Doctor Yellow (ドクターイエロー) is the nickname for the high-speed test trains that are used on the Japanese Shinkansen ("Bullet Train") dedicated express passenger train routes. The trains have special equipment on board to monitor the condition of the track and overhead wire, including special instrumented bogies and observation blisters.
The "Doctor" part of the name is from their test and diagnostic function, and the "Yellow" part comes from the bright yellow color they are all painted. Some have a blue waistline stripe, some a green one. The original color scheme of yellow with a blue stripe (applied to the Class 921 track-recording cars) was created by reversing the colors (blue with yellow stripe) used on 1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in) narrow-gauge track-recording cars.
In build and appearance, they are very similar to production, passenger carrying Shinkansen trains, and line inspection is carried out at full line speed (i.e. up to 270 km/h or 168 mph on the Tōkaidō Shinkansen).
Seeing as the schedule for this train is not made public, sighting is based purely on luck. It is therefore considered to bring good luck to anyone fortunate enough see it in operation.
The Shinkansen, colloquially known in English as the bullet train, is a network of high-speed railway lines in Japan. Initially, it was built to connect distant Japanese regions with Tokyo, the capital, to aid economic growth and development. Beyond long-distance travel, some sections around the largest metropolitan areas are used as a commuter rail network. It is operated by five Japan Railways Group companies.
The 0 series trains were the first generation Shinkansen trainsets built to run on Japan's new Tōkaidō Shinkansen high-speed line which opened in Japan in 1964. The last remaining trainsets were withdrawn in 2008.
The 100 series was a Japanese Shinkansen high-speed train type which operated between 1985 and 2012 on the Tokaido Shinkansen and Sanyo Shinkansen high-speed lines. They were introduced after the 200 series trains, but their numbering is such because in the days of Japanese National Railways (JNR), Shinkansen types running east of Tokyo were given even numbers and those west of Tokyo odd numbers, hence they were given the next odd number in line after 0, 100. The last remaining examples of the type were withdrawn from service following the last runs on 16 March 2012.
The 300 series was a Japanese high-speed Shinkansen train type, with a top operational speed of 270 km/h, which operated on the Tokaido and Sanyo Shinkansen lines in Japan between 1992 and 2012. When first introduced, they were used on the fastest Nozomi services, being capable of 270 km/h (170 mph). As more were delivered they replaced earlier units on Hikari service and allowed the thus displaced 100 series units to finally in turn displace 0 series units on almost all services.
The 400 series (400系) was a Japanese Shinkansen high-speed train type operated by East Japan Railway Company between 1992 and 2010 on Tsubasa services on Japan's first mini-shinkansen line, the Yamagata Shinkansen branch from the main Tohoku Shinkansen.
The 700 series is a Japanese Shinkansen high-speed train type built between 1997 and 2006, and entering service in 1999. Originally designated as "N300" during the development phase, they formed the next generation of shinkansen vehicles jointly designed by JR Central and JR-West for use on the Tokaido Shinkansen, Hakata Minami Line and the San'yō Shinkansen. Though it has since been withdrawn from service on the Tōkaidō Shinkansen, it still operates on the San'yō Shinkansen and Hakata Minami Line.
The E1 series (E1系) was a high-speed Shinkansen train type operated by East Japan Railway Company in Japan from July 1994 until September 2012. They were the first double-deck trains built for Japan's Shinkansen. They were generally, along with their fellow double-deck class the E4 series, known by the marketing name "Max". The fleet was withdrawn from regular service on 28 September 2012.
The E2 series is a Japanese high-speed Shinkansen train type operated by East Japan Railway Company on the Tohoku Shinkansen high-speed lines in Japan since 1997. They are formed in 8- and 10-car sets. The 8-car sets were used on the Hokuriku Shinkansen, and the 10-car sets are on Tohoku Shinkansen services. The 10-car sets can be coupled to E3 series Komachi sets using couplers hidden behind retracting nose doors.
The E4 series (E4系) is a high-speed shinkansen train type operated by East Japan Railway Company in Japan. They were the second series of completely bi-level Shinkansen trainsets to be built in Japan. They operate on the Tōhoku and Jōetsu Shinkansen, and occasionally on the Nagano Shinkansen. E4 series trains feature double-decker cars to accommodate additional commuter traffic around Tokyo and other urban areas. They were often coupled to 400 series trains on the Tōhoku Shinkansen between Tokyo and Fukushima before the latter retired in April 2010.
The 800 series (800系) is a Japanese Shinkansen high-speed train type operated by Kyushu Railway Company on the Kyushu Shinkansen high-speed rail line. Built by Hitachi, the trains were introduced on the Tsubame services from March 2004.
The N700 series is a Japanese Shinkansen high-speed train with tilting capability developed jointly by JR Central and JR West for use on the Tokaido and San'yō Shinkansen lines since 2007, and also operated by JR Kyushu on the Kyushu Shinkansen line.
Fastech 360 is the name given to a pair of former experimental high-speed EMU trainsets developed by East Japan Railway Company to test technology for the next-generation Shinkansen rolling stock. The name is a portmanteau of Fast, Technology, and 360 km/h, the target operational speed for production trains based on the new technologies. Speeds of up to 405 km/h (251.7 mph) were targeted during performance testing. Results of testing using these trains was incorporated into the E5 series and E6 series trains, entering revenue service from 2011, eventually operating at 320 km/h (198.8 mph).
The SCMaglev is a magnetic levitation (maglev) railway system developed by Central Japan Railway Company and the Railway Technical Research Institute.
The E5 series (E5系) is a Japanese Shinkansen high-speed train type operated by East Japan Railway Company on Tōhoku Shinkansen services since 5 March 2011 and on Hokkaido Shinkansen services since 26 March 2016. A total of 59 10-car sets are on order, with three sets in service in time for the start of new Hayabusa services to Shin-Aomori in March 2011.
The SCMaglev and Railway Park is a railway museum owned by Central Japan Railway Company in Nagoya, Japan. The museum opened on 14 March 2011.
Class 1000 (1000形) was the classification given to the two prototype Japanese Shinkansen trains built for high-speed testing ahead of the opening of the Tōkaidō Shinkansen in 1964.
"300X" was the name given to the Class 955 (955形) 6-car experimental Shinkansen train developed in 1994 by the Central Japan Railway Company in Japan to test technology to be incorporated in future shinkansen trains operating at speeds of 300 km/h (190 mph) or higher.
The Class 962 (962形) was a six-car Japanese Shinkansen train built in 1979 as the prototype for the new trains to be operated on the Tōhoku Shinkansen and Jōetsu Shinkansen routes.
The E7 series (E7系) and W7 series Shinkansen are Japanese high-speed train types operated by East Japan Railway Company and West Japan Railway Company (JR-West), respectively. They were jointly developed.
The H5 series (H5系) is a Japanese Shinkansen high-speed train type owned by Hokkaido Railway Company for use on Tohoku and Hokkaido Shinkansen services since 26 March 2016. Based on the earlier E5 series trains, a total of four 10-car sets were built by Hitachi and Kawasaki Heavy Industries at a cost of approximately 18 billion yen. The first two sets were delivered in October 2014.
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