Have You Seen These 2 Interesting-Looking “Inspection Trains” in Japan?

  • We have already seen or heard about some trains in Japan that either look different or are equipped with extraordinary facilities. Be it the Panda Train, the Genbi Shinkansen, and whatnot, they are all running to give passengers an unforgettable ride. However, did you know that there are a bunch of trains whose sole purpose is to check if the lines are in good condition? Also called “inspection trains,” these trains look a lot different than the usual ones. Among them, check out these two that stand out!

    1. E491 Series

    The E491 Series is a line of inspection trains you would most likely see running on the famous Yamanote Line in Eastern Japan. These trains have a very unusual design that would catch anyone’s eye at the JR East stations. They have less number of cars (usually three) compared to regular passenger trains, and they all look like mini-houses with windows and metal doors, thus giving you a feel of either a castle on wheels or a piece of machinery that fell from the sky.

    The most common type of carriage E491 trains have is the Maya50, which has cameras mounted on it to look at the tracks, signal processors to see whether the communication is clear, and pantographs to monitor the electricity lines that are present atop. The camera technology employed is exceptional as you can check in an omnidirectional way, which would help in improving accuracy.

    If you are a railfan or a trainspotter, you would be happy to see one of these trains passing before you as they do not only look cool but also make musical sounds. They have a unique type of couplers that help them in merging with basically any type of train unit.

    2. Doctor Yellow

    You might have heard about this geeky-looking, yellow-colored Shinkansen that caught everyone’s attention when it allowed passengers aboard during one of its public demonstrations to promote tourism. Even though they look exactly like a high-speed, passenger-carrying bullet train, Doctor Yellow trains are actually meant to look after the lines and tracks and rectify if any problem persists. They are equipped with all kinds of measurement and correction technologies to help other Shinkansens run smoothly.

    There are different series of Doctor Yellow trains that monitor various lines, however, you can put most of them into two main categories based on their appearances – blue-striped and green-striped. Although all the cars are painted yellow, they have the aforementioned stripes to indicate the companies they work for. For example, green stripes indicate that they belong to the JR East, while blue stripes are symbolic of JR West and JR Central.

    Where to Find Them

    As mentioned earlier, you would probably rarely see these trains, however, there are some places where you can definitely witness them.

    If you wanna check out the prototype or the display models of Doctor Yellow, you can head to the SCMAGLEV and Railway Park, which is a very popular museum located in Nagoya in Central Japan.

    When it comes to the E491 Series, there are no display versions available. However, you can easily spot a similar KiYa E193 Series set if you head to the Akita Depot.

    SCMAGLEV and Railway Park Website

    Akita Station Access

    If you are a fan of Japanese trains or you would simply like to know how the train system in Japan works, then you would find the aforementioned much interesting. Don’t forget to share the pictures you have taken and amuse your friends and followers online!