The Red List of Trains in Japan

JR East 253 series
Nagaden 2100 series Snow Monkey

Limited Express Nikko, a through-service to Tobu lines.

Data (as of 6 Jul 2024)

Status:  Vulnerable 
 (JR East)
 Least Concern 
 (JR Nagaden)
Constructed in: 1990-96, 2002
Number built: 111
Registered: 18


The 253 series is a limited express train type, designed for Narita Express. Narita Airport had been inconvenient as construction work of railway facilities delayed for years because of terror attacks by extreme communists. Traction and other equipment of the series were based on 205 series and 251 series, but its accommodation was for airport users with large suitcases. In 1992, it won not only the Laurel Prize but also the Brunel Award.

Each 253 series unit was formed of three coaches, but in most cases three intermediate carriages were inserted, to form six coaches. Each Green Car (first class) a compartment for four people, and ordinary-style seating. In standard class carriages, there were transverse seating without reclining feature.

Withdrawal of the series began in 2009 following introduction of E259 series. All but two six-carriage units were deregistered by 2010. The two units were refurbished and reallocated to Limited Express Kinugawa (Shinjuku - Kinugawa-onsen) and Nikko (Shinjuku - Tobu-nikko), which connect Shinjuku and two major tourist spots on Tobu lines. In addition, two three-car units were resold to Nagano Electric Railway (Nagaden), where they were renamed 2100 series Snow Monkey.

Current Operations & Future Prospects

Since 2011, two six-car 253 series units have been used for Limited Express Kinugawa and Nikko. They usually start and terminate at Shinjuku, but services are sometimes extended towards Chiba and Yokohama at peak seasons. There is no plan of withdrawal at present, but they are likely to retire by late-2020s due to a drop in demand.
Nagaden owns two three-car units for its limited express services in Nagano.


Narita Express arrived at Yokohama.

Nagaden 2100 series.

(Updated: 6 Jul 2024)

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