The Red List of Trains in Japan

JR East 651 series

The original style

Data (as of 14 Oct 2023)

Status:  Extinct 
Constructed in: 1988-92
Number built: 99
Retired in: 2023


The 651 series was a type of dual-voltage limited express train. It was designed for limited express trains on Joban Line, with powerful motors and enhanced braking systems. These new features enabled the train to run at 130 km/h (81 mph), faster than 485 series. Since Joban Line locates the eastern coast and thus warm despite being in the northeast region, the 651 series is not compatible with severe winter. Nine four and seven-carriage units were delivered in total.

The 651 series trains were initially used for Limited Express Super Hitachi (Ueno - Sendai via Joban Line), replacing the 485 series. At the time of introduction, JR East advertised them branding as a "wonderful guy with tuxedo-body". Services were formed of up to eleven coaches, and a few of them were also used for Fresh Hitachi (Ueno - Katsuta) as well. The 651 series were replaced with E657 series by 2015.

Some 651 series units were scrapped, but most seven-car units were converted to be compatible only with DC 1500V and reallocated to Takasaki Line in 2014. They ran as Limited Express Akagi (Ueno - Takasaki) and Kusatsu (Ueno - Naganohara-Kusatsuguchi) until 2023. Others were used for seasonal trains and group tours until 2019. Four-car units were mostly demolished by 2015, though two of them were used for Joban Line stopping services until 2020.

In addition, a four-car unit was converted to Izu Craile, a train for tourists running between Odawara and Izukyu-Shimoda. It was unsuccessful so that it was withdrawn in 2020, less than four years after reintroduction.


Those converted to be compatible with DC only had orange bands.

(Updated: 14 Oct 2023)

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