By TATSUYA SHIMADA/ Staff Writer
September 25, 2021 at 16:55 JST
Visitors to JR Omiya Station in Saitama Prefecture snapped photos and children waved at the “Max” double-decker E4 model Joetsu Shinkansen train that will be retired from service on Oct. 1.
The Joetsu Shinkansen is the last line to use the double-decker trains.
The E4 series consisted of eight double-decker cars. But its coupling device enabled it to become a 16-car train capable of seating 1,634 passengers, making it the world’s highest-capacity high-speed train.
But with the extension of Shinkansen lines to the Hokuriku and Hokkaido regions in the north, the emphasis shifted from high capacity to speed, leading East Japan Railway Co. to decide to stop operating its fleet of double-decker trains.
Initially, the Max Shinkansen trains were to have been retired in fiscal 2020, but this was extended until this autumn because the Max trains were used in place of some Hokuriku Shinkansen trains damaged in flooding brought on by a typhoon in 2019.
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