500 Series Shinkansen

The 500 series (500系, 500-kei) is a Shinkansen high-speed train type operated by West Japan Railway Company (JR-West) on the Tōkaidō Shinkansen and San'yō Shinkansen lines in Japan since 1997.[3] They were designed to be capable of 320 km/h (200 mph) but operated at 300 km/h (185 mph), until they were finally retired from the primary Nozomi service in 2010. The trainsets were then refurbished and downgraded to the all-stations Kodama service between Shin-Ōsaka and Hakata.

500 series
A 16-car 500 series set on a Nozomi service in May 2008
ManufacturerHitachi, Kawasaki Heavy Industries Rolling Stock Company, Kinki Sharyo, Nippon Sharyo
Replaced0 series
Entered service1997
Number built144 vehicles (9 sets)
Number in service64 vehicles (8 sets)(there was 9 sets before, but 500 series W1 was kept in the Kyoto Railway museum)
Number preserved2 vehicle
Number scrapped78 vehicles
Formation8 (originally 16) cars per trainset
Fleet numbersV2V9
Capacity16-car W set: 1,324 (200 Green + 1,124 Standard)
8-car V set: 608
Line(s) servedSanyo Shinkansen, Hakata-Minami Line
Car body constructionAluminium alloy
Car length25,000 mm (82 ft 0 in) (intermediate cars), 27,000 mm (88 ft 7 in) (end cars)
Width3,380 mm (11 ft 1 in)
Height3,690 mm (12 ft 1 in)
DoorsTwo plug doors per side (intermediate cars)
One plug door per side (end cars)
Maximum speedW set: 300 km/h (186 mph) (Sanyō)
V set: 285 km/h (177 mph)
Design speed: 320 km/h (199 mph)
Traction system(AC) WMT204 64 x 285 kW (382 hp) (set W1)/275 kW (369 hp) (set W2 onward)[1]
Power output18.24 MW (24,460 hp) (set W1), 17.60 MW (23,600 hp) (set W2 onward)
Acceleration1.6 km/h/s (0.44 m·s−2) [2]
1.92 km/h/s (0.53 m·s−2) (High acceleration mode)[2]
Deceleration2.7 km/h/s (0.75 m·s−2)
Electric system(s)25 kV AC, 60 Hz overhead catenary
Current collection methodW set: "T"-style current collector
V set: Pantograph
Safety system(s)ATC-NS
Track gauge1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge


The general design concept was overseen by German industrial designer Alexander Neumeister.[4] The running gear utilizes computer-controlled active suspension[5] for a smoother, safer ride, and yaw dampers are fitted between cars for improved stability. All sixteen cars in each original trainset were powered, giving a maximum of 18.24 MW (24,460 hp). Each train cost an estimated 5 billion yen, and only nine were built. It used biomimicry to reduce energy consumption by 15% , increase speeds by 10% and noise levels while increasing passenger comfort. This was done by making the train's front have the shape of a kingfisher's beak.[6]

6-car 500-900 WIN350 set

Main article: WIN350

This is a prototype for a Series 500.

16-car W sets

First announced by JR-West in September 1994,[7] the first set was delivered for testing in 1995, entering passenger service in March 1997. The entire fleet of nine sets was delivered by 1998. It was the first Shinkansen train in Japan to operate at a maximum speed of 300 km/h (185 mph) in regular passenger service. Besides the premium Nozomi services, 16-car trains were also used on Hikari Rail Star services during the busy holiday periods.

With the steady increase in the number of N700 Series Shinkansen since 2007, the 500 series were gradually retired from the Nozomi services. The last 500 series Nozomi run took place on 28 February 2010.[8]


Car No. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16
Designation Mc M1 Mp M2 M' M1 Mp Ms2 Ms M1s Mpkh M2 M' M1 Mp M2c
Numbering 521-xx 526-xx 527-xx 528-xx 525-xx 526-xx 527-4xx 518-xx 515-xx 516-xx 527-7xx 528-7xx 525-xx 526-xx 527-xx 522-xx
Seating capacity 53 100 90 100 95 100 75 68 64 68 63 100 95 100 90 63

Cars 8 to 10 were "Green" (first class) cars. Cars 5 and 13 each had one "T"-style current collector.[9]


8-car V sets (500-7000 series)

Eight of the original nine 500 series sets were modified and shortened to eight cars between 2008 and 2010, and were cascaded to Sanyo Shinkansen Kodama workings, replacing the earlier 0 series sets.[10] The first reformed eight-car set was unveiled to the press on 28 March 2008, and the trains entered service on twelve daily Kodama runs from 1 December 2008.[11]

The maximum operating speed of these trains has been reduced to 285 km/h (177 mph).[12]


As of 1 April 2016, the fleet consists of eight eight-car sets (V2 to V9) formed as follows, with car 1 at the Hakata end.[13]

Car No. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Designation Mc M1 Mp M2 M M1 Mpkh M2c
Numbering 521-70xx 526-70xx 527-70xx 528-70xx 525-70xx 526-72xx 527-77xx 522-70xx
Formerly 521 (car 1) 526 (car 2) 527 (car 3) 528 (car 4) 525 (car 13) 516 (car 10) 527-700 (car 11) 522 (car 16)
Seating capacity 53 100 78 100 95 68 51 63

Cars 2 and 7 each have one single-arm pantograph.[13]


Passenger accommodation consists of 3+2 abreast unidirectional seating, with 2+2 abreast seating in car 6 (former Green car). Between October and December 2013, cars 4 and 5 are also scheduled to have the original seating removed and replaced with new 2+2 abreast seating, the same as used in the Hikari Rail Star 700 series trainsets.[14][15]

