200 Series Shinkansen - Design



The 200 Series Shinkansen trains resemble the earlier 0 series trains in styling (some later units had the pointed 'shark nose' of the 100 series), but are lighter and more powerful, since these two lines are mountain routes and have steeper gradients. These lines are also prone to snowfall and the trains have small snowplows fitted, as well as protection of equipment against snow.

They were originally painted in ivory with a green window band and lower bodyside band, but a number of sets were refurbished and painted into a white-upper/dark blue-lower scheme with new wrap-around cab windows from 1999.

The first units were capable of 210 km/h (130 mph) but later ones can do 240 km/h (150 mph), and four were converted to be capable of 275 km/h (171 mph). Some units were also modified with retractable couplers in the nose for coupling with Yamagata Shinkansen Tsubasa and Akita Shinkansen Komachi Mini-shinkansen sets, but these are no longer in service. In addition, some of the later 200 series shinkansen trains were fitted with double-deck cars, which had semi-open standard-class compartments on the lower deck and green class (first class) seating on the upper deck. These too have been removed from service.

Withdrawal of the earlier units began in 1997, and the last remaining unrefurbished set was withdrawn in May 2007.

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