E4 Series Shinkansen

The E4 series (E4系) is a high-speed shinkansen train type operated by East Japan Railway Company (JR East) in Japan. They were the second series of completely bi-level Shinkansen trainsets to be built in Japan (the other being the E1 series). They operate on the Tōhoku and Jōetsu Shinkansen, and occasionally on the Nagano Shinkansen. E4 series trains feature double-decker cars to accommodate additional commuter traffic around Tokyo and other urban areas.[1] They were often coupled to 400 series trains on the Tōhoku Shinkansen between Tokyo and Fukushima before the latter retired in April 2010.

E4 series
A pair of E4 series sets led by set P6 at Ōmiya Station in May 2017
ManufacturerHitachi, Kawasaki Heavy Industries
Family nameMax
Entered serviceDecember 1997
Number built208 vehicles (26 sets)
Number in service160 vehicles (20 sets) (as of 1 January 2018)
Number preserved1 vehicle
Number scrapped47 vehicles (6 sets)
Formation8 cars per trainset
Fleet numbersP1P22, P51P52, P81P82
Capacity817 (54 Green + 763 Standard)
Operator(s)JR East
Line(s) servedJoetsu Shinkansen
Car body constructionAluminium
Car lengthEnd cars: 25,700 mm (84 ft 4 in),
Intermediate cars: 25,000 mm (82 ft 0 in)
Width3,380 mm (11 ft 1 in)
Doors2 per side
Maximum speed240 km/h (150 mph)
Weight428 t
Traction system16 x 420 kW (560 hp) AC traction motors
Power output6.72 MW (9,010 hp)
Acceleration1.65 km/h/s
Deceleration2.69 km/h/s (service),
4.04 km/h/s (emergency)
Power supplyoverhead catenary
Electric system(s)25 kV AC, 50 Hz
Current collection methodPantograph
UIC classification2'2'+Bo'Bo'+Bo'Bo'+2'2'+2'2'+Bo'Bo'+Bo'Bo'+2'2'
Braking system(s)Pneumatic and Regenerative
Safety system(s)ATC-2, DS-ATC
Multiple working400/E3-1000/E3-2000 series
Track gauge1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge

Two eight-car sets can be coupled together for extra capacity: a sixteen-car E4 series formation trainset carries a total of 1,634 seated passengers, the highest-capacity high-speed rail trainset in the world.[2]

26 units were built between 1997 and 2003. As with the earlier E1 series trains, maximum speed is 240 km/h (150 mph).


Car No.12345678
Designation T1cM1M2TTkMpMsTpsc
Numbering E453-100E455-100E456-100E458E459-200E455E446E444
Seating capacity 751331191241101229143

Cars 4 and 6 are each equipped with a PS201 pantograph.[3]


Sets P51 and P52, delivered in January and February 2001 were designed to cope with the steep gradients of the Nagano Shinkansen for use on services to Karuizawa.[3]

Sets P81 and P82, delivered in July and November 2003 were designed to cope with the steep gradients of the Nagano Shinkansen, and are also capable of operating under 50 Hz and 60 Hz overhead power supplies for use on services to Nagano.[3]


As with the earlier E1 series, the upper deck saloons of non-reserved cars 1 to 3 are arranged 3+3 with no individual armrests, and do not recline. The lower decks of these cars, and the reserved-seating saloons in cars 4 to 8 have regular 2+3 seating. The green car saloons on the upper decks of cars 7 to 8 have 2+2 seating. The trains have a total seating capacity of 817 passengers.[4]


The first E4 series set, P1, was delivered to Sendai Depot on 8 October 1997, with the first sets entering revenue-earning service on the Tohoku Shinkansen from 20 December 1997.[3]

All cars were made no-smoking from the start of the revised timetable on 18 March 2007.[3]

In March 2011, it was announced that the entire E4 series fleet would be withdrawn by around 2016.[5]

In September 2012, E4 series were entirely withdrawn from Tohoku Shinkansen services, and all allocated for use on Joetsu Shinkansen services only.[6]

Livery change

From 2014, the fleet of 24 sets still in service began to be repainted, receiving a new livery identical to that previously carried by the E1 series trains, with a toki (crested ibis) pink stripe separating the white on the upper body and blue on the lower body. The first reliveried set, P5, was returned to service in early April 2014,[7] with the entire fleet due to be treated by the end of fiscal 2015.[8]


Withdrawals started in July 2013, with sets P2 and P3.[9]

Preserved examples

End car E444-1 from set P1 was displayed at the Niigata City Niitsu Railway Museum in Niitsu, Niigata between July and September 2017.[10] It was moved by road from Niigata Depot to the museum in the early hours of 20 June 2017.[11]

Fleet list

The build details are as shown below.[3] As of 1 January 2018, 20 sets are still in service.[6]

