The Red List of Trains in Japan

800 series Bullet Train

The first unit

Data (as of 6 Jul 2024)

Status:  Near Threatened 
Constructed in: 2003-05, 2009-10
Number built: 54
Registered: 48


The 800 series was introduced to Kyushu Shinkansen when part of the line (between Shin-Yatsushiro and Kagoshima-Chuo) was opened in 2004. It is based on 700 series but they look very different. The 800 series is now the only Shinkansen rolling stock designed by JR Kyushu, and it is the only bullet train type that can never be seen in Tokyo.

The maximum speed of the 800 series is as low as 260 km/h (162 mph) as Kyushu Shinkansen has steeper gradients than Sanyo Shinkansen, but its acceleration is higher than the 700 series. Those introduced after 2009 are sometimes called "new 800 series" and have more comfortable seats as well as slightly different exterior design (particularly headlights and a red band).

Each unit is formed of six coaches with no Green Car (first class). Two units can be used for track inspection work while another one can carry inspection devices for power, signalling systems and communication. Hence, Dr Yellow does not run Kyushu Shinkansen.

The 800 series trains have been used only on Kyushu Shinkansen since introduction. JR Kyushu planned to use them for through-services to Shin-Shimonoseki on Sanyo Shinkansen so that a few tests were carried out in 2011, but the plan was later scrapped.

Current Operations & Future Prospects

The 800 series is used only on Kyushu Shinkansen between Hakata and Kagoshima-Chuo, both as semi-fast Sakura services and Tsubame services calling at all stations. There is no other passenger service including Hakata-Minami Line.

The fifth unit was fatally damaged by the 2016 Kumamoto Earthquake and thus demolished. The other units are operational, but many of them are more than 20 years old so that they are likely to retire by the late-2020s. Those introduced in 2009-10 might remain longer.


The "new 800 series".

(Updated: 6 Jul 2024)

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