The Red List of Trains in Japan

JR West 221 series Amenity Liner

Before refurbishment

Data (as of 31 Mar 2024)

Status:  Least Concern 
Constructed in: 1989-92
Number built: 474
Registered: 474


The 221 series are suburban trains, the first type that JR West developed. The company named it Amenity Liner, but very few people remember it. The series were introduced to Yamatoji Line (Kansai Main Line) and Biwako, Kyoto and Kobe Lines (Tokaido Main and San-yo Main Lines), where private railways like Kintetsu and Hankyu had been providing far more frequent and cheaper services than Japanese National Railways.

The exterior is very different from any other trains that JR West had been using (i.e. trains introduced by JNR). There are three sets of doors per carriage with transerse seating. Traction is similar to that of 205 series and 213 series. Each unit consists of two, four, six or eight coaches, and they can be coupled with some 223 series.

The 221 series have been used widely across the network in Kyoto, Osaka, Hyogo, Nara and Wakayama Prefectures. They were initially used for New Rapid services in Kyoto, Osaka and Kobe areas, but soon superseded by 223 series. All 221 series units were refurbished in 2012-19, but they have gradually shifted to less important lines since 2020 as described below rather than Tokaido Main Line services (also known as) Biwako, Kyoto and Kobe Lines.

Current Operations & Future Prospects

The 221 series trains are widely used in Kansai Region, mainly rapid and stopping services on Osaka-Hgashi Line, Sagano Line (San-in Main Line), Yamatoji Line (Kansai Main Line) and other branch or rural lines in the Region. They are also common on Osaka Loop Line.


After refurbishment (but hasn't changed a lot).

(Updated: 31 Mar 2024)

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