Myōkō (train)

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189 N102 Myoko 20081122.jpg
189 series EMU on a Myōkō rapid service, November 2008
Service type Rapid
Status Discontinued
Locale Honshu, Japan
First service 14 April 1958 (Semi express)
1 December 1962 (Express)
1 October 1997 (Rapid)
Last service 13 March 2015
Former operator(s) JNR, JR East
Start Nagano
End Naoetsu
Service frequency 5 return workings daily
Line used Shinetsu Main Line
On-board services
Class(es) Standard only
Rolling stock 189 series EMUs
Track gauge 1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in)
Electrification 1,500 V DC overhead
Operating speed 95 km/h (60 mph)

The Myōkō (妙高?) was a limited-stop "Rapid" train service in Japan operated by the East Japan Railway Company (JR East) between Nagano and Naoetsu on the Shinetsu Main Line from October 1997 until March 2015.[1] The train was named after Mount Myōkō on the boundary between Nagano and Niigata Prefecture.[2]

Service pattern[edit]

Services consisted of five trains in each direction daily.[1][3]

Rolling stock[edit]

Services were formed using a fleet of three Nagano-based 6-car 189 series EMUs, numbered N101 to N103, of which the rear car (car 1 from Nagano, car 6 from Naoetsu) was designated as reserved seating.[1][4]


Trains were formed as shown below, with car 1 at the Nagano end.[1][4]

Car No. 1 2 3 4 5 6
Numbering KuHa 189 MoHa 188 MoHa 189 MoHa 188 MoHa 189 KuHa 189

Set N101 had 183-1500 series driving cars.[4]


Original semi express[edit]

The Myōkō name was first used on 14 April 1958 for an overnight semi express service operating between Ueno in Tokyo and Naoetsu, via Nagano.[2]

From the start of the timetable revision in October 1961, the former Shirakaba daytime service between Ueno and Nagano was extended to run to Naoetsu, and became the Myōkō 1 service.[2]

Diesel express[edit]

From 1 December 1962, new KiHa 57 series 6-car diesel multiple unit (DMU) trains were introduced on the daytime Myōkō service, which was upgraded to "express" status. The overnight semi express service was meanwhile renamed Asama.[2]


Following the electrification of the Shinetsu Main Line between Takasaki and Naoetsu, new 165 series 8-car electric multiple unit (EMU) trains were introduced on Myōkō services from the start of the October 1966 timetable revision.[2]

A Nagano-based 169 series EMU in 1991

With the expansion of daytime Hakusan and Asama services, daytime Myōkō services were cut back, and from the start of the November 1982 timetable revision, consisted of one overnight return working formed of 14 series locomotive-hauled sleeping car and seating accommodation coaches.[2] From March 1985, the locomotive-hauled rolling stock was replaced with 169 series EMUs, and from March 1988, these sets were themselves replaced by 9-car 189 series EMUs also used on Asama services, with the operating route reduced to between Ueno and Nagano.[2][5] These services were ultimately discontinued from 18 March 1993.[6]

Rapid service (October 1997 - March 2015)[edit]

The Myōkō name was revived for new rapid services introduced from the start of the revised timetable on 1 October 1997, named Shinetsu Relay Myōkō, to provide connections at Nagano with the newly opened Nagano Shinkansen services.[1] This was renamed Myōkō from 1 December 2002 following the discontinuation of the Minori limited express services which operated between Nagano and Niigata.[1]

From the start of the revised timetable on 17 March 2012, two Myōkō services in each direction (services 3, 6, 7, 10) were discontinued, with the remaining three return workings operated using regular commuter rolling stock.[7]

The remaining Myōkō services were finally discontinued from the start of the revised timetable on 14 March 2015, coinciding with the opening of the Hokuriku Shinkansen extension from Nagano to Kanazawa. The last train ran on 13 March 2015.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f JR新幹線&特急列車ファイル [JR Shinkansen & Limited Express Train File]. Japan: Kōtsū Shimbun. 2008. p. 140. ISBN 978-4-330-00608-6. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Teramoto, Mitsuteru (July 2001). 国鉄・JR列車名大辞典 [JNR & JR Train Name Encyclopedia]. Tokyo, Japan: Chuoshoin Publishing Co., Ltd. pp. 550–551. ISBN 4-88732-093-0. 
  3. ^ JR Timetable, August 2011 issue, p.580-582
  4. ^ a b c JR電車編成表 2012冬 [JR EMU Formations - Winter 2012]. Japan: Kotsu Shimbunsha. October 2011. p. 104. ISBN 978-4-330-25611-5. 
  5. ^ JR急行・快速列車 [JR Express & Rapid Trains]. Tokyo, Japan: Railway Journal. 2 November 1991. p. 50. 
  6. ^ 列車名鑑1995 [Train Name Directory 1995]. Japan: Railway Journal. August 1995. p. 130. 
  7. ^ "2012 年3 月ダイヤ改正について" [March 2012 Timetable Revision] (pdf). News Release (in Japanese). Nagano, Japan: East Japan Railway Company Nagano Branch. 16 December 2011. p. 5. Retrieved 18 February 2012. 
  8. ^ 〈妙高号〉運転終了 [Myōkō service discontinued]. RM News (in Japanese). Japan: Neko Publishing Co., Ltd. 16 March 2015. Retrieved 16 March 2015. 

External links[edit]