|Former operator(s)||JNR, JR West|
|Rolling stock||24 series coaches|
|Track gauge||1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in)|
The Ginga (銀河) was an overnight express sleeper train operating on the Tōkaidō Main Line between Tokyo and Osaka in Japan. It was initially operated by Japanese National Railways (JNR) and, after its privatization in 1987, by West Japan Railway Company (JR West).
The Ginga followed a similar route to the much faster Tōkaidō Shinkansen high-speed line, and filled the overnight gap in the Shinkansen's timetable. While the last Osaka-Tokyo Shinkansen trains departed at 21:20 (in either direction, as of 2008), Ginga departed Osaka at 22:30 and Tokyo at 23:00, and arrived over an hour before the first Shinkansen arrival the next morning. This made it somewhat popular among business travelers who needed a later departure or earlier arrival than the Shinkansen could provide.
However, the numerous overnight buses on the Tokyo-Osaka route largely captured the budget traveler market, while late evening and early morning flights to Kansai Airport (which opened in 1994 and does not have the noise restrictions facing Osaka Airport) were now used by many business travelers who would otherwise have used Ginga. As a result, Ginga's ridership fell dramatically and finally the train was discontinued upon the 15 March 2008 timetable revision.
On 12 September 2020, JR West introduced a new overnight express sleeper using the Ginga name, the West Express Ginga.
Ginga trains in 2008 consisted of an EF65-1000 electric locomotive, one "A-class" (first class) sleeper car, and seven "B-class" (second-class) sleeper cars. 24 series sleeping cars were used on this train.
The westbound Ginga (train No. 101) stopped at Tokyo, Shinagawa, Yokohama, Ōfuna, Odawara, Atami, Shizuoka, Gifu, Maibara, Ōtsu, Kyōto, Shin-Ōsaka and Ōsaka.
The eastbound Ginga (train No. 102) stopped at Osaka, Shin-Osaka, Kyoto, Ōtsu, Maibara, Nagoya, Fuji, Numazu, Atami, Odawara, Ōfuna, Yokohama, Shinagawa, and Tokyo.
The name "Ginga" was first carried from the start of the 15 September 1949 timetable revision by the overnight sleeper train departing from Tokyo at 20:30 to Osaka (arriving at 07:54) and the opposite working from Osaka (21:00) to Tokyo (07:30). Other overnight trains between Tokyo and Osaka were named Myōjō and Ryūsei. Initially formed of first and second class cars only, third class seating cars were added to the Ginga formation from 24 September the same year.
With the completion of electrification to Inazawa, overnight trains between Tokyo and Osaka were increased to four return workings nightly: Myōjō, Ginga, Suisei, and Gekkō. From this date, the Ginga operated from Tokyo (20:30) to Kobe (08:25), with the opposite working from Kobe (20:10) to Tokyo (07:53). From 20 March 1956, third-class sleeping cars were included in the train formations.
With the completion of electrification on the Tōkaidō Mainline, journey times were reduced, and the Ginga timings became Tokyo (21:00) to Kobe (08:20), with the opposite working from Kobe (21:10) to Tokyo (09:03).
This timetable revision saw the emergence of the Akatsuki limited express night train, and the Ginga timings became Tokyo (21:00) to Kobe (07:57), with the opposite working from Kobe (20:50) to Tokyo (08:02). Train formation was MaNi + MaRoNe40 + MaRoNe41 + SuRo54 x3 + NaHaNe10 x4 + SuHa x4 + OHaFu.
With an increase in daytime limited express trains between Tokyo and Osaka, the Ginga became all sleeping car accommodation from this timetable revision. Timings became Tokyo (20:40) to Kobe (07:45), with the opposite working from Kobe (20:40) to Tokyo (07:40).
This major timetable revision known as yon-san-tō saw the Ginga and Myōjō services combined to become Ginga 1 and Ginga 2. Timings for Ginga 1 were Tokyo (21:45) to Osaka (07:17), with the opposite working from Osaka (21:30) to Tokyo (07:05). Timings for Ginga 2 were Tokyo (22:40) to Himeji (09:29), with the opposite working from Himeji (21:05) to Tokyo (09:39).
