|In service||22 March 1997– Present|
|Manufacturer||Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Tokyu Car Corporation|
|Number built||261 vehicles (41 sets)|
|Number in service||129 vehicles (19 sets) (as of 1 October 2016[update])|
|Number scrapped||132 vehicles|
|Successor||E6 series, E8 series|
|Formation||6 or 7 cars per trainset|
|Fleet numbers||R1–R26, L51–L55, L61–L72|
|Capacity||6-car R sets: 338 (23 Green + 315 Standard)|
7-car L50 sets (E3-1000): 402 (23 Green + 379 Standard)
7-car L60 sets (E3-2000): 394 (23 Green + 371 Standard)
|Line(s) served||Tohoku Shinkansen, Yamagata Shinkansen, Joetsu Shinkansen|
|Car body construction||Aluminium|
|Car length||20,050 to 23,070 mm (65 ft 9 in to 75 ft 8 in)|
|Width||2,945 mm (9 ft 8 in)|
|Doors||1 per side|
|Maximum speed||275 km/h (171 mph) (Tohoku Shinkansen), 130 km/h (81 mph) (Akita/Yamagata Shinkansen)|
|Traction system||GTO or IGBT-VVVF (6-car sets: 16 x 300 kW,|
7-car sets: 20 x 300 kW)
|Power output||6-car sets: 4.8 MW (6,440 hp),|
7-car sets: 6 MW (8,050 hp)
|Electric system(s)||20/25 kV AC, 50 Hz overhead catenary|
|Safety system(s)||ATC-2, DS-ATC, ATS-P|
|Multiple working||200 series, E2 series, E4 series, E5 series|
|Track gauge||1,435 mm (4 ft 8+1⁄2 in) standard gauge|
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) standard gauge. 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.
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[update], two (sets R21 and R22) of the original 26 sets are in operation.
|Set No.||Date delivered||Car 14 build date||Date withdrawn||Remarks|
|R1||28 March 1995||29 October 1998||26 August 2013||Pre-series set S8 (originally 5 cars with 3 pantographs)|
|R2||9 October 1996||1 November 1998||13 December 2013||Built as 5-car sets|
|R3||14 October 1996||4 November 1998||17 February 2014|
|R4||22 October 1996||6 November 1998||9 January 2014|
|R5||28 October 1996||9 November 1998||26 April 2013|
|R6||6 November 1996||12 November 1998||12 April 2013|
|R7||11 November 1996||22 November 1998||17 May 2013|
|R8||15 November 1996||24 November 1998||24 May 2013|
|R9||22 November 1996||26 November 1998||7 June 2013|
|R10||2 December 1996||28 November 1998||27 August 2013|
|R11||12 December 1996||30 October 1998||13 September 2013|
|R12||21 December 1996||17 November 1998||27 November 2013|
|R13||20 January 1997||5 December 1998||19 October 2013|
|R14||30 January 1997||14 November 1998||1 December 2013|
|R15||7 February 1997||16 November 1998||28 January 2014|
|R16||17 February 1997||19 November 1998||8 March 2014|
|R17||30 September 1998||n/a
(6-car sets from new)
|26 July 2013|
|R18||23 October 2002||Converted 2014 to E3-700 series Toreiyu|
|R19||18 November 2002||Converted 2016 to E3-700 series Genbi Shinkansen|
|R20||24 March 2003||17 December 2015|
|R21||16 September 2003|
|R22||27 October 2003|
|R23||1 December 2003||-||Converted 2014 to become Set L55|
|R24||4 April 2005||4 December 2013[Note 1]||Converted 2014 to become Set L54|
|R25||11 July 2005||18 December 2013[Note 2]||Converted 2014 to become Set L54|
|R26||25 July 2005||-||Converted 2014 to become Set L55|
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.
|Set No.||Manufacturer||Date delivered||Date reliveried||Date withdrawn||Remarks|
|L51||Tokyu Car||11 August 1999||-||5 September 2014|
|L52||Kawasaki Heavy Industries||11 September 1999||-||4 February 2015|
|L53||Tokyu Car||17 August 2005||24 November 2015|
|L54||Kawasaki Heavy Industries||30 July 2014||30 July 2014||Rebuilt from sets R24+R25|
|L55||J-TREC||13 January 2015||13 January 2015||Rebuilt from sets R23+R26|
The former identities of the cars reformed into sets L54 and L55 are as shown below.
|Set No.||Car No.||Running No.||Former set No.||Former car No.||Former running No.|
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[update], the E3-2000 series fleet is as follows.
|Set No.||Manufacturer||Date delivered||Date reliveried|
|L61||Kawasaki HI||9 October 2008||6 July 2016|
|L62||Kawasaki HI||9 December 2008|
|L63||Kawasaki HI||7 January 2009||24 November 2015|
|L64||Kawasaki HI||17 February 2009||25 April 2014|
|L65||Kawasaki HI||3 March 2009||6 June 2014|
|L66||Kawasaki HI||25 March 2009||22 October 2014|
|L67||Tokyu Car||28 March 2009||12 November 2014|
|L68||Kawasaki HI||14 April 2009||5 December 2014|
|L69||Kawasaki HI||19 May 2009||23 February 2015|
|L70||Kawasaki HI||30 June 2009||6 April 2016|
|L71||Kawasaki HI||22 July 2009||24 April 2016|
|L72||Kawasaki HI||25 March 2010||18 September 2015|
From spring 2014, the entire fleet of 15 E3-1000 and E3-2000 series Tsubasa sets were scheduled to be repainted in a new colour scheme designed by industrial designer Ken Okuyama. The new colour scheme uses white, evoking the snow of Mount Zaō, 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 repainted set is appeared in late April. Three sets were repainted by June 2014, and the rest of the fleet of 15 sets was 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.
|Facilities||2+2 seating||Japanese-style seating||Japanese-style seating||Japanese-style seating||Lounge + bar counter||Ashiyu foot baths|
The Genbi Shinkansen (現美新幹線, "contemporary art shinkansen") was a six-car set rebuilt from former Akita Shinkansen trainset R19 at Kawasaki Heavy Industries in Kobe as an excursion train for use on the Joetsu Shinkansen between Echigo-Yuzawa and Niigata. The train began operations on 29 April 2016, mostly on weekends and holidays. It was withdrawn from service on 19 December 2020.
The exterior livery was designed by photographer Mika Ninagawa. The first car of the six car set featured the art of Nao Matsumoto; a golden yellow motif based on harvests, festivals and light was present in the car. Window shades displayed art using a special dye as the train passes through tunnels. The second car featured stainless steel mirrors on the walls, the work of Yusuke Komuta. They reflect the landscape outside the train. The third car featured a children's area and a cafe. The children's area featured blue and white representations of toy trains by Art Unit Paramodel. The cafe section of the car was designed by Kentaro Kobuke and served sweet items featuring local products. The fourth car featured an alpine photography exhibition by Naoki Ishikawa. The fifth car featured an abstract flower artpiece by Haruka Koujin that vibrated with the motion of the train. The final car featured a short film by Brian Alfred, depicting the scenery of Niigata. The trainset was shown off to the media on 12 January 2016.
The Genbi Shinkansen set was based at Niigata Depot and formed as shown below, with car 11 at the Tokyo end.
|Facilities||2+2 seating||Art gallery space||Cafe + children's play area||Art gallery space||Art gallery space||Art gallery space|
Cars 12 and 15 each have one single-arm pantograph.