The Red List of Trains in Japan

E4 series MAX Bullet Train

The pink livery

Data (as of 19 Oct 2021)

Status:  Extinct 
Constructed in: 1997-2003
Number built: 208
Retired in: 2021


The E4 series was developed as the second (and last) all-double-decker bullet train. Like its predecessor E1 series, the E4 series was called MAX too. Each unit consisted of eight coaches, and could form 16 coaches when two units were combined together, in which case up to 1,634 passengers could be seated, the biggest number among all high speed rail in the world. However, due to its blunt nose, height and weight, the maximum speed was merely 240 km/h (150 mph).

They were initially used on Joetsu and Tohoku Shinkansen, but they were so slow that JR East decided to replace them on Tohoku Shinkansen with new, far faster trains. The series was supposed to retire by 2016, but it was postponed to 2020 because of the Great Earthquake and Tsunami that hit the country in 2011. The withdrawal plan has been changed again in 2019 due to shortages of E7 series trains, as they were inundated by extreme floods caused by a typhoon.

All units have been withdrawn from service in October 2021, marking the demise of double-decker bullet train in Japan.


The original livery of the E4 series.

(Updated: 27 Nov 2021)

←The List of JR Trains