Set No. Manufacturer Delivered Reliveried Withdrawn
P1 Kawasaki HI 8 October 1997 12 May 2015 2 April 2016[12]
P2 Hitachi 20 October 1997 - 3 July 2013[9]
P3 Kawasaki HI 27 October 1997 - 26 July 2013[9]
P4 Hitachi 10 February 1999 10 February 2016 13 September 2017
P5 Kawasaki HI 22 February 1999 3 April 2014 4 December 2017[13]
P6 Hitachi 15 March 1999 11 June 2014 25 December 2017[13]
P7 Hitachi 14 April 1999 25 March 2015
P8 Kawasaki HI 31 May 1999 3 July 2015
P9 Hitachi 21 June 1999 20 August 2015
P10 Kawasaki HI 12 July 1999 4 February 2015
P11 Hitachi 26 July 2000 3 March 2016
P12 Hitachi 28 August 2000
P13 Kawasaki HI 11 September 2000
P14 Hitachi 13 October 2000
P15 Kawasaki HI 16 October 2000
P16 Hitachi 27 November 2000 1 May 2014
P17 Hitachi 21 March 2001 30 September 2014
P18 Kawasaki HI 4 June 2001
P19 Kawasaki HI 25 June 2001 20 August 2015
P20 Hitachi 16 July 2001 9 October 2015
P21 Kawasaki HI 9 October 2001 4 November 2015
P22 Kawasaki HI 20 November 2001 18 December 2015
P51 Kawasaki HI 31 January 2001 7 July 2014
P52 Kawasaki HI 20 February 2001 27 August 2014
P81 Hitachi 30 July 2003 22 July 2015
P82 Kawasaki HI 20 November 2003 19 January 2016

See also


  1. JR全車輌ハンドブック2006 [JR Rolling Stock Handbook 2006]. Japan: Neko Publishing. 2006. ISBN 4-7770-0453-8.
  2. 鉄道のテクノロジーVol1:新幹線 [Railway Technology Vol.1: Shinkansen]. Japan: Sanei Mook. April 2009. ISBN 978-4-7796-0534-5.
  3. JR電車編成表 2010夏 [JR EMU Formations - Summer 2010]. Japan: Kotsu Shimbunsha. May 2010. p. 9. ISBN 978-4-330-14310-1.
  4. 新幹線NAVI [Shinkansen Navi]. Japan: Ikaros Publishing. July 2004. ISBN 4-87149-562-0.
  5. Saito, Masatoshi (9 March 2011). JR東:2階建て新幹線「Max」5年後全廃 老朽化進み [JR East to withdraw all "Max" double-decker trains within 5 years]. Mainichi jp (in Japanese). Japan: The Mainichi Newspapers. Archived from the original on 10 March 2011. Retrieved 9 March 2011.
  6. JR電車編成表 2018冬 [JR EMU Formations - Winter 2018] (in Japanese). Japan: Kotsu Shimbunsha. 15 November 2017. p. 13. ISBN 978-4-330-84117-5.
  7. E4系P編成が塗装変更を実施 [E4 series P sets repainted]. RM News (in Japanese). Japan: Neko Publishing Co., Ltd. 7 April 2014. Retrieved 7 April 2014.
  8. "上越新幹線(E4系)のエクステリアデザインが生まれ変わります!" [Exterior design of Joetsu Shinkansen E4 series to be updated] (PDF). News release (in Japanese). Japan: East Japan Railway Company - Niigata Division. 26 March 2014. Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 March 2014. Retrieved 27 March 2014.
  9. JR電車編成表 2014冬 [JR EMU Formations - Winter 2014]. Japan: Kotsu Shimbunsha. 1 December 2013. p. 356. ISBN 978-4-330-42413-2.
  10. 新津鉄道資料館 新規実物車輌展示 [New rolling stock exhibits at Niigata City Niitsu Railway Museum]. Tetsudo Hobidas (in Japanese). Japan: Neko Publishing Co., Ltd. 7 June 2017. Archived from the original on 8 June 2017. Retrieved 8 June 2017.
  11. 深夜の住宅街、新幹線ゆっくり陸送 新潟 [Shinkansen transported slowly by road late at night through residential area in Niigata]. Asahi Shimbun Digital (in Japanese). Japan: The Asahi Shimbun Company. 21 June 2017. Archived from the original on 21 June 2017. Retrieved 21 June 2017.
  12. JR車両のうごき [JR rolling stock changes]. Tetsudō Daiya Jōhō Magazine (in Japanese). Vol. 45 no. 389. Japan: Kōtsū Shimbun. September 2016. p. 81, 357.
  13. JR車両のうごき [JR rolling stock changes]. Tetsudo Daiya Joho Magazine (in Japanese). Vol. 47 no. 407. Japan: Kotsu Shimbun. March 2018. p. 103.
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