A small selection of trains from this megapack – from left to right: TRTA 6000 Series three-car prototype (1968), 6000 Series full-production sets with no air conditioning and older window (1970s-1980s), Yurakucho Line 7000 Series with air conditioning (1980s-2000s), Hanzomon Line 8000 Series (1980s-2000s), Tokyo Metro refurbished 6000 Series for Chiyoda Line “mainline” services (2000s-2010s), Set 6000-1 for Chiyoda Branch Line services (2000s-2014), Yurakucho Line 7000 Series (2000s-2010s), Hanzomon Line VVVF refurbished set (2010s-today), Fukutoshin Line 7000 Series 8-car set (2010s-today).
All the necessary dependencies are included in the pack or are avaible on the DLS (for example, the bogeys), except for the pantographs, wich must be downloaded from Rizky’s website (jirctrainz.com – they’re included in the “freeware EMU packs”).
After the Tokyo Olympics of 1964, Japan was entering in a phase of superb economic growth, nicknamed the “economic miracle”. As the economy boomed, so did cities and metropolises around the country, Tokyo in primis.
In Tokyo, TRTA had just completed the Tozai Line, and the Toei Subway was building it’s second line – the Mita Line (wich, at the time, was still called with the official name of “Line No.6”). And both companies were already planning for several more lines to be built. At the same time, electronics were quickly evolving, with many new components, such as diodes and thrystors, finding an use in railway technology. One of these applications was the Current Chopper, wich was intended to replace the energy-inefficient rehostat as the traction control system for electric trains.
In this context, TRTA decided to develop a new standard subway train design for future lines, under the concept of a “lightweight, easy-maintainance, new technology cars with a 40-year lifespan”.
Unlike many other railways (such as JNR) wich still preferred to rely on the well-proven rheostat, TRTA decided instead to bet on the current chopper for it’s new trains, partly also out of necessity: with little space to build shallow-level subway lines, deep-level ones were the only option, but these posed even more problems if resistor-controlled trains were to be used, as the heat generated by multiple trains when departing from a station could’ve been unbearable, and deep-level ventilation might have been quite complex.
Chopper-controlled trains instead did not produce heat when departing, meaning that the need for ventilation could be scaled down, and deep-level lines made practical.
Yes, betting on a new and largely unproven technology was a bit of a gamble, so TRTA decided to order a prototype train for tests only, before making a large-scale adoption of the chopper.
Classified “6001”, the prototype train was a 3-car set manufactured by Kisha Seizo and introduced in 1968. It was to be the predecessor of the 6000 Series, wich was planned to be used on the then-under-construction Chiyoda Line, wich was TRTA’s first deep-level line.
A far cry from it’s predecessor, it’s asymmetrical front devised by Nippon Sharyo (inspired by the concepts of the A-type cars of the San Francisco BART, wich at the time was still under construction) was unique, distinctive and quite futuristic for the late 1960s, and incorporated a very unique fetaure: an emergency exit wich worked like the drawbridges of medieval castles. Furthemore, the asymmetric cab meant that the driver’s cab could be larger and more comfortable.
Each of the three cars of the prototype set was equipped with a different traction control system: cab cars 6001 and 6003 were equipped with current choppers manufactured by Mitsubishi Electric and Hitachi respectively, and the middle “pantograph car” 6002 was equipped with a “back-up” rheostat. Assigned to Fukugawa depot, starting from 1968 the 6001 prototype underwent several test runs on the above-ground sections of the Tozai Line.
Initially, the prototype was fitted with a large noise-reducing skirt, wich was almost immediately removed as it was quite a nusiance for the technicians that had to coninuously open and close it to access the traction control and other under-carriage equipment for maintainance or fault-fixing.