With the completion of the Sanyo Shinkansen, the Ginga 1 and Ginga 2. services were cut back to one return working between Tokyo and Osaka. Timings were Tokyo (22:45) to Osaka (08:00), with the opposite working from Osaka (23:10) to Tokyo (09:36).
From 20 February 1976, the ageing rolling stock was replaced by more modern 20 series "Blue Train" sleeping cars cascaded from the Tsurugi service between Osaka and Niigata, which had been upgraded to 24 series sleeping cars. Haulage was by JNR Class EF58 electric locomotives until September 1980, when these were replaced by JNR Class EF65 locomotives.
From 14 March 1985, the Ginga 20 series rolling stock was replaced by 14 series sleeping cars displaced by the use of 583 series EMUs on Kitaguni services. The following year, from the 1 November 1986 timetable revision, the 14 series rolling stock was replaced by 24/25 series sleeping cars.
The Tōkaidō Main Line is a major Japanese railway line of the Japan Railways Group network, connecting Tokyo and Kōbe stations. It is 589.5 km (366.3 mi) long, not counting its many freight feeder lines around the major cities. The high-speed Tōkaidō Shinkansen largely parallels the line.
Nozomi is the fastest train service running on the Tokaido & San'yō Shinkansen lines in Japan. The service stops at only the largest stations, and along the stretch between Shin-Ōsaka and Hakata, Nozomi services using N700 series equipment reach speeds of 300 km/h (186 mph). The trip between Tokyo and Osaka, a distance of 515 kilometres (320 mi), takes 2 hours 21 minutes on the fastest Nozomi service.
The Tokaido Shinkansen is a Japanese high-speed rail line that is part of the nationwide Shinkansen network. Along with the Sanyo Shinkansen, it forms a continuous high-speed railway through the Taiheiyō Belt, also known as the Tokaido corridor. Upon its opening in 1964 between Tokyo and Shin-Ōsaka, it was heralded as the first high-speed rail line in the world. Since 1987 it has been operated by the Central Japan Railway Company, prior to that by Japanese National Railways (JNR). Besides being the oldest HSR line, it is also one of the most heavily used.
Hikari is the name of a high-speed train service running on the Tokaido and San'yō Shinkansen "bullet train" lines in Japan. Slower than the premier Nozomi but faster than the all-stations Kodama, the Hikari is the fastest train service on the Tokaido and Sanyo Shinkansen that can be used with the Japan Rail Pass, which is not valid for travel on the Nozomi or Mizuho trains.
Kodama is one of the three train services running on the Tōkaidō and San'yō Shinkansen lines. Stopping at every station, the Kodama is the slowest Shinkansen service for trips between major cities such as Tokyo and Osaka. The Kodama trains are used primarily for travel to and from smaller cities such as Atami. Travelers between major cities generally take the Nozomi or Hikari services, which make fewer stops. The name of the train comes from the Japanese word kodama, which means "echo".
The Tsubame (つばめ) is a train service operated by Kyushu Railway Company on the Kyushu Shinkansen in Japan since 2004.
The Haruka is a limited express passenger train service operated by West Japan Railway Company mainly between Kyoto Station to Kansai International Airport in Osaka Prefecture, Japan. Dubbed as the Kansai Airport Limited Express (関空特急) by JR West, it is the fastest train service connecting the airport with downtown Osaka and Kyoto, and also travels to and from Maibara via Kyoto during peak hours. As Haruka trains travel over the Umeda Freight Line, they do not serve Osaka Station. A change of trains is required at either Tennoji or Shin-Ōsaka.
The Fuji (富士) was a sleeper train that formerly operated between Tokyo and Ōita in Japan. Operated by the Kyushu Railway Company and classified as a limited express service, it was discontinued from the start of the revised timetable on 14 March 2009.
