Twilight Express

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For the luxury cruising train planned by JR West, see Twilight Express Mizukaze.
Twilight Express
Twilight Express EF81 44 20130106.jpg
The Twilight Express hauled by an EF81 electric locomotive in January 2013
Overview
Service type Limited express
Locale Japan
First service July 1989
Current operator(s) JR West
Route
Start Osaka
End Sapporo
Distance travelled approx. 1,500 km (930 mi)
Average journey time 22-23 hours
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?) was a limited express sleeping car train service operated by West Japan Railway Company (JR West) in Japan from 1989 until March 2015. It ran between the city of Sapporo on the northern island of Hokkaido and Osaka in south-western Honshu, a distance of approximately 1,500 km (930 mi), with the journey taking between 22 and 23 hours. From May 2015, the train operated as a luxury cruise train between Osaka and Shimonoseki in western Japan.

Overview[edit]

Trains for Sapporo departed Osaka at 11:50, calling 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 was at Tōya at 07:18. The train then made four more stops before arriving at Sapporo at 09:52.

The same stops were 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 was 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 consisted of type "A" and "B" accommodations, all specific to this particular train. A flat fee was charged for all berths, regardless of starting or ending location. The other fares, the basic fare and limited express fare, were based on distance. For tourists using the Japan Rail Pass, the basic fare did not have to be paid, although the limited express fare and room fare had to be paid.

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

From 16 May 2015, the train became a luxury cruise train operating on a weekly basis between Osaka and Shimonoseki in the west of Japan, taking approximately 29 hours for the 829 km journey.[1] This service is scheduled to operate for approximately one year.[1]

Route[edit]

The Twilight Express ran on the following 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.

Formations[edit]

July 1989 - December 1989[edit]

The original charter train formation operating from 21 July 1989 was as follows.[2] The view from inside the "royal suite" in car 8 was obstructed by the adjacent generator van.[2]

Car No. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8  
Numbering SuRoNeFu 25-502 SuShi 24-2 OHa 25-552 OHaNeFu 25-501 OHaNe 25-562 OHaNe 25-561 OHa 25-551 SuRoNeFu 25-501 KaNi 24-12
Facilities A-type suite and compartments Dining car Lounge car /Showers B-type compartments B-type compartments B-type compartments Lounge car /Showers A-type suite and compartments Generator van

December 1989 - July 1990[edit]

From 2 December 1989, trains were formed as follows.[2]

Car No. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8  
Numbering SuRoNeFu 25-500 SuShi 24 OHa 25-550 OHaNe 25-520 OHaNe 25-520 OHaNe 25-510 OHaNe 25-560 OHaNeFu 25-500 KaNi 24
Facilities A-type suite and compartments Dining car Lounge car /Showers B-type compartments B-type compartments B-type compartments + mini lounge B-type compartments B-type compartments Generator van

July 1990 - March 2015[edit]

From 20 July 1990, trains were lengthened to nine cars (plus a generator van), and formed as shown below.[2][3]

Car No. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9  
Numbering SuRoNeFu 25-500 SuRoNe 25-500 SuShi 24 OHa 25-550 OHaNe 25-520 OHaNe 25-520 OHaNe 25-510 OHaNe 25-560 OHaNeFu 25-500 KaNi 24
Facilities A-type suite and compartments A-type suite and compartments Dining car Lounge car /Showers B-type compartments B-type compartments B-type compartments + mini lounge B-type couchettes B-type couchettes Generator van

May 2015 -[edit]

From May 2015, the following formation was used for cruise train services.[4] The "OHaNeFu 25" is not used by passengers on these services.[4]

Car No. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7  
Numbering SuRoNeFu 25-500 SuRoNe 25-500 SuRoNe 25-500 SuRoNe 25-500 OHa 25-550 SuShi 24 OHaNeFu 25-500 KaNi 24
Facilities A-type suite and compartments A-type suite and compartments A-type suite and compartments A-type suite and compartments Lounge car /Showers Dining car B-type couchettes Generator van

Rolling stock[edit]

Locomotives[edit]

Three types of locomotives were used to haul the Twilight Express service:[5]

  • 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)

As of October 2014, five specially-liveried Class EF81 locomotives were assigned for Twilight Express duties, numbers EF81 43, 44, 103, 113, and 114.[3] Locomotive number EF81 104 was also formerly used on Twilight Express services, but was withdrawn in 2013.[3]

Coaches[edit]

As of October 2014, three 9-car 24 series trainsets were used on Twilight Express services, formed as follows.[3] The former coach numbers and conversion dates are shown below the current running numbers.[3]

Car No. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Set 1 SuRoNeFu 25 501 SuRoNe 25 501 SuShi 24 1 OHa 25 551 OHaNe 25 523 OHaNe 25 523 OHaNe 25 511 OHaNe 25 561 OHaNeFu 25 501
(OHaNe 25 87 / 1989) (OHaNe 25 52 / 1990) (SaShi 489-3 / 1988) (OHaNe 15 38 / 1989) (OHaNe 25 43 / 1989) (OHaNe 25 50 / 1989) (OHaNe 25 40 / 1989) (OHaNe 25 69 / 1989) (OHaNeFu 25 34 / 1989)
Set 2 SuRoNeFu 25 502 SuRoNe 25 502 SuShi 24 2 OHa 25 552 OHaNe 25 524 OHaNe 25 521 OHaNe 25 512 OHaNe 25 562 OHaNeFu 25 502
(OHaNe 25 89 / 1989) (OHaNe 25 52 / 1990) (SaShi 489-4 / 1988) (OHaNe 15 39 / 1989) (OHaNe 25 55 / 1989) (OHaNe 25 39 / 1989) (OHaNe 25 51 / 1990) (OHaNe 25 86 / 1989) (OHaNeFu 25 41 / 1989)
Set 3 SuRoNeFu 25 503 SuRoNe 25 503 SuShi 24 3 OHa 25 553 OHaNe 25 525 OHaNe 25 526 OHaNe 25 513 OHaNe 25 563 OHaNeFu 25 503
(OHaNe 25 44 / 1991) (OHaNe 25 62 / 1991) (SaShi 481-53 / 1988) (OHaNe 14 8 / 1991) (OHaNe 25 59 / 1991) (OHaNe 25 47 / 1991) (OHaNe 25 67 / 1991) (OHaNe 25 80 / 1991) (OHaNeFu 25 45 / 1991)