In August 1969, a 6-car pre-production set, manufactured by Kawasaki and also classifed “6001” joined the 3-car prototype on Tozai Line test runs. By then, tests were taking longer than anticipated, and with the initial section of the badly needed Chiyoda Line being completed before time, TRTA couldn’t delay it’s opening, and so, in December 1969, the Chiyoda Line opened between Kita-Senju and Otemachi, provisionally using resistor-controlled 5000 Series trains identical to Tozai Line ones.
Finally, by 1970, the tests were completed, with Mitsubishi Electric’s chopper being chosen over Hitachi’s one as it was more reliable. TRTA immediately ordered full-production 6000 Series trains, with the first sets entering service in time for the opening of the Chiyoda Line extension from Otemachi to Kasumigaseki on the 20th of March 1971.
These were quite different from the two prototypes: most notably, they had a full frontal green band instead of the “around-the-headlights-only” of their predecessors, wich was a notable improvement.
At the same time, the pre-production set was lenghtened from 6 to 10 cars and upgraded to full-production 6000 Series standards, while the 3-car set was taken out of service and stored at Ayase Depot.
With the influx of the new chopper-controlled trains, the Chiyoda Line 5000s were gradually transferred to the Tozai Line, except a couple of sets wich were kept at Ayase Depot as spare trains.
With the Chiyoda Line being completed, trough-services started at both ends (with Odakyu and the JNR Joban Line), with the new 6000 Series (except for the pre-production set 6001) travelling from Hon-Atsugi as far as Toride, the border between 1500V DC and 20Kv AC electrifications.
Briefly after the Chiyoda Line, another line opened; the Yurakucho Line, wich started operations on the 30th of October 1974, this time with it’s own proper trains: the 7000 Series. These were almost identical to the Chiyoda Line 6000 Series, with the exception of a “predisposition” for an additional service indicator over the emergency door, as these trains were planned to have a variety of trough-services with the Seibu and Tobu railways. Another difference was the background color of the roller-blind, wich was changed to a more conventional black.
Not many years later, on the 1st of August 1978, another line opened: the Hanzomon Line, wich was to be the long-awaited relief line for the overcrowded Ginza Line. This time, as the line was quite short (only 2.7 Km with three stations), TRTA decided not to immediately introduce new trains, opting instead to operate the line 8000 Series trains lent from Tokyu Railway (in fact, the Hanzomon Line at the time operated as an underground extension of the Tokyu Denentoshi Line).
In 1979, the Chiyoda Line 3-car prototype was taken out of storage, upgraded to full-production standards, converted to one-man operation, reclassified “6000-1” to avoid confusion with the pre-production set and put back in service on the newly introduced Ayase to Kita-Ayase shuttle service togheter with the two “spare” 5000 Series sets, wich were shortened to 3 cars. Of these three trains, two were in service and one in “reserve”.
This service, also nicknamed the “Chiyoda Branch Line” operated on the connection between Ayase station and Ayase Depot, wich was located a couple of kilometers to the north. The depot had initially opened togheter with the rest of the line, but as residents along the connection demanded a way to get to Ayase station, TRTA decided to open Kita-Ayase station and run a shuttle between the two.
Starting from the early 1980s, the 6000 and 7000 Series trains were retrofitted with air-conditioning, and at the same time, their windows were changed from the 103 Series-style “4-section” ones to more modern-looking 2-section ones.
Finally, in 1981, the Hanzomon Line’s proper trains were introduced: the 8000 Series. Unlike it’s predecessors, the 8000 Series had a new, quite distinctive, slanted front and rectangular headlights, wich gave it an even more modern look than the 6000s and 7000s. Furthemore, it was air-conditioned from the start and was TRTA’s first train equipped with the distinctive “T-shaped” two-hands master controller.
Depsite all the differences in looks, the 8000 Series was still technically-speaking very much identical to the 6000s and 7000s; in fact it still used the same well-proven MELCO chopper.
Unlike the Yurakucho Line, the Hanzomon Line’s construction progressed slowly, mainly due to land acquisition troubles. In fact, for the whole of the 1980s, the Hanzomon Line remained a quite short line, meaning that there was quite a surplus of brand-new 8000 Series trains.
