“Thank You, Max!” – Japan Retires the Last Double-decker Shinkansen Train

E4 Series Max Shinkansen

Earlier this month, Japan’s highly admired double-decker bullet train went into service for the final time on Oct 1, 2021.

The E4 Series Shinkansen, which made its debut in December 1997, retires after 24 years of passenger service, and had been the highest-capacity high-speed train in the world.

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The E4 Series Shinkansen

E4 Series Max, where “Max” is an acronym for “Multi Amenity eXpress”.

E4 Series Max, where “Max” is an acronym for “Multi Amenity eXpress”.

Manufactured by Hitachi and Kawasaki, the E4 Series Shinkansen is also known as the E4 Series Max, where “Max” is an acronym for “Multi Amenity eXpress”.

E4 Series Max Shinkansen

Two E4 Series Max trains coupled up, making it 16 carriages long.

It can ferry a total of 1,634 seated passengers across 16 carriages while travelling at a maximum speed of 240 km/h!

In comparison, our MRT trains in Singapore have typically 300 seats across six carriages and travels at a maximum speed of only 80 km/h.

End of an Era for the Shinkansen

Many people whom the E4 Series Max had touched the hearts of paid tribute to the E4 Series Max on its final voyage.

Train enthusiasts and staff from the operator, JR East, gathered to commemorate the occasion and bid farewell to the E4 Series’ admirable life.

Farewell from Niigata Station

Farewell from Niigata Station. (Photo: JR East Niigata Branch Office/Japan Rail Cafe)

Farewell from Niigata Shinkansen Rolling Stock Center

Farewell from Niigata Shinkansen Rolling Stock Center. (Photo: JR East Niigata Branch Office/Japan Rail Cafe)

Fans who turned up at Echigo-Yuzawa Station to say farewell.

Fans who turned up at Echigo-Yuzawa Station to say farewell. (Photo: JR East Niigata Branch Office/Japan Rail Cafe)

Farewell Message from SGTrains Trainspotter

Brian, an SGTrains Trainspotter, crafted a post on social media expressing his appreciation to have had the opportunity to travel on the E4 Series Max.

Today marks the end of an era of Max services, as the E4 Series leaves the high speed stage after 24 years of service. From the old to new livery, I was lucky enough to experience the beauty of the E4 Series over its last years of service. Happy retirement, and a literal BIG thank you!

Screengrab: Brian Ngauw/Facebook

Included with his farewell message, Brian also added several pictures of the E4 Series Max, which he photographed during his visit to Japan then.

Screengrab: Brian Ngauw/Facebook

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Related Links
Kawasaki Heavy Industries C151 (KHI) – SGTrains
Siemens C651 (SIE) – SGTrains
Kawasaki Heavy Industries & Nippon Sharyo C751B (KNS) – SGTrains

External Links
JR News: Thank you, Max! E4 series shinkansen makes its Last Run on 1 October – Japan Rail Cafe [Accessed 26 Oct 2021]
End of the line for Japan’s only all-double-decker ‘Max’ E4 series shinkansen bullet train – The Mainichi [Accessed 26 Oct 2021]
E4 Series Shinkansen – Wikipedia [Accessed 26 Oct 2021]

Image credits to JR East Niigata Branch Office via Japan Rail Cafe and Brian Ngauw.

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Loh

I'm a train enthusiast who is broadly interested in the different means of technology which powers Singapore's train network.