"STAR21" was the name given to the Class 952/953 (952・953形) 9-car experimental Shinkansen train developed in 1992 by the East Japan Railway Company (JR East) in Japan to test technology to be incorporated in next-generation shinkansen trains operating at speeds of 350 km/h (217 mph) or higher. The name was an acronym for "Superior Train for the Advanced Railway toward the 21st Century".
|Class 952/953 "STAR21"|
Preserved cars 953-5 and 953-1 at Sendai Shinkansen Depot, July 2009
|Manufacturer||Hitachi, Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Nippon Sharyo|
|Number built||9 vehicles|
|Number in service||None|
|Number preserved||3 vehicles|
|Number scrapped||6 vehicles|
|Line(s) served||Tohoku Shinkansen, Joetsu Shinkansen|
|Car body construction||Aluminium alloy|
|Width||3,100 mm (10 ft 2 in)|
|Maximum speed||350 km/h (217 mph) (nominal)|
|Traction system||Variable frequency (GTO)|
|Electric system(s)||25 kV AC, 50 Hz|
|Current collection method||Overhead catenary|
|Track gauge||1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) standard gauge|
The train consisted of nine cars arranged in two distinct "halves", with the Class 952 half-set consisting of four separate vehicles, and the Class 953 half-set consisting of five articulated vehicles using shared bogies.
Three different construction methods were used for the vehicle bodies. Cars 1 to 3 used welded hollow aluminium extrusions, cars 4 to 5 used brazed aluminium honeycomb panels, and cars 6 to 9 used an aircraft-style Duralumin fuselage construction.
The external livery was light green for the Class 952 cars (including half of car 953-1), "snow" grey for cars 953-1 to 953-3, and beige for cars 953-3 to 953-5, with a light blue window band throughout the length of the train.
Internally, cars were fitted with passengers seats, arranged 2+2 abreast for standard class cars, and 2+1 abreast for the Green car (952-4). Five different types of lightweight seating design were tested.
|Vehicle length (mm)||26,250||25,000||25,000||25,000||22,250||18,500||18,500||18,500||25,500|
On 30 October 1992, the train recorded a Japanese national speed record of 353.0 km/h (219.3 mph) on the Jōetsu Shinkansen between Urasa and Niigata, surpassing the record previously set by JR West's "WIN350" experimental train in August of the same year. On 1 November 1992, the record was raised to 358.0 km/h (222.5 mph) between Tsubame-Sanjō and Niigata.
On 13 December 1993, the train reached 400 km/h (248.5 mph), and on 21 December recorded a Japanese national speed record of 425.0 km/h (264.1 mph) on the Jōetsu Shinkansen between Tsubame-Sanjō and Niigata. This record stood until it was broken by JR Central's "300X" experimental train in July 1996.
End car 952-1 is preserved outdoors at the RTRI large-scale wind tunnel test facility in Maibara, Shiga, first displayed to the public on 10 October 1998. Cars 953-1 and 953-5 are preserved at Sendai Shinkansen Depot. A DT9035B bogie from the train was donated in June 1998 by Sumitomo Metal Industries to the Nara National College of Technology in Nara, where it is kept on display.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Class 952/953 "STAR21".|
- Nakamura, Tatsuji (June 1992). "952・953形新幹線電車" [Class 952/953 Shinkansen EMU]. Japan Railfan Magazine. Vol. 32 no. 374. Japan: Kōyūsha. pp. 11–17.