One of the complaints often heard in the world of railway enthusiasts is that “it’s boring because the same trains are coming.” A classic example is the Tokaido Shinkansen. However, while they look the same, they are not actually the same set of trains on the Tokaido Shinkansen. 1 story to save.
Affiliation of JR Tokai and JR West
At present, the 16-car trains used on the Tokaido/Sanyo Shinkansen can be roughly divided into three series: N700, N700A and N700S. Among them, there are vehicles belonging to JR Tokai and vehicles belonging to JR West.
Although it is a JR Tokai vehicle, it does not only travel on the Tokaido Shinkansen, but takes the Sanyo Shinkansen to Hakata. And vice versa, vehicles belonging to JR West enter the Tokaido Shinkansen bound for Tokyo. Then, JR Tokai and JR West will borrow and borrow vehicles from each other.
Therefore, adjustments are made so that the number of vehicle kilometers at which the debit occurs coincides with each other. If the cumulative distance traveled by JR Tokai trains on the Sanyo Shinkansen is equal to the cumulative distance traveled by JR West trains on the Tokaido Shinkansen, the deduction will be zero and there is no need to exchange for vehicle usage fees.
However, due to the number of trains and the timetable, if the train is not careful (?), the JR Tokai train will run a longer distance within the Sanyo Shinkansen. To maintain balance, JR West trains sometimes only run within the Tokaido Shinkansen. As a result, there will be a scene where vehicles belonging to JR West on the Tokaido Shinkansen operate as “Kodama”.
Key Points for Determining Affiliation
Even though the affiliation is different, the appearance is almost the same, and it is impossible to distinguish them at first glance. However, there is a point of difference. The following three points are easy to understand.
・In-car broadcast ringtones. From July 21, 2023, vehicles belonging to JR Tokai will be replaced with the new “Let’s meet” sound, but vehicles belonging to JR West will still retain “Good day departure”.
・There is a JR logo on the side. The JR mark is drawn next to the car number mark, but vehicles belonging to JR Tokai are orange, and vehicles belonging to JR West are blue.
・An inscription is engraved on the upper part of the partition door. There are “JR Tokai” and “JR West” marks on the upper part of the partition door that enters the guest room from the deck.
If you are a little more crazy, there is also a formation number. The front window of the driver’s cab, the doors of the crew’s cabin on both sides of the driver’s cab, and the business doors of No. 7 and No. 11 cars are all written with information for the crew and station staff to identify individual trains. The lineup is as follows.
N700: Vehicles belonging to JR Tokai are “X○○” and vehicles belonging to JR West are “K○○”
N700A: Vehicles owned by JR Tokai are “G○○” and vehicles owned by JR West are “F○○”
N700S: Vehicles owned by JR Tokai are “J○○” and vehicles owned by JR West are “H○○”
In the past, the 700 series was transferred from JR Tokai to JR West. The organization number at this time is still the same as the “C○○” of the JR Tokai era, but the JR logo on the side and the mark on the upper part of the inner door are changed to the JR West standard. Such exceptions may occur.
Morphological Classification of the Swamp
This time I took the 16-car train of the Tokaido/Sanyo Shinkansen because many people will be exposed to it, but there are many similar stories elsewhere.
Also, it is not uncommon for models in the same series to look the same at first glance but to have minor differences in specifications depending on the year of manufacture or subsequent modifications. I have a hobby called “morphological taxonomy” to study it.
For example, the switch layout of the seat heater and reading lights on both sides of the middle armrest of the N700A green car is different according to its manufacturing time. The parts manufactured in the previous period are on the same horizontal line as the N700, but the parts manufactured in the later period have changed in the vertical direction. That’s because the panel’s design has changed due to the cancellation of the audio service.
“It looks the same at first glance, but it looks different when you look closely”, not “It looks different at first glance”.