Twilight Express

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Twilight Express
WestJapanRailwayCompanyTypeEF81-1.jpg
Twilight Express hauled by an EF81 electric locomotive with headboard in the Osaka area
Overview
Service type Limited express
Status Operational
Locale Japan
First service July 1989
Last service Spring 2015 (scheduled)
Current operator(s) JR West
Route
Start Osaka
End Sapporo
Technical
Rolling stock 24 series sleeping cars
Track gauge 1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in)
Electrification 1,500 V DC / 20 kV AC
Operating speed 110 km/h (70 mph)

The Twilight Express (トワイライトエクスプレス?) is a limited express sleeping car train service operated by West Japan Railway Company (JR West) in Japan since 1989. It runs between the city of Sapporo on the northern island of Hokkaido and Osaka in south-western Honshu. The journey takes between 22 and 23 hours.

Trains for Sapporo depart Osaka at 11:50, and call at Shin-Osaka, Kyoto, Tsuruga, Fukui, Kanazawa, Takaoka, Toyama, Naoetsu, and Nagaoka, with the final passenger pick-up made at Niitsu at 19:39. The first stop in Hokkaido is at Tōya at 07:18. The train then makes four more stops before arriving at Sapporo at 09:52.

The same stops are made in the reverse, with the Twilight Express departing Sapporo at 14:05 and making its final pickup at Tōya at 16:33. The first stop at Niitsu is made at 04:33 with the train eventually making its way to Kyoto at 12:15 and finally arriving at Osaka at 12:52.

The Twilight Express consists of type "A" and "B" accommodations, all specific to this particular train. A flat fee is charged for all berths, regardless of starting or ending location. The other fares, the basic fare and limited express fare, are based on distance. For tourists using the Japan Rail Pass, the basic fare does not have to be paid, although the limited express fare and room fare must be paid.

Trains depart several times per week, with more departures during holiday periods. The Nihonkai train makes daily round-trip runs between Osaka and Aomori, with ongoing connections to Sapporo.

Route[edit]

The Twilight Express runs on the following rail lines:

West Japan Railway Company (JR West)

East Japan Railway Company (JR East)

Hokkaido Railway Company (JR Hokkaido)

1Train reversal point
2Crew change location for conductors (JR West and JR Hokkaido)

The Tsugaru Kaikyō Line runs over the tracks of the Tsugaru Line, Kaikyō Line, Esashi Line, and Hakodate Main Line.

Locomotives[edit]

Three types of locomotives are used to haul the Twilight Express service:[1]

  • Osaka to Aomori: JR West Class EF81 electric locomotive assigned to Fukui Depot
  • Aomori to Goryōkaku: JR Hokkaido Class ED79 electric locomotive assigned to Hakodate Depot
  • Goryōkaku to Sapporo: JR Hokkaido Class DD51 diesel locomotives assigned to Hakodate Depot (double-headed)

Timetable (as of March 2011)[edit]

  • For the Osaka departure to Sapporo, read down. For the Sapporo departure to Osaka, read up.
  • Stations that are not used for passenger pick-up or drop-off are in italics.
Down Station name Up

Dep 11:50
(Track 10)

Osaka

Arr 12:52
(Track 3)

Arr 11:55
(Track 12)
Dep 11:56

Shin-Osaka

Dep 12:48
(Track 17)
Arr 12:47

Arr 12:24
(Track 0)
Dp 12:25

Kyoto

Dep 12:18
(Track 7)
Ar 12:15

Arr 13:46
Dep 13:48

Tsuruga

Dep 10:52
Arr 10:36

Arr 14:40
(Track 1)
Dep 14:40

Fukui

Dep 09:56
(Track 5)
Arr 09:54

Arr 15:37
(Track 7)
Dep 15:40

Kanazawa

Dep 08:51
(Track 1)
Arr 08:49

Arr 16:14
Dep 16:14

Takaoka

Dep 08:18
Arr 08:18

Arr 16:30
(Track 6)
Dep 16:31

Toyama

Dep 08:03
(Track 3)
Arr 08:01

17:28

Itoigawa

06:58

Arr 17:57
Dep 17:59

Naoetsu

Dep 06:27
Arr 06:25

Arr 18:56
Dep 18:58

Nagaoka

Dep 05:29
Arr 05:17

Arr 19:37
Dep 19:39

Niitsu

Dep 04:40
Arr 04:33

20:14

Nakajō

20:41

Echigo-Hayakawa

3:29

21:50

Fujishima

22:07

Sakata

02:04

23:51

Akita

00:34

01:24

Ōdate

23:04

02:05

Hirosaki

22:27

Tsugaru-Shinjō

21:56

Aomori Signal
(near Aomori Station)
Train reversal point

03:19

Kanita
Crew change station for conductors
JR West <> JR Hokkaido

20:38


Enter 03:41
Exit 04:20
Seikan Tunnel
Exit 20:17
Enter 19:41

05:05

Goryōkaku
Train reversal point

18:43

Oshamambe

17:05

Arr 07:18
Dep 07:18

Tōya

Dep 16:33
Arr 16:23

Arr 07:52
Dep 07:54

Higashi-Muroran

Dep 15:50
Arr 15:48

Arr 08:11
Dep 08:12

Noboribetsu

Dep 15:34
Arr 15:33

Arr 08:50
Dep 08:50

Tomakomai

Dep 15:00
Arr 14:59

Arr 09:10
Dep 09:11

Minami-Chitose

Dep 14:39
Arr 14:39


Arr 09:52
(Track 3)

Sapporo


Dep 14:05
(Track 4)

Down Station name Up

History[edit]

The Twilight Express service started in July 1989, initially operating as a charter service.[2] A second rake of coaches was introduced from December 1989, allowing operation as a seasonal service.[2] "A"-type sleeping cars were added to the formations between 1990 and 1991, and the formations were extended to 10 cars (including generator car).[2] In April 1991, a third rake of coaches was introduced, allowing daily operations during busy seasons.[2] The coaches underwent a program of interior refurbishment between 2001 and 2002.[2]

Withdrawal plans[edit]

Twilight Express services are scheduled to be discontinued from spring 2015.[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ JR新幹線&特急列車ファイル [JR Shinkansen & Limited Express Train File]. Japan: Kōtsū Shimbun. 2008. p. 126. ISBN 978-4-330-00608-6. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "寝台特急「トワイライトエクスプレス」の運行終了について" [Discontinuation of Twilight Expres sleeping car service]. Press release (in Japanese). Japan: West Japan Railway Company. 28 May 2014. Retrieved 28 May 2014. 
  3. ^ Saito, Masatoshi (28 May 2014). "トワイライトエクスプレス、引退へ 老朽化で存続断念" [Twilight Express to be retired - Old age makes continuation difficult]. Asahi Shimbun Digital (in Japanese). Japan: The Asahi Shimbun Company. Retrieved 28 May 2014. 

External links[edit]