Four generator vans, numbered "KaNi 24 10, 12, 13, and 14", were used with the Twilight Express trainsets.[3]

Timetable[edit]

The train timetable as of March 2011 was as follows. For the Osaka departure to Sapporo, read down. For the Sapporo departure to Osaka, read up. Stations that were 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 first ran on 18 July 1989 from Osaka to Sapporo and back as a special preview run for invited passengers.[6] From 21 July, it began operating as a charter service.[6][7] A second rake of coaches was introduced from December 1989, allowing operation as a seasonal service.[7] "A"-type sleeping cars were added to the formations between 1990 and 1991, and the formations were extended to 10 cars (including generator car).[7] In April 1991, a third rake of coaches was introduced, allowing daily operations during busy seasons.[7] The coaches underwent a program of interior refurbishment between 2001 and 2002.[7]

Withdrawal[edit]

The final regular up service at Kanazawa Station on 13 March 2015

Twilight Express services were discontinued from March 2015, with the final services departing from both Osaka and Sapporo on 12 March, arriving at their destinations the following day.[8]

Cruise train[edit]

From 16 May 2015, the train became a luxury cruise train operating on a weekly basis between Osaka and Shimonoseki in the west of Japan.[1]

Future developments[edit]

In spring 2017, JR West plans to introduce a new luxury sleeping-car excursion train named Twilight Express Mizukaze, continuing the name and brand established by the Twilight Express train service.[9]

Preservation[edit]

Former Twilight Express Class EF81 electric locomotive EF81 103 is scheduled to be exhibited at the Kyoto Railway Museum when it opens in spring 2016, together with two former Twilight Express 24 series coaches, SuRoNeFu 25-501 and dining car SuShi 24-1.[10][11]

In popular culture[edit]

The Twilight Express formed the main backdrop for the TBS TV drama Terminus: Love on the Twilight Express (終着駅-トワイライトエクスプレスの恋?), starring Kōichi Satō and Miho Nakayama, and broadcast on 20 March 2012.[12]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c JR西:「トワイライト」が豪華に復活 出発式、大阪駅で [JR West revives Twilight in luxury, with departure ceremony at Osaka Station]. Mainichi Shimbun (in Japanese). Japan: The Mainichi Newspapers. 16 May 2015. Retrieved 16 May 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c d Ikeguchi, Eiji (March 2015). トワイライト&北斗星の四半世紀 [Twilight & Hokutosei Quarter Century]. Japan Railfan Magazine (in Japanese) (Japan: Koyusha Co., Ltd.) 55 (647): p.16-30. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f "トワイライトエクスプレス"用客車の概要 [Outline of "Twilight Express" coaches]. Japan Railfan Magazine (in Japanese) (Japan: Koyusha Co., Ltd.) 54 (644): p.38-45. December 2014. 
  4. ^ a b 『特別な「トワイライトエクスプレス」』運転 [Special Twilight Express run]. Japan Railfan Magazine Online (in Japanese). Japan: Koyusha Co., Ltd. 18 May 2015. Retrieved 19 May 2015. 
  5. ^ 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. 
  6. ^ a b Kishi, Kenji (2015). 「トワイライトエクスプレス」25年間の概括 [25 years of the "Twilight Express"]. Tetsudō Daiya Jōhō Magazine (in Japanese) (Japan: Kōtsū Shimbun) 44 (370): p.4-15. 
  7. ^ 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. 
  8. ^ 「トワイライト」列車廃止後も客車は存続へ 〝ランチクルーズトレイン〟など団体臨時列車として活用検討 JR西 [Coaches to be used even after Twilight Express discontinuation - JR West considers seasonal "Lunch Cruise Train" charters]. Sankei West (in Japanese). Japan: The Sankei Shimbun & Sankei Digital. 3 March 2015. Retrieved 4 March 2015. 
  9. ^ JR西日本「TWILIGHT EXPRESS 瑞風」トワイライトエクスプレスの伝統を継承 [JR West "Twilight Express Mizukaze" continues the tradition of the Twilight Express]. Mynavi News (in Japanese). Japan: Mynavi Corporation. 19 February 2015. Retrieved 19 February 2015. 
  10. ^ EF81 103が京都鉄道博物館へ [EF81 103 moved to Kyoto Railway Museum]. Japan Railfan Magazine Online (in Japanese). Japan: Koyusha Co., Ltd. 24 April 2015. Retrieved 25 April 2015. 
  11. ^ スロネフ25 501とスシ24 1が京都鉄道博物館向けに配給輸送される [SuRoNeFu 25-501 and dining car SuShi 24-1 moved to Kyoto Railway Museum]. Japan Railfan Magazine Online (in Japanese). Japan: Koyusha Co., Ltd. 15 April 2015. Retrieved 15 April 2015. 
  12. ^ 終着駅-トワイライトエクスプレスの恋. Yahoo Japan TV (in Japanese). Japan: Yahoo Japan Corporation. 2012. Retrieved 12 March 2015. 

External links[edit]