Moonlight Nagara
A 185 series EMU formation on a Moonlight Nagara service, December 2013
Overview
Service typeRapid
StatusSeasonal operation
LocaleJapan
First service16 March 1996
Last service29 March 2020 (Final operation)
Current operator(s)JR East, JR Central
Route
StartTokyo
StopsShinagawa, Yokohama, Odawara, Numazu, Shizuoka, Hamamatsu, Toyohashi, Nagoya, Gifu
EndŌgaki
Average journey time6:40 westbound, 6:16 eastbound
Service frequencySeasonal
Line(s) usedTokaido Main Line
On-board services
Catering facilitiesNone
Technical
Rolling stock185 series EMU
Track gauge1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in)
Electrification1,500 V DC

The Moonlight Nagara (ムーンライトながら) was a seasonal rapid overnight train service operated by East Japan Railway Company (JR East) and Central Japan Railway Company (JR Central), which ran from Tokyo to Ōgaki in Gifu Prefecture via the Tokaido Main Line. From 2009, the service had been offered approximately three weeks per year, corresponding to the spring, summer and year-end holiday seasons.

On 22 January 2021, both East Japan Railway Company (JR East) and Central Japan Railway Company (JR Central) announced the cessation of the Moonlight Nagara services with no replacements offered at the time, due to the increased popularity of highway buses and the ageing trains operated on the line.[1][2] Since the train service had not operated during the summer and winter of 2020 due to the COVID-19 situation, this announcement made 29 March 2020, the last day of operations of the Nagara service. That day also marked the complete cessation of the "Moonlight"-branded services from Japan.

Rolling stock

From December 2013, Moonlight Nagara services were formed from 185 series electric multiple unit (EMU) 10-car (4+6-car) formations based at Omiya Depot.[3]

Moonlight Nagara 185 Series Formation (4+6 cars)
Car No. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Accommodation Reserved Reserved Reserved Reserved Reserved Reserved Reserved Reserved Reserved Reserved

Past rolling stock

From the introduction of the Moonlight Nagara service, trains normally comprised three three-car 373 series EMUs operated by JR Central and based at Shizuoka Depot.[4] Additional Moonlight Nagara 91 and 92 trains also operated during busy seasons, and these comprised ten-car 183 series EMU sets owned by JR East and based at Tamachi Depot.[4]

Station list

Station Distance (km) Time Location Remarks
Name Japanese Between

stations

From

Tokyo

Westbound

(-> Ōgaki)[5]

Eastbound

(-> Tokyo)[6]

Ward / City Prefecture /

Metropolis

Tokyo 東京 - 0.0 23:10 Departure 5:05 Arrival Chiyoda Tokyo
Shinagawa 品川 6.8 6.8 23:17 Arrival

23:18 Departure

4:57 Arrival

4:58 Departure

Minato
Yokohama 横浜 22.0 28.8 23:35 Arrival

23:36 Departure

4:40 Arrival

4:41 Departure

Yokohama Kanagawa
Odawara 小田原 55.1 83.9 0:30 Arrival

0:31 Departure

Odawara Westbound: First stop after midnight (12am)
Numazu 沼津 42.3 126.2 1:07 Arrival

1:08 Departure

3:05 Arrival

3:19 Departure

Numazu Shizuoka
Shizuoka 静岡 54.0 180.2 1:48 Arrival

1:50 Departure

1:52 Arrival

1:55 Departure

Shizuoka
Hamamatsu 浜松 76.9 257.1 2:46 Arrival

3:15 Departure

0:46 Arrival

0:55 Departure

Hamamatsu Westbound: 29 minutes stop

Eastbound: 9 minutes stop

Toyohashi 豊橋 36.5 293.6 0:15 Arrival

0:18 Departure

Toyohashi Aichi Eastbound: First stop after midnight (12am)
Nagoya 名古屋 72.4 366.0 5:19 Arrival

5:21 Departure

23:18 Arrival

23:20 Departure

Nagoya
Gifu 岐阜 30.3 396.3 5:40 Arrival

5:41 Departure

22:58 Arrival

22:59 Departure

Gifu Gifu
Ōgaki 大垣 13.7 410.0 5:50 Arrival 22:48 Departure Ōgaki

History

The Moonlight Nagara service was introduced on 16 March 1996. The name was taken from the Nagara River in Gifu Prefecture, and was formerly used for a semi express service which ran between Tokyo and Ōgaki from 1 June 1960 until 1 October 1965.[7]

Overnight services on the Moonlight Nagara route had existed in various forms since 1899, when through services commenced between Shimbashi in Tokyo and Kobe, extending as far west as Kagoshima in the 1940s. Prior to World War II, as many as seven overnight round-trip services existed on this route.[citation needed] Rail services were cut dramatically in the wake of the war. The line briefly saw three to four daily overnight services in the late 1950s, but electrification of the line, coupled with the opening of the Tokaido Shinkansen high-speed line in 1964, reduced the need for overnight services.

Initially, cars 4 to 9 were designated as non-reserved seating cars west of Yokohama Station, but from the start of the March 2007 timetable revision, all cars were designated as reserved seating between Tokyo and Toyohashi.[4]

The service's popularity declined in the 2000s due to competition from discounted overnight bus services. From 14 March 2009, the Moonlight Nagara stopped running on a daily basis and became a seasonal train running only during busy periods.[8]

See also

References

  1. ^ 佐藤, 正樹. "「青春18」族に悲報…「大垣夜行」の歴史にピリオド 『ムーンライトながら』運行終了". レスポンス(Response.jp) (in Japanese). Retrieved 22 January 2021.
  2. ^ "春"の臨時列車の運転計画について" (PDF). JR Central. Retrieved 22 January 2021.
  3. ^ DJ時刻表 [DJ Timetable]. Tetsudō Daiya Jōhō Magazine (in Japanese). Vol. 43, no. 357. Japan: Kōtsū Shimbun. January 2014. pp. 100–101.
  4. ^ a b c JR新幹線&特急列車ファイル [JR Shinkansen & Limited Express Train File]. Japan: Kotsu Shimbun. 29 August 2008. p. 138. ISBN 978-4-330-00608-6.
  5. ^ "JR East Timetable (Moonlight Nagara Westbound)". JR East.
  6. ^ "JR East Timetable (Moonlight Nagara Eastbound)". JR East.
  7. ^ 列車名鑑1995 [Train Name Directory 1995]. Japan: Railway Journal. 1 August 1995. p. 128.
  8. ^ 東京発ブルトレ終焉「はやぶさ・富士」廃止へ [Hayabusa and Fuji Blue Trains from Tokyo to be abolished]. MSN Japan (in Japanese). Japan: The Sankei Shimbun & Sankei Digital. 19 December 2008. Archived from the original on 1 February 2009. Retrieved 28 January 2014.