The E3 series (E3系) is a Japanese Shinkansen high-speed train type built for Komachi services which commenced on 3 June 1997, coinciding with the opening of the new Akita Shinkansen "mini-shinkansen" line, a regular 1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in) narrow-gauge line between Morioka and Akita re-gauged to 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) . Later versions of the E3 series were also introduced for use on Yamagata Shinkansen Tsubasa services. Both "mini-shinkansen" lines join the Tohoku Shinkansen, providing services to and from Tokyo.
The design of the original Akita Shinkansen E3 series trains was overseen by industrial designer Kenji Ekuan. Like the 400 Series Shinkansen, these trains are built to a smaller loading gauge than mainline Shinkansen trains—the width and length of each car is reduced to fit on the narrower clearances of the "mini-shinkansen". Doorway steps fold out to bridge the gap between the narrow body and the platform at regular shinkansen stations.E3 series "R" sets: 26 x 6-car sets used on Akita Shinkansen Komachi services since 3 June 1997
E3-1000 series "LR" sets: 3 x 7-car sets used on Yamagata Shinkansen Tsubasa services since 4 December 1999
E3-2000 series "LR" sets: 12 x 7-car sets used on Yamagata Shinkansen Tsubasa services since 20 December 2008
E3-700 series Toreiyu: 6-car excursion trainset used on Yamagata Shinkansen from July 2014
E3-700 series Genbi Shinkansen: 6-car excursion trainset used on Joetsu Shinkansen from 29 April 2016
A pre-series 5-car set, numbered S8, was delivered from Kawasaki Heavy Industries to Sendai Depot in March 1995 for extensive testing. It was modified to full-production specifications in March 1997 ahead of the start of Akita Shinkansen services.
Until it was augmented to six cars in 1998, the pre-series was formed as follows, with scissors-type pantographs on cars 12, 13, and 14. Set R1 was withdrawn following its final revenue run on 20 July 2013.
The full-production trainsets built from 1996 for the Akita Shinkansen were 5-car sets, but sixth cars were added by the end of 1998. A total of 26 Akita Shinkansen sets were in service by the end of 2005. Sets R1 to R16 were leased by East Japan Railway Company (JR East) from the owning company, Akita Shinkansen Sharyō Hoyū (秋田新幹線車両保有(株)), a third-sector company jointly owned by JR East and Akita Prefecture. This lease ended on 21 March 2010 with the dissolution of Akita Shinkansen Sharyō Hoyū.
The E3 series sets are scheduled to be phased out following the introduction of new E6 series sets from March 2013, with 19 sets (114 vehicles) scheduled to be withdrawn during fiscal 2013.
From the start of the 15 March 2014 timetable revision, E3 series trainsets were no longer used on Akita Shinkansen Komachi services. Two sets remained in service, used on Yamabiko and Nasuno services.
Cars 12 and 15 are equipped with PS206 single-arm pantographs.
The build details are as shown below. As of 1 October 2016, two (sets R21 and R22) of the original 26 sets are in operation.
Three 7-car E3-1000 sets (numbered L51 - L53) were built between 1999 and 2005 for use on Yamagata Shinkansen Tsubasa services from 4 December 1999 to augment the 400 series fleet following with the extension of the line to Shinjo. From 2014, a further two sets (L54 and L55) were introduced, reformed from withdrawn Akita Shinkansen E3-0 series "R" sets, to replace the two older sets L51 and L52.
The sets are formed as shown below, with five motored ("M") cars and two non-powered trailer ("T") cars, and car 11 at the Tokyo end.
Cars 12 and 14 are equipped with PS206 single-arm pantographs.
The build details are as shown below.
The former identities of the cars reformed into sets L54 and L55 are as shown below.
The first of a fleet of twelve new E3-2000 series 7-car sets entered service on Yamagata Shinkansen Tsubasa services on 20 December 2008. The new fleet totally replaced the older 400 series trains by summer 2009. The new trains incorporate design improvements, including active suspension, full-colour LED destination indicators, and AC power outlets in all cars. Seating capacity in cars 16 and 17 has been reduced by 4 (one row of seats) compared with the E3-1000 series to provide uniform seating pitch in all cars (seat pitch was previously reduced in non-reserved cars).
Cars 12 and 14 are equipped with PS206 single-arm pantographs.
As of 1 October 2016, the E3-2000 series fleet is as follows.
From spring 2014, the entire fleet of 15 E3-1000 and E3-2000 series Tsubasa sets is scheduled to be reliveried in a new colour scheme designed by industrial designer Ken Okuyama. The new colour scheme uses white, evoking the snow of Mount Zao, deep purple inspired by the Mandarin duck, the prefectural bird for Yamagata Prefecture, together with yellow and red for the safflower, the prefectural flower of Yamagata Prefecture. The first reliveried set is scheduled to appear in late April. Three sets are scheduled to be repainted by June 2014, with the entire fleet of 15 sets repainted by mid 2016.
This is a six-car set rebuilt from former Akita Shinkansen trainset R18 as an excursion train named Toreiyu (とれいゆ) for use on the Yamagata Shinkansen between Fukushima and Shinjo, entering service from July 2014. The design work for the rebuilt train was overseen by industrial designer Ken Okuyama. The six-car set has a total seating capacity of 143 passengers. Car 11 is a standard-class car with reserved seating arranged 2+2 abreast, cars 12 to 14 feature Japanese-style tatami seating, car 15 is a lounge car with a bar counter, and car 16 has ashiyu foot baths. The name of the train is a portmanteau of the English word "train" and the French word "soleil" (sun). The train is normally used on special Toreiyu Tsubasa services running at weekends.
The Toreiyu set is based at Yamagata Depot and formed as shown below, with car 11 at the Fukushima end.
This is a six-car set rebuilt from former Akita Shinkansen trainset R19 at Kawasaki Heavy Industries in Kobe as an excursion train named Genbi Shinkansen (現美新幹線, "contemporary art shinkansen") for use on the Joetsu Shinkansen between Echigo-Yuzawa and Niigata, mostly at weekends, entering service from 29 April 2016. The exterior livery was designed by photographer Mika Ninagawa. The trainset was shown off to the media on 12 January 2016.
The Genbi Shinkansen set is based at Niigata Depot and formed as shown below, with car 11 at the Tokyo end.
Cars 12 and 15 each have one single-arm pantograph.