HB-E210 Series Railcars Unveiled


Rail Update Japan

Unveiled HB-E210 series diesel hybrid railcars to be placed in service on Senseki Tohoku Line. -For newly configured Senseki Tohoku Line -

JR East’s First Diesel Hybrid Train for Commuting Workers and Students

The Sendai Operations Branch of East Japan Railway Company (JR East) presented its new HB-E210 series diesel hybrid train to the media on January 22 at the Kogota Transport Area. The railcars will run on the Senseki Tohoku Line, a newly configured route scheduled to be in operation by June this year. They are the company’s first diesel hybrids designed specifically for commuting workers and students.

In 2007, JR East became the first in the world to use hybrid trains for revenue services when it began running KiHa E200 series trains (nicknamed Koumi) on the Koumi Line. The company followed up with three other hybrids, the Resort View Furusato, the Resort Asunaro, and the Resort Shirakami (Aoike trainset). The new HB-E210 trains therefore become the company’s fifth hybrid, but the first to be specifically designed for commuter services, with three sets of doors on each car side.

The trains will run on the Senseki Tohoku Line, a newly configured route that will enter service upon reopening of the final section of the Senseki Line, operating on part of the Tohoku Main Line (AC current), the Senseki Line (DC current), and a non-electrified interconnecting section linking these two lines.


The route extends from Sendai on the Tohoku Main Line to Shiogama, then on the interconnection track linking the Tohoku and Senseki lines between Shiogama and Takagimachi, and then from Takagimachi to Ishinomaki on the Senseki Line. The 300m interconnection track is being constructed where the two lines are in close proximity, between Matsushima Kaigan and Takagimachi on the Senseki Line, and between Shiogama and Matsushima on the Tohoku Main Line.

The project adds to the reconstruction efforts of cities and towns along the Senseki Line, which were badly damaged in the 2011 earthquake. The new rail interconnection will permit through services between Ishinomaki (Senseki Line) and Sendai (Tohoku Main Line), reducing travel time to about one hour, approximately 10 minutes less than before the earthquake.

The media debut presented one two-car trainset (the company intends to run a total of 16 HB-E210 stainless steel cars on the route). One trainset will have a seating capacity of 90 on a mixture of transverse and longitudinal seats, and a total capacity of 262.

A machine room located in part of the passenger compartment contains equipment for the hybrid system and other devices. The system cuts down on fuel consumption, and reduces by about 60% the emission of nitrogen oxides and particulates, which are both noxious substances in diesel exhaust gases. Each railcar has one LCD screen offering users easy-to-understand updates on the on-going hybrid operations.

With LEDs providing all interior lighting, the power for illumination is around 60% less than what fluorescent lights consume. Lavatories are wheelchair user-friendly.

The Senseki and Tohoku lines have different platform heights, so a step that can move vertically has been installed for passenger doorways.

The car structure is designed to cope well with the cold and snowy winter conditions of the Sendai area, and the emergency (stand-by) batteries permit operations during abnormal circumstances.

The exterior color scheme uses pink (recalling the cherry blossoms of scenic spots along the Tohoku Main Line), blue (the familiar color for the Senseki Line), and green (where the pink and blue overlap to make green squares, symbolizing the link between the Sendai and Ishinomaki areas, while at the same time representing the company’s corporate color).

The new railcars began trial runs on the same day as the media unveiling. They will undergo performance tests and the crew will receive training, in preparation for the day in June when services will finally be restored over the entire Senseki Line.

This article appeared in the Kotsu Shimbun newspaper on January 26, 2015. We thank the publisher, Kotsu Shimbun-sha, for granting us permission to present the article in translation.


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