In 1987, TRTA had completed the platform extension works to enable the lenghtening of the overcrowded Tozai Line’s trains from 7 to 10-car sets. With the 5000 Series being reformed into 10-car sets, there was a need for new trains, and with the development of the 05 Series underway, TRTA concluded that buying new 5000 Series sets wasn’t a viable option. Instead it adapted three surplus 8000 Series trains (sets 12, 13 and 14) and moved them to the Tozai Line in November 1987 as a stop-gap mesaure. These were retrofitted with JR East’s ATS-B saftey system (enabling them to run trough-services on the Chuo-Sobu Line) and had their driving desk changed for an older-style type similar to the one on 5000 Series trains.
Depsite all the modifications, the Tozai Line 8000s kept their Hanzomon Line purple livery, with the exception of light blue “Tozai Line” stickers placed above each door.
With the 05 Series entering service in 1988 and the Hanzomon Line being finally extended to Mitsukoshimae in 1989, by Janurary 1989 all the three 8000 Series sets were moved back to the Hanzomon Line.
By the early 1990s, both the 6000 and 7000 Series trains underwent a refurbishment program, as by then they had been in service for almost 20 years. This refurbishment program included the changing of the 6000 Series destination display from roller-blind to a LED-type, the first such modification for a Japanese train and the conversion of both types from the chopper control to more efficient, less demanding in terms of maintainance IGBT-VVVF control.
In 2004, the TRTA was reorganized as Tokyo Metro, consequently, all trains lost their iconic “S-arrow” logo for the light blue “M-heart” logo of the newly-formed Tokyo Metro.
Tokyo Metro contiuned the refurbishment program of the 6000 and 7000 Serieses trains, with the last 6000 Series being converted by the late 2000s. At the same time, most of the converted 6000s recieved new doors with large windows, replacing the older ones with their distinctive small square-like windows.
In 2008, Tokyo Metro’s first (and to this day, only) new line opened: the Fukutoshin Line, wich was designed to relieve congestion on the western side of the Yamanote Line. For the opening of the new line, Tokyo Metro had introduced the new 10000 Series, but instead of “concentrating” it on the new line, it decided to split the fleet between the new line and the Yurakucho Line.
Consequently, part of the Yurakucho Line’s fleet was reformed into 8-car sets, refurbished repainted into a new brown livery and transferred to the Fukutoshin Line. Gradually, the new livery also replaced the yellow one used by proper Yurakucho Line trains, wich disappeared by the early 2010s.
With the opening of the connection between the new underground Shibuya station and the Tokyu Toyoko Line in 2013, Fukutoshin Line trains started to run all the way south to Motomachi-Chukagai on the Minatomirai Line. One year later, in 2014, the two 5000 Series sets and the 6000-1 Series set operating the Chiyoda Branch Line services were replaced by an uniform fleet of 05 Series trains converted from retired Tozai Line units, and in 2015, the last Hanzomon 8000 Series was converted from chopper to inverter control.
Finally, on the 11th of November 2018, after an enviable 48-years long career, the last full-production 6000 Series set was retired from the Chiyoda Line, being replaced by the 16000 Series.
As of today, the 7000 and 8000 Serieses are still in service on the Yurakucho, Hanzomon and Fukutoshin Lines, but Tokyo Metro has already announced the soon-to-enter-service replacement: the 17000 and 18000 Serieses.
6000 Series trains are actually still in service in Indonesia: almost the whole fleet of the 6000 Series (29 sets out of 35) was sold to Kereta Commuter Indonesia, where it still operates to this day, along a smaller fleet of four ex-Yurakucho Line 7000 Series sets.
The 6000 and 7000 Series trains still running in Indonesia will reach soon half-a-century of mainline service while remaining reliable, modern, perfectly adequate and innovative train after all this time.