|Service type||Limited express|
|Current operator(s)||JR West|
|Line(s) used||Tokaido Line (JR Kyoto Line), Kosei Line, Hokuriku Line, IR Ishikawa Railway Line, Nanao Line|
|Rolling stock||681 series, 683 series|
|Track gauge||1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in)|
The Thunderbird (サンダーバード, Sandābādo) is a limited express train service operated by the West Japan Railway Company (JR West) between Osaka and Kanazawa or Wakuraonsen in Japan, using portions of the Tokaido Main Line, Kosei Line, Hokuriku Main Line, IR Ishikawa Railway Line, and Nanao Line.
Stations in parentheses are not served by all services.
Osaka – Kanazawa: Osaka - Shin-Osaka - (Takatsuki) - Kyoto - (Katata) - (Omi-Imazu) - (Tsuruga) - (Takefu) - (Sabae) - Fukui - (Awaraonsen) - (Kagaonsen) - (Komatsu) - (Matto) - Kanazawa
Kanazawa – Wakuraonsen: Kanazawa - (Tsubata) - (Unoke) - (Takamatsu) - Hakui - (Yoshikawa) - Nanao - Wakuraonsen
(an extra train which runs from Osaka to Kanazawa in the morning on weekdays after holidays)
Osaka → Shin-Osaka → Kyoto → Tsuruga → Takefu → Fukui → Awaraonsen → Komatsu → Kanazawa
From the start of the 20 April 1995 timetable revision, new 681 series EMUs were introduced on Osaka to Toyama services, named Super Raichō (Thunderbird). These became simply Thunderbird from March 1997.
The last remaining Raichō service was discontinued from the start of the 12 March 2011 timetable revision, with all trains subsequently using the Thunderbird name.
With the opening of the Hokuriku Shinkansen in March 2015, the Thunderbird timetable was revised, and services were truncated to operate between Osaka, Kanazawa and Wakura-Onsen.
On 3 August 2006, a woman was raped by a 36-year-old man in a train toilet while travelling on the Thunderbird 50 service (just after Fukui Station), despite the car being occupied by approximately 40 other passengers. As a result, JR West introduced a "women-only" section in the reserved-seating cars of Raichō and Thunderbird trains from October 2007, and JR East added prominent "SOS" stickers inside all of its trains in June 2007. On 17 January 2008, the district court in Otsu sentenced the man to 18 years in prison.
All of the 681 and 683 series trainsets used on Thunderbird limited express services are scheduled to undergo a programme of refurbishment from autumn 2015 until the end of fiscal 2018.