Thunderbird (train)

Last updated

Thunderbird
JRW Series683-4000R.jpg
A refurbished JR-West 683-4000 series train on a Thunderbird service in April 2022
Overview
Service type Limited express
StatusOperational
LocaleJapan
First service1995
Current operator(s) JR West
Route
Line(s) used Tokaido Line (JR Kyoto Line), Kosei Line
On-board services
Other facilitiesUniversal Toilets
Technical
Rolling stock 681 series, 683 series
Track gauge 1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in)

The Thunderbird (サンダーバード, Sandābādo) is a limited express train service operated by the West Japan Railway Company (JR West) between Osaka and Tsuruga in Japan, using portions of the Tokaido Main Line and Kosei Line.

Contents

Station stops

Stations in parentheses are not served by all services.

Thunderbird

Osaka Tsuruga: Osaka - Shin-Osaka - (Takatsuki) - Kyoto - (Katata) - (Omi-Imazu ) - Tsuruga

Business Thunderbird

(an extra train which runs from Osaka to Kanazawa in the morning on weekdays after holidays)

Osaka → Shin-Osaka → Kyoto → Tsuruga[ needs update ]

Rolling stock

A JR-West 681 series train on a Thunderbird service in April 2022 JRW Series681-0 V12.jpg
A JR-West 681 series train on a Thunderbird service in April 2022

Formations

Services are formed as follows:

Thunderbird

Car No.123456789
AccommodationGreenReservedReservedReservedReservedReservedReservedReservedReserved
Car No.123456789101112
AccommodationGreenReservedReservedReservedReservedReservedReservedReservedReservedReservedReservedReserved

Business Thunderbird

Car No.123
AccommodationReservedReservedReserved

History

From the start of the 20 April 1995 timetable revision, new 681 series EMUs were introduced on Osaka to Toyama services, named Super Raichō (Thunderbird). [1] These became simply Thunderbird from March 1997.

The last remaining Raichō service was discontinued from the start of the 12 March 2011 timetable revision, with all trains subsequently using the Thunderbird name. [2]

From the start of the revised timetable on 14 March 2015, with the opening of the Hokuriku Shinkansen, all Thunderbird services were shortened for the first time to run between Osaka, Kanazawa and Wakura-Onsen. [3]

From the start of the revised timetable on 16 March 2024, all Thunderbird services were shortened for the second time to run between Osaka and Tsuruga with the opening of the extension of the Hokuriku Shinkansen between Kanazawa and Tsuruga. [4] With effect from the same date, all non-reserved seating was discontinued on all Thunderbird services. [5]

Incidents

On 3 August 2006, a woman was raped by a 36-year-old man in a train toilet while travelling on the Thunderbird 50 service (just after Fukui Station), despite the car being occupied by approximately 40 other passengers. [6] As a result, JR West introduced a "women-only" section in the reserved-seating cars of Raichō and Thunderbird trains from October 2007, and JR East added prominent "SOS" stickers inside all of its trains in June 2007. [7] On 17 January 2008, the district court in Otsu sentenced the man to 18 years in prison. [8]

Future developments

All of the 681 and 683 series trainsets used on Thunderbird limited express services are scheduled to undergo a programme of refurbishment from autumn 2015 until the end of fiscal 2018. [9]

See also

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References

  1. 列車名鑑1995[Train Name Directory 1995]. Japan: Railway Journal. August 1995.
  2. 特急「雷鳥」、来年3月で引退=「サンダーバード」に統一―JR西 ["Raichō" Limited express to be retired next March and standardized with "Thunderbird" - JR West] (in Japanese). Yahoo Japan Corporation. 17 December 2010. Archived from the original on 20 December 2010. Retrieved 17 December 2010.
  3. 北陸新幹線長野〜金沢駅間開業時の特急・快速列車について (PDF) (Press release). West Japan Railway Company. 27 August 2014. Retrieved 27 August 2014.
  4. "金沢―敦賀間の特急サンダーバード、しらさぎ廃止を発表 JR西日本、敦賀駅で乗り換え必要に". Fukui Shimbun ONLINE (in Japanese). 31 August 2023. Archived from the original on 31 August 2023. Retrieved 16 March 2024.
  5. "JR西日本,3月16日にダイヤ改正を実施 〜北陸新幹線 金沢—敦賀間が延伸開業〜" [Timetable revisions on JR West effective 16 March 2024]. Japan Railfan Magazine Online (in Japanese). 15 December 2023. Archived from the original on 17 December 2023. Retrieved 16 March 2024.
  6. "Train rapist took advantage of passengers' apathy, fear in night of terror". Japan Today. Japan. 2 May 2007. Archived from the original on 16 May 2007.
  7. "'SOS' stickers going up in every JR East car". The Japan Times. Japan: The Japan Times Ltd. 24 May 2007. Archived from the original on 9 April 2016. Retrieved 29 January 2017.
  8. "Train rapist who cowed passengers gets 18 years". The Japan Times. Japan: The Japan Times Ltd. 18 January 2008. Archived from the original on 29 January 2017. Retrieved 29 January 2017.
  9. より快適に!北陸~近畿を結ぶ特急「サンダーバード」、車両リニューアルへ [Rolling stock to be refurbished for Thunderbird limited express trains linking Hokuriku and Kinki] (in Japanese). Japan: Tetsudo Shimbun. 28 January 2015. Retrieved 28 January 2015.