōwa era Japanese railway connoisseur, I had a tinny suspicion you might be interested as well 😉.


They absolutely are, aren't they? Interestingly enough, it was actually the 581 series which was the first Japanese train I actually fell in love with as a young kid, and as such was one of the series which started it all for me (as well as the 381 series, 485 series, 183 series, Odakyū 3100 series and the EF66 type, my interest in the shinkansen wouldn't take form until much later, though I fell in love with the J.N.R. shinkansen much earlier (I'm sensing a theme here😅)). 


So, you're more than welcome and same to you.



Date of scrapping =/= last running, it simply means the car, as this happens on a per car basis, has its car registry removed at that specific date and as such ceases to exist in any official capacity. This doesn't mean it was in active service up till that point, nor does it mean dismantling starts at that exact point, or necessarily at all, but it is removed from the books at that point and as such is no longer registered as in active service. For formation W8 that was indeed on the 10th of March, 2010 at which point the surplus cars were scrapped. However, her last scheduled service was as Nozomi 6 operating between between Hakata and Tōkyō on the morning of the 27th of February, 2010.

The actual last Nozomi services were to be operated by formation W1. She would operate both Nozomi 6 between Hakata and Tōkyō as well as the return trip, Nozomi 29 between Tōkyō and Hakata on the 28th of February 2010. Nozomi 29 would actually be the final, scheduled, 500 series Nozomi service and was treated as the official last run. Formation W8 was forwarded from Tōkyō to Hakata on the evening of the 28th of February, so that would technically make it the final W formation to operate under its own power, however this was of course a non-revenue movement. Interestingly enough, while out of service since the last run, formation W1 wouldn't be scrapped until 2012, with the first 6 cars being scrapped on the 30th of January, 2012, while the remaining 10 cars wouldn't be scrapped until the 28th of March, 2014.


This disparity between date of scrapping versus date of dismantling or last day in active service is actually quite common in Japan and isn't all that unusual for the shinkansen either. For example, JR Tōkai ended 100 series services on the Tōkaidō Shinkansen in September 2003, with the official last run being on the 16th of September, 2003. Yet formation G47 was only forwarded from Tōkyō to Hamamatsu on the 2nd of February, 2004 and would be scrapped on arrival at Hamamatsu. Similarly formation G49 though detained since the 16th of September, wasn't scrapped until January 2004, while formation G50 wasn't scrapped until the 1st of March, 2004. The same was true with the 0 series, as forwarding of the out of service formations after the official last run would continue into January 2009 with both R61 and R68 being scrapped on January 23rd, 2009, more than a month after the last run. The last 200 series formation, formation K51, would be scrapped on June 3rd, 2013 yet she hadn't seen service since the March 2013 timetable revision. And to give an example which is more closely related to the topic at hand, the 500 series V formations V5 and V6 were scrapped on the 12th of March of this year, yet formation V6 had been out of service since the summer of 2018 and was detained at Hakata-minami since that time. Formation V6 was dismantled in September of this year, while formation V5 is slated for, but hasn't been dismantled yet.


Similarly, on the conventional side, as an example out of service E351 series formations were forwarded to the Nagano vehicle center under their own power, even after they were removed from active service, as they need an active vehicle registration in order to legally operate on the mainline, with the cars being scrapped on arrival at Nagano (a very common practice for Japanese railway companies). This is also one of the reasons why for example most retired Kantō area commuter/suburban rolling stock which was already scrapped at their assigned vehicle center are transported to their dismantling site behind a locomotive rather than under their own power (if they aren't scrapped at the Tōkyō center, as Tōkyō does have a dismantling site they use) , as they wouldn't be legally allowed to operate under their own power anymore, even if they were technically still able to operate under their own power (*). 


This is something you should always keep in mind when using a roster, the date mentioned is probably not going to be the last date in service for that specific car, so unless you can manage to find this specific date always treat it as it should, as the exact date the car itself lost its active vehicle registry, nothing more, nothing less.





I always forget that the "Last Run" 500 Series Nozomi was the W1 formation. In my head I always treat the official final run as separate from the last "regular" (or unremarkable/ordinary) service as being different, which I know technically probably isn't proper I suppose. Was the W8 the last formation to operate an ordinary Nozomi service besides W1? I'm almost certain it was the last ordinary car running as a 16 car formation apart from the W1.

Edited by AbaZ33a
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Perfectly understandable, as this is quite often the case for an actual last run. However, it really depends on the individual case and for the 500 series their final runs on the 28th were basically the same 2 scheduled services they had been operating since the November 2009 timetable revision. Both Nozomi 6 and 29 were operated daily, with Nozomi 6 departing Hakata at 07:00 and arriving at Tōkyō by 12:13 after which she would operate Nozomi 29 which departed Tōkyō at 12:30 and would arrive at Hakata at 17:44 which would complete their daily roundtrip between Hakata and Tōkyō.


And yes you are indeed correct, formation W8 was the only other W formation besides W1 still in active service after W7 was removed from service in January of the same year. That being said, as W8 only operated the ascending service, Nozomi 6, on the 27th the descending service, Nozomi 29 had to have been operated by formation W1 which means that even if you do not count the final services on the 28th, it was still formation W1 which operated the final "ordinary" Nozomi in the end. That being said, as Nozomi 6 and 29 were regular scheduled services, even on the last day of operations, I personally consider those to be the last scheduled services for the 500 series W formations rather than the same services on the day before. Though they were special in a sense, they were still just regularly operated services and as such accessible in the same way they would've been on any other given date, though I suspect the ratio of railfan to normal passengers was slightly skewed in favor of the former on that particular date.

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This was one of the first Japanese trains that I saw as a kid in a pack of the Card game, Supertrain Top Trumps, back in the 80s. You essentially picked a category and had to beat your friend’s counterpart card. Can’t remember if it was a 581 or 583 but distinctly remembered its stocky face and high cab.

Also, the slightly clunky information printed on the card, it beat many other cards on its number of “engines” which were stated as 32. The only other card that beat it was the 0 series with 64. My 8 year old self trying to imagine a train that could have 64 or 32 engines (envisaging large diesel or electric power cars like the HST or TGV) and still have room for passengers. 😄


Certainly nice to have the Kuhane 581 at the local railway museum too which pre covid, you could sit in the bunks. 


Jealous of that Tomix HO version, Mark. Hope they see fit to redo it in the near future. 


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JR 500系

Hot from the Oven 


Pretty safe month for me.... 



And something for those modelling USA railways ~

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Martijn Meerts

Not modelling USA railways, but I AM getting the Big Boy 🙂


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39 minutes ago, Martijn Meerts said:

Not modelling USA railways, but I AM getting the Big Boy 🙂


I just came here to say almost exactly the same thing 😄


It was in a book of trains I had when I was little (I still have it around somewhere I think) and seemed quite impressive. For some reason I remember having the impression from the book that they were still operational, mind you checking the figures and doing the maths, it would have been less than two decades between them being retired and me reading the book. /me feels old.


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