The Red List of Trains in Japan

JR East E257 series

The original style

Data (as of 31 Mar 2024)

Status:  Least Concern 
Constructed in: 2001-05
Number built: 249
Registered: 239


The E257 series is a limited express train type. JR East marked it as "a limited express train for the next generation", and replaced 183 series. The company introduced the E257 series to Chuo Main Line and Chiba area.

Those on Chuo Main Line are formed of nine coaches, with some two-carriage units as spares. The two-car units had never used independently, and always attached to a nine-car unit to form eleven coaches when being in service. They were introduced to Limited Express Azusa (Shinjuku - Matsumoto) and Kaiji (Shinjuku - Kofu). They were replaced with E353 series in 2018-19, and refurbished and reallocated to Tokaido Main Line in 2020. The spare units were scrapped by then.

Those in Chiba Prefecture are formed of five coaches with no Green Car (first class). They form ten coaches at peak hours. However, as limited express services in Chiba Prefecture have been declining because of motorway extensions, considerable units became redundant. Some of them were refurbished and reallocated to Tokaido Main Line as well, while others have been reallocated to northern Kanto region since 2023.

Current Operations & Future Prospects

Those on Tokaido Main Line are used for Limited Express Odoriko (Tokyo - Izukyu-Shimoda and Shuzenji) and Shonan (Shinjuku or Tokyo - Odawara, weekdays only). Trains towards Izukyu-Shimoda are formed of nine coaches, and those towards Shuzenji are five (thus, they form 14 coaches between Tokyo and Atami).

Those in Chiba Prefecture are widely used for Limited Express Sazanami (Tokyo -Kimitsu) and Wakashio (Tokyo - Awa-Kamogawa via Sotobo Line), along with 255 series.

Those for northern Kanto region are used for Limited Express Akagi (Shinjuku or Ueno - Takasaki) and Kusatsu Shima (Ueno - Naganoharakusatsuguchi).

In addition, several units, some of which are repainted, engage in extra services in peak seasons and school trip trains.


Those on Chuo Main Line were painted white with diamond patterns.

Those allocated to Chiba are painted yellow and blue.

The refurbished unit for Tokaido Main Line (Odoriko).

(Updated: 31 Mar 2024)

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