The Red List of Trains in Japan

JR Central KiHa 85 series

The sharp end (Green Car)

Data (as of 29 Feb 2024)

Status:  Extinct  (JR Central)
 Least Concern  (KTR)
Constructed in: 1988-92, 1997
Number built: 81
Registered: 2


The KiHa 85 series was a type of limited express diesel train. It entered service on Takayama Main Line in 1989 and Kisei Main Line in 1992. JR Central developed the KiHa 85 series just after the privatisation of Japanese National Railways, not only to replace KiHa 80 series (in service: 1960-2002) but also to make journey times shorter and attract more tourists. Thus, the company imported engines from abroad (the first time for diesel multiple units since the Second World War) to raise the maximum speed to 120 km/h (75 mph). Since there were so many tight curves and steep gradients on Takayama Main Line, JR Central adopted highly responsive brakes and improved bogies.

The KiHa 85 series trains had been used for Hida (Nagoya - Toyama via Takayama Main Line) and Nanki (Nagoya - Kii-Katsuura) until 2023. Some Hida services joined to Limited Express Kita Alps (Meitetsu 8500 series) in 1991-2001. The KiHa 85s were also used for Home Liner services on Taita and Tokaido Main Line until 2012. Most carriages have been scrapped, but Kyoto Tango Railway purchased a few, renamed them KTR 8500 series in 2023.

Current Operations & Future Prospects

Kyoto Tango Railway KTR 8500 series is expected to enter service in due course.


The blunt end with a center gangway.

(Updated: 29 Feb 2024)

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