The Red List of Trains in Japan

JNR 211 series

The Shonan Livery

Data (as of 6 Jul 2024)

Status:  Critically Endangered 
 (JR Central)
 Vulnerable 
 (JR East)
 Extinct 
 (JR West)
Constructed in: 1985-91
Number built: 827*
Registered: 380

*Including 24 Green Car coaches converted from 113 series.


History

The 211 series was developed by Japanese National Railways as a completely new suburban EMU type, replacing 113 series and 115 series. Unlike those predecessors, the 211 series trains have stainless steel bodies (except Super Saloon Yumeji, which is described below) and regenerative brakes. 258 carriages were introduced by JNR to major suburban lines in Greater Tokyo Area (i.e. Tokaido Main, Takasaki and Tohoku Main Lines) as well as Tokaido Main Line in Nagoya area. 569 more were introduced by three JRs.

JR East had used the 211 series on three major lines mentioned above until 2014. They formed up to 15 coaches including two Green Cars (first class), and they were also used on the early days of Shonan-Shinjuku Line. In addition, several five-carriage units were used in Chiba Prefecture until 2013. Many of them were reallocated to northern Greater Tokyo Area and Chuo Main Line.

JR Central introduced the series to Nagoya and Shizuoka area. Eight carriages introduced by JNR were initially painted blue, but they have had Shonan Livery stripes since 1988 along with the rest of them. Those in Nagoya area had been used mostly for Chuo Main Line since the 1990s but withdrawn from the region in 2023 (except very few as a stopgap).

JR West had only two carriages built in 1988. They formed three coaches with one 213 series carriage, and the unit was called Super Saloon Yumeji, a de facto "Joyful Train". It was mainly used for rail tours as well as Marine Liner services (Okayama - Takamatsu), but retired in 2010.


Current Operations & Future Prospects

At present, JR East and JR Central are using the 211 series. Both companies have plans of withdrawal.

JR East allocates the series to Nagano and Takasaki Depots. They are shortened to three, four or six-carriage units. Those in Nagano are used for stopping services on Chuo Main Line (Tachikawa - Nakatsugawa) as well as Oito, Shin-etsu Main and Shinonoi Lines. Furthermore, they are used for through-services towards Iida Line of JR Central and Fujikyu Railway.
Those in Takasaki are used for Jōetsu Line as well as Agatsuma, Ryōmō and Shin-etsu Lines. JR East planned to replace them with refurbished-E233 series from the mid-2020s, but a trade union revealed that it has been changed, and those in Takasaki would remain operational for a while.

JR Central uses the 211 series in Shizuoka area (Gotemba, Minobu and Tokaido Main Lines). Newspapers reported that remaining units would be withdrawn by March 2025. Sangi Railway in Mie Prefecture purchased five three-car units for Sangi Line to replace 60-year-old trains.


Photos

Those on Tokaido Main Line (Tokyo Area) retired in 2012, three years before Ueno-Tokyo Line was opened.



Many of them were reallocated to Nagano and repainted pale blue and grey.



Some 211 series in Chiba Prefecture had two different pantographs, to defrost overhead wires.



Those owned by JR Central often couple with 313 series.




(Updated: 6 Jul 2024)



←The List of JR Trains