|First service||1 October 1930 (Limited express)|
13 March 2004 (Shinkansen)
|Current operator(s)||JR Kyushu|
|End||Kumamoto or Kagoshima-Chūō|
|Class(es)||Ordinary class + Green class|
|Catering facilities||Trolley refreshment service|
|Rolling stock||800 series/N700-7000 series/N700-8000 series|
|Track gauge||1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in)|
|Electrification||25 kV AC, 60 Hz|
|Operating speed||260 km/h (160 mph)|
The Tsubame (つばめ) is a train service operated by Kyushu Railway Company (JR Kyushu) on the Kyushu Shinkansen in Japan since 2004.
The word tsubame (燕) in Japanese means "swallow", and has been used on a succession of limited express trains on the Tokaido and Sanyo Main Line in Japan since 1930.
The Tsubame name (originally written as "燕") was first used from 1 October 1930 for limited express services operating between Tokyo and Kobe , hauled by JNR Class C51 and JNR Class C53 steam locomotives. These services operated until 30 September 1943.
The name was revived (this time written as "つばめ") from 1 January 1950 for limited express services operating between Tokyo and Osaka , hauled by JNR Class C62 steam and JNR Class EF58 electric locomotives, and later by 151 series electric multiple unit (EMU) trains. From 1 October 1964, following the opening of the Tōkaidō Shinkansen, the name was reassigned to limited express trains operating between Shin-Osaka and Hakata. From 1 October 1965, services were extended to operate between Nagoya and Hakata, operated by 481 and 583 series EMUs. These services continued until 9 March 1975.
The Tsubame name was once again revived by JR Kyushu from 15 July 1992 for limited express services operating on the Kagoshima Main Line between Mojiko /Hakata and Nishi-Kagoshima (now Kagoshima-Chūō Station), operated using new 787 series EMUs in 6-, 7-, or 11-car formations.These services operated until 12 March 2004, the day before the new Kyushu Shinkansen opened.
With the start of services on the Kyushu Shinkansen between Shin-Yatsushiro and Kagoshima-Chūō from 13 March 2004, new Relay Tsubame services commenced on the Kagoshima Main Line between Hakata and Shin-Yatsushiro using 787 series EMUs in 7-, 8-, and 11-car formations.The operation of the Relay Tsubame service was unique, as it was the only station in Japan where normal trains stopped at platforms adjacent to the shinkansen platforms. This was to facilitate transfer of passengers from shinkansen to Relay Tsubame and vice versa. Normally, shinkansen platforms are physically separated from normal train platforms with fare gates and may be at a different level (usually above the normal train platforms).
When the remainder of the Kyushu Shinkansen was opened on 12 March 2011, the Tsubame became an all-stations service (similar to the Kodama on the Tokaido and Sanyo Shinkansen), operating primarily as shuttle services between Hakata and Kumamoto. Services operate twice per hour in each direction during the morning and evening, and once per hour during the middle of the day. Some Tsubame services also run to/from Kagoshima-Chūō.
Shinkansen train services are formed of eight-car N700 series (JR West N700-7000 series and JR Kyushu N700-8000 series) trains or six-car JR Kyushu 800 series trains.
Eight-car N700 series services are formed as follows, with car 1 at the Kagoshima-Chūō (southern) end. Cars 1 to 3 are ordinary-class cars with 2+3 seating, and cars 4 to 8 are ordinary-class cars with 2+2 seating. Half of car 6 has "Green car" (first class) 2+2 seating. All cars are no-smoking except for smoking compartments in cars 3 and 7.
On some train services, cars 4 and 5 are also non-reserved.
Six-car 800 series services are formed as follows, with car 1 at the Kagoshima-Chūō (southern) end. All accommodation is ordinary class with 2+2 seating. All cars are no-smoking.
On some train services, car 4 is also non-reserved.
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.
Nozomi is the fastest train service running on the Tōkaidō/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.
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The Kyushu Shinkansen is a Japanese high-speed railway line between the cities of Fukuoka and Kagoshima in Kyushu, running parallel to the existing Kagoshima Main Line and operated by JR Kyushu. It is an extension of the San'yō Shinkansen from Honshu. The southern 127 km (79 mi) was constructed first because the equivalent section of the former Kagoshima Main Line is single track, and thus a significant improvement in transit time was gained when this dual track section opened on 13 March 2004, despite the need for passengers to change to a Relay Tsubame narrow gauge train at Shin-Yatsushiro for the remainder of the journey to Hakata. The northern 130 km (81 mi) section opened on 12 March 2011, enabling through-services to Shin-Osaka.
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.
Shin-Yatsushiro Station is a railway station in Yatsushiro, Kumamoto Prefecture, Japan, operated by Kyushu Railway Company.
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.
Kamome (かもめ) is a limited express train operated by JR Kyushu in Japan. It operates between Hakata and Nagasaki on the Kagoshima Main Line and the Nagasaki Main Line. Kamome means seagull in Japanese.
The Ariake (有明) was a limited express train service operated in Kyushu, Japan by Kyushu Railway Company. It runs between Hakata in Fukuoka Prefecture and Kumamoto in Kumamoto Prefecture. It operated from 1 October 1950 to 12 March 2021.
The Midori is a limited express train service which runs between Hakata and Sasebo in Kyushu, Japan, operated by the Kyushu Railway Company.
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The 885 series (885系) is an AC electric multiple unit (EMU) train type operated on limited express services by Kyushu Railway Company in Japan. The type is part of Hitachi's A-train family of multiple units.
The Hayato no Kaze is a limited express service in Japan which runs between Kagoshima-Chūō Station and Yoshimatsu Station via the Kagoshima Main Line, Nippō Main Line, and Hisatsu Line. It is operated by Kyushu Railway Company.
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.
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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.
Eiji Mitooka is a Japanese industrial designer, illustrator, and managing director of the industrial design company Don Design Associates (ドーンデザイン研究所). He also works as a design consultant for Kyushu Railway Company.
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