683 series

The 683 series (683系, 683-kei) is a dual-voltage electric multiple unit (EMU) train type operated by West Japan Railway Company (JR-West) and Hokuetsu Express on limited express services in Japan since 2001.

683 series
A 683-0 series on a Thunderbird service in August 2018
ManufacturerHitachi, Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Kinki Sharyo[1]
Family nameA-train
Replaced485 series
Entered service2001
Number built270 vehicles
Number in service268 vehicles
Number scrapped2 vehicles[1]
Formation3/5/6/9 cars per trainset
Operator(s)JR-West (2001–)
Hokuetsu Express (2005–2015)
Depot(s)Kyoto, Kanazawa
Line(s) servedTokaido Main Line, Kosei Line, Hokuriku Main Line, IR Ishikawa Railway Line, Nanao Line
Car body constructionAluminium alloy, double-skin
Maximum speed160 km/h (100 mph) (683-4000/5000/8000 series)
130 km/h (80 mph) (683-0/1000/2000/3000 series)[2]
Traction systemVariable frequency (3-level IGBT)
Electric system(s)20 kV AC 60 Hz / 1,500 V DC overhead
Current collection methodWPS27C scissors-type pantograph
WPS28D single-arm pantograph (683-4000/5000 series)
Braking system(s)Regenerative brake, electronically controlled pneumatic brakes, snow-resistant brake
Safety system(s)ATS-SW, ATS-P
Multiple working681 series
Track gauge1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in)


  • 683-0 series (Thunderbird)
  • 683-1000 series (Thunderbird)
  • 683-2000 series (Thunderbird, former Shirasagi)
  • 683-3000 series (Thunderbird, former Shirasagi)
  • 683-4000 series (Thunderbird)
  • 683-5000 series (Thunderbird)
  • 683-8000 series (Shirasagi, former Hokuetsu Express Hakutaka)



Hokuetsu Express

JR Central

  • Home Liner Ōgaki rapid service (until 13 March 2015)
  • Home Liner Sekigahara rapid service (until 13 March 2015)


The various formations are configured as follows.

3-car sets

Thunderbird sets

Designation TpcMT'c
Numbering KuHa 682-500MoHa 683-1300KuHa 683-700
Designation TpcTMc
Numbering KuHa 682-2700SaHa 683-2400KuMoHa 683-3500
Designation T'cMTpc
Numbering KuHa 683-8700MoHa 683-8000KuHa 682-8500

Shirasagi sets

Designation McTTpc
Numbering KuMoHa 683-3500SaHa 683-2400KuHa 682-2700

The KuHa 682 cars are each fitted with one scissors-type pantograph.

5-car sets

Shirasagi sets

Designation McTTpMTpsc
Numbering KuMoHa 683-3500SaHa 683-2500SaHa 682-2200MoHa 683-3400KuRo 682-2000

The SaHa 682 and KuRo 682 cars are each fitted with one scissors-type pantograph.

6-car sets

Thunderbird sets

Designation TscTpMTTpMc
Numbering KuRo 683SaHa 682MoHa 683-1000SaHa 683-300SaHa 682KuMoHa 683-1500
Designation McTpTMTpTsc
Numbering KuMoHa 683-8700SaHa 682-8000SaHa 683-8000MoHa 683-8300SaHa 682-8000KuRo 683-8000

The SaHa 682 cars are each fitted with one scissors-type pantograph.

9-car sets

Thunderbird sets

Designation TscTpMTpMTTTpMc
Numbering KuRo 683-4500SaHa 682-4300MoHa 683-5400SaHa 682-4400MoHa 683-5000SaHa 683-4700SaHa 683-4800SaHa 682-4300KuMoHa 683-5500

The SaHa 682 cars are each fitted with one single-arm pantograph.



All of the 683 series trainsets used on Thunderbird limited express services are scheduled to undergo a programme of refurbishment from autumn 2015 until the end of fiscal 2018.[4] The first set treated, nine-car 683-4000 series set T51, was returned to revenue service in September 2015.[5]

Conversion to 289 series

From 2015, 85 former Shirasagi 683 series vehicles were converted and reformed to become DC-only 289 series EMUs, formed as three-car, four-car, and six-car sets for use on Hashidate, Kinosaki, Kounotori, and Kurioshio limited express services in the Kyoto and Osaka area.[6]


  • オールガイド 681・683系 [Full Guide: 681/683 Series]. Japan Railfan Magazine. 49 (577): 56–65. May 2009.
  • 北越急行681・683系 [Hokuetsu Express 681/683 Series]. Japan Railfan Magazine. 49 (577): 46–55. May 2009.
  • JR電車編成表 '07冬号 [JR EMU Formations - Winter 2007]. Japan: JRR. December 2006. ISBN 978-4-88283-046-7.
  1. Jr電車編成表 JR電車編成表 2017冬 [JR EMU Formations - Winter 2017] (in Japanese). Japan: Kotsu Shimbunsha. 16 November 2016. p. 135–136, 144, 357. ISBN 978-4-330-73716-4.
  2. JR全車輌ハンドブック2006 [JR Rolling Stock Handbook 2006] (in Japanese). Japan: Neko Publishing. 2006. ISBN 978-4-7770-0453-9.
  3. "Railnews". Japan Railfan Magazine (in Japanese). 55 (647): 171. March 2015.
  4. より快適に!北陸~近畿を結ぶ特急「サンダーバード」、車両リニューアルへ [Rolling stock to be refurbished for Thunderbird limited express trains linking Hokuriku and Kinki]. Tetsudo Shimbun (in Japanese). Japan. 28 January 2015. Retrieved 28 January 2015.
  5. 683系4000番台リニューアル車が営業運転を開始 [Refurbished 683-4000 series enters revenue service]. Japan Railfan Magazine Online (in Japanese). Japan: Koyusha Co., Ltd. 27 September 2015. Retrieved 28 September 2015.
  6. JR電車編成表 2016冬 [JR EMU Formations - Winter 2016] (in Japanese). Japan: Kotsu Shimbunsha. 18 November 2015. p. 145, 190. ISBN 978-4-330-62315-3.
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