E4 series on a Max Toki service, January 2006
|Opening||15 November 1982|
|Rolling stock||200/E4 series|
|Line length||269.5 km (167.5 mi)|
|Track gauge||1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in)|
|Electrification||25 kV AC, 50 Hz, overhead catenary|
|Operating speed||245 km/h (150 mph)|
- Toki, Tokyo - Niigata
- Max Toki, Tokyo - Niigata
- Tanigawa, Tokyo - Echigo-Yuzawa (since October 1997)
- Max Tanigawa, Tokyo - Echigo-Yuzawa (since October 1997)
- Asahi, Tokyo - Niigata (discontinued December 2002)
- Max Asahi, Tokyo - Niigata (discontinued December 2002)
As of March 2013, the following train types operate on Joetsu Shinkansen services.
- E2 series: Toki / Tanigawa (since January 2013)
- E4 series: Max Toki / Max Tanigawa (since October 1997)
Types no longer used
- 200 series: Toki / Tanigawa (until March 2013)
- E1 series: Max Toki / Max Tanigawa (until September 2012)
The program to build the new line was initiated in 1971 by Niigata-born prime minister Tanaka Kakuei; one popular anecdote is that Tanaka determined the line's routing by drawing it on a map with a red pencil. Built at a cost of $6.3 billion, it was built "to establish closer ties with Tokyo and promote regional development".
Trial runs over the line began in November 1980, and regular service began on 15 November 1982. The line was initially planned to terminate at Shinjuku Station, but economic considerations pushed Japanese National Railways (JNR) to merge the line with the existing Tōhoku Shinkansen line at Ōmiya.
In September 1991, a 400 Series Shinkansen train set a Japanese rail speed record of 345 km/h on the Jōetsu Shinkansen line, and in December 1993, the STAR21 experimental train managed 425 km/h. The maximum speed for regular services on the line is 245 km/h except for the section between Jomo-Kogen and Urasa which is 275 km/h for E2 series trains travelling towards Niigata. The urban section between Tokyo and Ōmiya is 110 km/h.
The Basic Plan specifies that the Jōetsu Shinkansen should actually start from Shinjuku, which would necessitate building 30 km of additional Shinkansen track from Ōmiya. While some land acquisitions along the existing Saikyō Line were made, no construction ever started. To this day, a portion of underground land near Shinjuku Station remains reserved, causing the Tokyo Metro Fukutoshin Line to be built deeper underground than would otherwise have been necessary.
If the capacity on the current Tokyo-Ōmiya section proves insufficient after the Hokuriku Shinkansen extension between Nagano and Kanazawa and the opening of the Hokkaido Shinkansen between Aomori and Hakodate, the construction of the link between Shinjuku and Ōmiya stations may proceed.
Provisions were also made for extending the line from Niigata to Niigata Airport.
Special event train services
On 17 November 2012, a special Joetsu Shinkansen 30th Anniversary (上越新幹線開業30周年号」 Jōetsu Shinkansen Kaigyō 30-shūnen-gō?) service ran as Toki 395 from Omiya to Niigata using 10-car 200 series set K47.
Also on 17 November 2012, a special Joetsu Shinkansen 30th Anniversary (上越新幹線開業30周年号」 Jōetsu Shinkansen Kaigyō 30-shūnen-gō?) service ran from Niigata to Tokyo using E5 series set U8, with a special ceremony at Niigata Station before departure. This was the first revenue-earning service operated on the Joetsu Shinkansen by an E5 series trainset.
- "Ｅ２系車両を上越新幹線に投入！" [E2 series trains to be introduced on Joetsu Shinkansen] (PDF). News Release (in Japanese). Japan: East Japan Railway Company. 16 November 2012. Retrieved 16 November 2012.
- "実に地球３００周…雪国駆けた「丸顔の美人」 さらば新幹線２００系". MSN Sankei News. 15 March 2013. Retrieved 20 January 2014. "最後の活躍の舞台となった上越新幹線。その誕生には、田中角栄元首相が赤鉛筆で線を引きルートを決めたとの逸話も残る。"
- Hayes, Louis D. Introduction to Japanese Politics, p.107.
- Takashima, Shuichi. Railway Operators in Japan 3: Tohoku and Niigata Region. Japan Railway & Transport Review No. 29 (pp.40–49)
- "300km/hのトップランナー" [300 km/h Top Runners]. Japan Railfan Magazine (Japan: Kōyūsha Co., Ltd.) 52 (612): p.14. April 2012.
- "“とき”395号「上越新幹線開業30周年記念号」運転" [Toki 395 "Joetsu Shinkansen 30th Anniversary"]. Japan Railfan Magazine Online (in Japanese). Japan: Koyusha Co., Ltd. 18 November 2012. Retrieved 18 November 2012.
- "おかげさまで上越新幹線開業３０周年" [Joetsu Shinkansen 30th Anniversary Celebrations] (pdf) (in Japanese). Japan: East Japan Railway Company, Niigata Division. 12 September 2012. Retrieved 15 September 2012.
- "団体臨時列車「上越新幹線開業30周年記念号」，E5系で運転" [Special "Joetsu Shinkansen 30th Anniversary" runs using E5 series]. Japan Railfan Magazine Online (in Japanese). Japan: Koyusha Co., Ltd. 18 November 2012. Retrieved 18 November 2012.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Jōetsu Shinkansen.|
- JR East website (Japanese)