Encountering East-i Again. I May Be Lucky!
I don’t know whether it was by chance or because they knew that East-i was coming, but there were a couple of mothers with children.
When the children waved their hands to the drivers, the drivers smiled and waved back, which was heartwarming.
What is East-i?
East-i is a maintenance train that runs on various shinkansen lines operated by JR East for maintenance purposes.
It is an E926 series shinkansen, based on the E3 series, with a unique and cute red-and-white color scheme reminiscent of an ambulance.
The train collects maintenance data for JR East’s shinkansen fleet, including the Yamagata and Hokuriku shinkansen lines.
As it is a maintenance train, it does not carry passengers and is not listed on the timetable. Seeing it is a stroke of luck.
Special Tour of East-i?
There was a time when you could take a tour and ride on East-i.
The information from that time is still available on JR East’s website.
Unfortunately, it was canceled due to the spread of COVID-19. If there is a chance again, I would like to take my children to see it.
Where Can You Find Information on East-i’s Scheduled Runs?
There is no way to know when East-i will be running.
In the case of Doctor Yellow, another shinkansen maintenance train, there seems to be information available. A mom I met at a kindergarten told me, “It will pass by that place at XX:XX today,” and my son was able to see it.
However, for East-i, there is no information available on where or when it will be seen. If you know anything, please let me know.
Twitter is one of the tools
The only way to find the latest information is to search Twitter using hashtags. I also tried to contribute by posting with a hashtag.
Timing to see East i
Both times I saw it were just by chance at Sendai Station. It might have been because there were fewer passengers at those times, but both times were around noon.
If there’s a platform where the “unavailable” trains keep going, it might be worth paying attention!
Both times I saw it were around 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., during a time when there were not many bullet trains available on the timetable. I’m not sure if it’s because I just didn’t know, but I don’t know if they run frequently in the evening or at other times.
When I saw ALFA-X and East i at the same time before, it was on a platform where a blank space of about an hour was scheduled for transfer trains.
If there is an announcement like “You cannot board” or “Please do not board” even though it is not announced that the train will stop at that station, it might be a rare one!