301 Series





The .CDP contains the rolling stock and 11 ready-to-run consists. All the necessary dependencies are either included in the package or are avaible on the DLS.



The 301 Series entered service in 1966 as JNR’s first train designed for subway inter-running services, specifically from the Chuo-Sobu Line to the TRTA Tozai Line.

The TRTA Tozai Line (Line No.5) was designed to relive the congested Chuo Line, especially in it’s central (downtown Tokyo) section, and as such, it was designed for inter-running services from the start: it’s first section (isolated from the rest of the subway network) opened in 1964, from Takadanobaba to Kudanshita, and in 1966 it was extended in both ways, from Kudanshita to Takebashi and from Takadanobaba to Nakano, wich was an above-ground station managed by JNR. At that time, inter-running services began, using both the TRTA 5000 Series and the brand-new JNR 301 Series.

Altough based on the standards (dimensions, door placement…) above-ground 103 Series (JNR’s standard commuter train introduced just three years before), the 301 Series was a brand new train in many ways: it was JNR’s first train using alluminium bodies (designed jointly with the TRTA 5000 Series) and the first commuter train with pneumatic suspensions.
To further increase the passenger comfort, the resistor control cooling system was changed from a forced type (using noisy ventilators) to a natural one (the resistors are cooled by the wind when the train moves).


In practice, none of those turned out to be a good idea (at the time) as the pneumatic suspensions required far more maintainance than normal spring ones; the alluminium body was expensive and as most railways still preferred standard or stainless steel, manufacturers willing (or even just capable) to make alluminum bodyshells were few (among these, Kinki Sharyo and Kawasaki Heavy Industries), wich made aluminium bodies even more expensive; and finally, the “naturally-cooled” resistors proved to be the worst idea of all, it quite literally backfired: in the subway tunnels, with low speed and small spaces, the resistors had extremely severe overeathing problems, and often burnt the flooring above them (if they did not caught fire altogheter).

These problems combined were the reason why JNR stopped the production of 301 Series trains in 1969, after only 56 vehicles (eight 7-car sets) were made, and later transitioned to a far less comfortable, far less innovative, but far more reliable variant of the 103 Series: the 103-1200 Series, introduced in 1971.

Originally delivered with unpainted aluminum bodies, except for a thin yellow line above between the windows and the water drain, to increase the train’s visibility, another yellow line below the windows was added almost immediately, togheter with a thick yellow band on the front. As the alluminium bodyshells eventually began to corrode, in 1978 they were painted over with a light grey paint.

In 1981, as overcrowding became a problem, all trains on the Tozai Line were reformed and lenghtened into 10-car sets, with the eight 7-car 301 Series sets being reformed in five 10-car sets plus a 5-car set wich ran coupled with another 5-car set of the 103-1200 Series.

Of the new five 10-car sets, two (K1 and K2) were formed of 5+5 car sets and the remaining three (K3, K4 and K5) were formed in 10-car sets, with car No.6 in each three being a former KuHa car converted into a trailer (with the removal of control equipment and the sealing of the cabs).

In 1987, with the privatization of JNR, the whole 301 Series fleet was inherited by JR East, wich applied it’s large white “JR” logos on the side of the KuHa cars, replacing the two-per-side small “JNR” logos in the top yellow line.


Two years later, in 1989, the color of the lines of the 301 Series (togheter with the 103-1200s) were changed from the Chuo-Sobu line’s yellow to the TRTA Tozai Line proper light blue.
This mesaure was applied to avoid passengers mistaking the brand-new and above-ground-only 205 Series trains for an inter-running train, as they both shared a similar liviery.
At the same time, the 301 Series trains were fitted with AU712 air-conditioning units. Their last modification was in 1998, when their service number indicator was changed from a roller-blind type to a dot-matrix one (a modification applied also to most remaining 103 Series trains operating in the Tokyo Area, such as the Joban Line ones).

By the late ‘1990s, the 301 and 103-1200 Series trains were largely outdated and obsolete, but the lack of an adequate replacement meant they had to continue their service.
Their replacement was finally brought forward in 2003: the E231-800 Series, based on JR East’s successful and then-brand-new E231 Series design (altough with the bodyshells of the 1998 209-1000 Series for the Chiyoda Line inter-running services).
Seven 10-car E231-800 Series sets were manufactured in just six month (as fast as Tokyu Car Co. possibly could), with all seven entering service on the 1st of May 2003, replacing equally the 103-1200 and 301 Series sets.

By spring 2003, only four 301 Series sets were still operational but as they were used as spare trains, they run rarely.

The first series to be fully retired were the 103-1200s in July; the 301 Series followed suit in August, with the final run on the 3rd of August by set K4 running the 9567M service.

KuMoHa 300-4 was initially preserved by JR East at it’s Omiya works, but was scrapped in 2014.



Trivia #1:

JR East briefly considered using surplus 301 Series sets as rapid trains on the Chuo Line, but this idea never materialized.
Interestingly enough, in 2018, the two 209-1000 Series sets were transferred from the Chiyoda Line to the Chuo Line, for an exactly identical purpose, and they still run in such services as of today.


Trivia #2:

In summertime the AU712 air conditioners often malfunctioned due to the heat, so in 2003 JR East experimented painting the roof of set K3 with the special heat-resisting white paint developed by NASA for use on the space shuttle, but as it was (of course) ludicrously expensive, the idea of painting the roofs of the rest of the fleet was soon abandoned.