The Red List of Trains in Japan

JR West 285 series Sunrise Express

Data (as of 6 Jul 2024)

Status:  Vulnerable 
Constructed in: 1998
Number built: 35
Registered: 35


The 285 series train is a type of sleeper limited express train, with five seven-carriage units in total. It was developed both by JR Central and JR West, but JR West took the initiative in the process. It is the second (and possibly the last) "electric multiple unit for sleeper train" after 583 series. Sleeper trains in Japan has been declining since the 1970s, but both JRs found that Limited Express Izumo and Seto could still be profitable if old-fashioned coaches (14 series and 24 series) were replaced with new trains.

Unlike other sleeper trains at that time, JR Central and West decided to develop new EMUs as locomotive-hauled trains were slow and inefficient. Five out of seven carriages of the 285 series are double-decker, while the rest two have motors and traction. There is a gangway in the middle of a front end, allowing people to move between units when two trains are coupled together.

There are many types of accommodation: "Single DX" is Class A Berth (first class); "Sunrise Twin", "Single Twin", "Single" and "Solo" are Class B (standard class); and "Nobi Nobi seat" is standard seating class. All but "Nobi Nobi" are compartments, while "Nobi Nobi" is not. There are also shower rooms, small lounges and vending machines but no dining car.

The 285 series trains have been used for Limited Express Sunrise Izumo (Tokyo - Izumoshi) and Sunrise Seto (Tokyo - Takamatsu). Both trains are joined to or separated from each other at Okayama. They were also used for Sunrise Yume (Tokyo - Shimonoseki) during peak seasons in the past.

Current Operations & Future Prospects

The 285 series is used for the last sleeper trains in Japan, namely Sunrise Izumo (Tokyo - Izumoshi via Hakubi Line) and Sunrise Seto (Tokyo - Takamatsu) as mentioned above. Sunrise Seto is extented to Kotohira on certain days. JR Central owns two units and JR West has three, but all five units are managed by JR West at Goto Depot in Tottori Prefecture. Many train faults have been reported especially since 2023, making its future bleak.

(Updated: 6 Jul 2024)

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