All passenger saloons on the 8-car 500 series trains are no-smoking, with new smoking compartments installed in cars 3 and 7.[13] Cars 1, 3, 5, and 7 are equipped with toilets.[13]

Special liveries

Since 7 November 2015, set V2 runs in a special "500 Type Eva" livery as part of the "Shinkansen:Evangelion Project" tie-up project to mark the 40th anniversary of the Sanyo Shinkansen and the 20th anniversary of the Neon Genesis Evangelion animation series broadcast on TV.[16] Initially planned to operate until March 2017, this livery was extended until 13 May 2018.[17][18] From 24 February until 7 May 2018, the 500 series car preserved at the Kyoto Railway Museum will be exhibited in the "500 Type Eva" livery.[19]

In March 2018, JR West announced the launch of a special "Hello Kitty" themed 500 series train on Sanyo Shinkansen Kodama services.[20][21] The train entered service on 30 June 2018.[22]


Preserved examples

Car 521-1, formerly the end car of set W1, is preserved at the Kyoto Railway Museum, which opened in April 2016.[23] This car was exhibited in the "500 Type Eva" livery between 24 February and 7 May 2018.[19] Car 522-1, formerly the end car of set W1, is preserved at the Hitachi Kasado factory in Kudamatsu, Yamaguchi, in Autumn 2015.

See also

  • List of high speed trains


  1. Railway Journal. Japan: 46. May 2008.CS1 maint: untitled periodical (link)
  2. Railway Journal: 36. September 2007.CS1 maint: untitled periodical (link)
  3. JR全車両ハンドブック2006 [JR Rolling Stock Handbook 2006]. Japan: Neko Publishing. 2006.
  4. 新幹線 車両大全 [Shinkansen Cars Encyclopedia]. Tokyo, Japan: Ikaros Publications Ltd. November 2011. pp. 96–121. ISBN 978-4-86320-526-0.
  5. http://www.rtri.or.jp/eng/publish/newsletter/pdf/01/RTA-01-05.pdf
  6. Warson, Skipper Chong (2 January 2018). "Looking deeper into biomimicry: how nature inspires design". Medium.
  7. Semmens, Peter (1997). High Speed in Japan: Shinkansen - The World's Busiest High-speed Railway. Sheffield, UK: Platform 5 Publishing. ISBN 1-872524-88-5.
  8. "Train fans bid farewell to Nozomi bullet train service". Japan Today. 1 March 2010. Retrieved 2 March 2010.
  9. JR電車編成表 2010夏 [JR EMU Formations - Summer 2010]. Japan: Kotsu Shimbunsha. May 2010. ISBN 978-4-330-14310-1.
  10. "Tetsudō Daiya Jōhō" magazine February 2008 issue, p74
  11. 平成20年度【冬】の臨時列車の運転について [Winter 2008 additional train services] (PDF) (in Japanese). West Japan Railway. 17 October 2008. Archived from the original (PDF) on 17 March 2009. Retrieved 19 March 2009.
  12. 新幹線こだま 500系 [Kodama Shinkansen 500 serie] (in Japanese). West Japan Railway. 2009. Archived from the original on 5 March 2009. Retrieved 19 March 2009.
  13. JR電車編成表 2016夏 [JR EMU Formations - Summer 2016] (in Japanese). Japan: Kotsu Shimbunsha. 20 May 2016. p. 133. ISBN 978-4-330-68216-7.
  14. JR西500系こだま ゆったり [JR-West 500 series Kodama to become roomier]. Yomiuri Online (in Japanese). Japan: The Yomiuri Shimbun. 26 August 2013. Retrieved 4 September 2013.
  15. 500系こだま号の4列シート車両の拡充について [Increase in number of 4-abreast seating cars on 500 series Kodama trains]. Press Release (in Japanese). Japan: West Japan Railway Company. 22 November 2013. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
  16. 山陽新幹線で「500 TYPE EVA」の運転開始 ["500 Type Eva" runs on Sanyo Shinkansen]. Japan Railfan Magazine Online (in Japanese). Japan: Koyusha Co., Ltd. 8 November 2015. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 16 September 2016.
  17. Sasaki, Yasuhiro (16 September 2016). JR西日本「500 TYPE EVA」好評で運行期間延長 - 渚カヲルの車内自動放送も [JR-West "500 Type Eva" to be extended due to popular demand]. Mynavi News (in Japanese). Japan: Mynavi Corporation. Archived from the original on 16 September 2016. Retrieved 16 September 2016.
  18. "500 TYPE EVA"5月に運行終了 ["500 Type Eva" operations to end in May]. Tetsudo Hobidas (in Japanese). Japan: Neko Publishing Co., Ltd. 19 January 2018. Archived from the original on 19 January 2018. Retrieved 19 January 2018.
  19. Abe, Ryutaro (19 February 2018). "Evangelion bullet train to go on show in Kyoto rail museum". asahi.com. The Asahi Shimbun. Retrieved 17 March 2018.
  20. "Hello Kitty bullet train to debut on Sanyo Line this summer". japantimes.co.jp. The Japan Times. 15 March 2018. Archived from the original on 17 March 2018. Retrieved 17 March 2018.
  21. "Hello Kitty bullet train to debut in Japan on June 30". japantimes.co.jp. The Japan Times. 18 May 2018. Archived from the original on 13 September 2019. Retrieved 21 May 2018.
  22. "Süße Katzen auf Erfolgsschiene" [Cute cats on track to success]. Lok Magazin (in German). Vol. 5/2019 no. 452. Geramond Verlag. May 2019. p. 34. ISSN 0458-1822.
  23. 京都鉄道博物館 [Kyoto Railway Museum]. Japan Railfan Magazine (in Japanese). Vol. 56 no. 662. Japan: Koyusha Co., Ltd. June 2016. p. 61.
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