The Akatsuki was an overnight sleeper train service in Japan operated by JR West from Kyoto Station to Nagasaki Station and return. It ran on the Tōkaido, Sanyō, Kagoshima, and Nagasaki main lines.
The Nihonkai was a seasonal overnight train which was operated by the East Japan Railway Company. The train ran overnight between Osaka Station and Aomori Station using the Tōkaidō Main Line, Kosei Line, Hokuriku Main Line, Shinetsu Main Line, Uetsu Main Line, and Ōu Main Line.
Blue Trains in Japan were long-distance sleeper trains, nicknamed as such for the color of the train cars. They consisted of 20-, 14- or 24-series sleeper cars, and connected major destinations within Japan across long distances. For a time, other routes were served by a fleet of newer limited-express overnight trains which were not blue.
The Midori is a limited express train service which runs between Hakata and Sasebo in Kyushu, Japan, operated by the Kyushu Railway Company.
The Sakura is a high-speed shinkansen service operated between Shin-Osaka and Kagoshima-Chūō in Japan since 12 March 2011.
The Akebono (あけぼの) was a seasonal limited express sleeper train service operated by East Japan Railway Company, which ran from Ueno Station in Tokyo to Aomori, via the Joetsu Line, Uetsu Main Line and Ou Main Line. The journey took approximately 12 hours.
The Hokuriku (北陸) was a "Blue Train" limited express sleeper train service formerly operated by Japanese National Railways (JNR) and later by East Japan Railway Company, which ran between Ueno Station in Tokyo and Kanazawa via the Shinetsu Main Line and Hokuriku Main Line. The journey took more than seven hours. The service was discontinued on 13 March 2010.
The Noto (能登) was a seasonal overnight express train service in Japan operated by East Japan Railway Company, which runs between Ueno Station in Tokyo and Kanazawa via the Shinetsu Main Line and Hokuriku Main Line. The journey takes approximately seven hours. The train was operated as a regular daily service by West Japan Railway Company until 13 March 2010, with operations transferred to JR East from this date. While JR East has not formally announced its discontinuation, no services have operated since February 2012.
The Mizuho (みずほ) is a limited-stop shinkansen service operated between Shin-Osaka and Kagoshima-Chuo in Japan since 12 March 2011, following the completion of the Kyushu Shinkansen. The name was formerly used for a limited express sleeping car service operated by JNR from 1961, which ran from Tokyo to Kumamoto, and was discontinued in December 1994. The name "mizuho (瑞穂)" literally means "abundant rice" in Japanese and "harvest" in the figurative sense. It was also an ancient name of Japan.
The San'yō Shinkansen (山陽新幹線) is a line of the Japanese Shinkansen high-speed rail network, connecting Shin-Osaka in Osaka with Hakata Station in Fukuoka, the two largest cities in western Japan. Operated by the West Japan Railway Company, it is a westward continuation of the Tōkaidō Shinkansen and also serves other major cities in between on Honshu and Kyushu islands such as Kobe, Himeji, Okayama, Hiroshima, and Kitakyushu. The Kyushu Shinkansen continues south of Hakata to Kagoshima. The San'yō Shinkansen connects Hakata with Osaka in two and a half hours, with trains operating at a maximum operating speed of 300 km/h (186 mph) for most of the journey Some Nozomi trains operate continuously on San'yō and Tōkaidō Shinkansen lines, connecting Tokyo and Hakata in five hours.
The Myōkō (妙高) was a limited-stop "Rapid" train service in Japan operated by the East Japan Railway Company between Nagano and Naoetsu on the Shinetsu Main Line from October 1997 until March 2015. The train was named after Mount Myōkō on the boundary between Nagano and Niigata Prefecture.
The Tsurugi (つるぎ) is a high-speed shinkansen train service operated by West Japan Railway Company between Toyama and Kanazawa on the Hokuriku Shinkansen line in Japan. The shinkansen service was introduced on 14 March 2015, but the name was first used for a limited express overnight "Blue Train" sleeping car train service operated by Japanese National Railways (JNR) and later by JR West from 1961 until 1994. It was named after Mount Tsurugi.