The Red List of Trains in Japan

JR East E531 series

Data (as of 29 Feb 2024)

Status:  Least Concern 
Constructed in: 2005-20, 2024
Number built: 461
Registered: 460


The E531 series is a type of dual-voltage suburban train for Joban Line. JR East developed the series not only to replace old trains of Japanese National Railways, but also to win the race with Tsukuba Express, a private railway that operates trains faster than JR. Hence, JR East introduced the series with Green Cars (first class), and capability of running at 130 km/h (81 mph).

There are ten and five-coach units, and can form 15 coaches. They were introduced to Joban and Mito Lines, making journey times shorter than their predecessors. In 2015, a slightly modified version was introduced to Joban Line, and later Utsunomiya Line (mostly between Kuroiso and Shin-Shirakawa).

Current Operations & Future Prospects

The E531 series is the most common type on Joban Line, but run less frequently on Ueno-Tokyo Line. Those introduced in the 2000s are gradually being refurbished with new traction. JR East would possibly order more units to replace E501 series in the near future.

The series is also used on Mito and Utsunomiya Lines (northern Tochigi Prefecture) as they require the dual-voltage feature.

(Updated: 29 Feb 2024)

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