PlaRail – Shinkansen 500 Series (S-02 500系新幹線)

Back in 2008, Dan and Becky bought us a Thomas the Tank Engine (Tomy) trainset. We played with it a few times but there wasn’t much we could buy to expand it. Then we went to Osaka this year and we discovered that Tomy makes an entire universe of toy trains called Plarail. So we went shopping at Aeon Rinku Town Mall (southern Osaka) and picked up this train along with a few more tracks. I think we’ll be asking Santa to increase out Plarail collection at Christmas time.

PlaRail - Shinkansen 500 Series
Shinkansen 500 Series Box

Name: Shinkansen 500 Series
Takara Tomy Name: S-02 500系新幹線
Power Source: 1xAA Alkaline Battery
Manufacturer Number: 4904810635338
Release Date: 2002-07-18
Features: detachable cars, 2 speeds & headlights
Service Type: Highspeed Passenger

Plarail Shinkansen 500 Series
Plarail Shinkansen 500 Series

In real life…

The 500 series is a Shinkansen high-speed train type operated by West Japan Railway Company (JR West) on the Tōkaidō Shinkansen and Sanyō Shinkansen lines in Japan. They were designed to be capable of 320 km/h (199 mph) but operated at 300 km/h (186 mph), until they were finally retired from the primary Nozomi service in 2010. The trainsets were then refurbished and downgraded to the local Kodama service between Osaka and Hakata.

The general design concept was overseen by German industrial designer Alexander Neumeister. The running gear utilizes computer-controlled active suspension for a smoother, safer ride, and anti-yaw dampers are fitted between cars for improved stability. All sixteen cars in each original trainset were powered, giving a maximum of 18.24 MW (24,460 hp). Each train costed an estimated 5 billion yen, and only nine were built.