Numbering System

Numbering system of JR vehicles

  • 1. Prefixes to multiple units / motor coaches

 ク           KU        with driving cab, but not motorised unless specifically classed as クモ(KUMO)

モ           MO        motorised, but without driving cab unless specifically classed as クモ(KUMO)

クモ       KUMO   motorised and with driving cab

サ           SA         non-motorised and without driving cab

キ           KI          diesel coach with or without driving cab

キサ       KISA     non-motorised coach within a diesel multiple unit

HB                       Hybrid diesel/battery motor coach

EV                       Energy storage vehicle (battery electric vehicle)

BEC                    In Kyûshû: Battery electric vehicle

GV                     Generating vehicle, i.e. diesel electric motor coach

                         (Note: Except for GV cars all diesel motor coaches are diesel hydraulic)

YC                     Battery electric motor coaches for JR Kyûshû

(YC stands for "yasashikute chikaramochi" (friendly/environment friendly + strong)

Note: Trains built for JR Shikoku, starting in 1990, follow a different numbering system without prefixes: 1000 upwards for diesel motor coaches, 5000 upwards for electric trains

Electric train sets are as a rule numbered in two classes, the higher class number being the "official" one under which the class is known. For example an 8-car train set of class E233 as used on the Yokohama line is formed as follows:

クハE233 + モハE233 + モハE232 + サハE233 + モハE233 + モハE232 + サハE233 + クハE232

Class E233 and E232 coaches differ, and when they are motorised they usually form a two-car unit.


  • 2. Added to the class number : E =  all vehicles belonging to JR East Japan built from 1993 onwards

(Example: モハE231-1070  (MOHA E231-1070) : motorised electric multiple unit coach without driving cab of Series 231 belonging to JR East Japan, no. 1070


  • 3. Letters added to the prefixes of multiple units, motor coaches and passenger stock

ハ           HA         ordinary passenger coach

ロ           RO         passenger coach with superior seating, "Green Car" (corresponds roughly to First Class in Europe)

ヤ           YA         coach for departmental use, non-revenue earning

ニ           NI          for luggage transport / luggage compartment

ユ           YU         post van

ネ           NE         sleeping car / compartment

シ           SHI       dining car / dining or buffet compartment

ル           RU         for transport services mainly between maintenance depots

フ           FU         (on locomotive hauled passenger stock only) with guard's compartment

テ           TE         (on locomotive hauled passenger stock only) tourist coach with special areas for viewing the scenery


● 4. Numbering system of Shinkansen coaches:  Number of coach type + coach number

a) All pre-JR trains and trains of JR-Tôkai, JR-West and JR-Kyûshû:

2-digit coach type numbers are known as "Series 0", 3-digit coach type numbers are: Series 100, 200, 300, 400, 500, 700, 800, 900.  Series 700 include: type 700 (717/8/9, 723/4/5/6/7),  type N700 and N700A (775/6/7, 783/4/5/6/7), type N700S (735/6/7, 743/4/5/6/7). Type 900 are trains not for passenger use

▸ Example: An 8-car train class 700 of JR West:  723-7016  725-7616  726-7516  727-7016  727-7116  726-7016  725-7716  724-7516

b) Shinkansen trains of JR East Japan (including H5 of JR Hokkaidô and W7 of JR West Japan):

Coach type E145/6/8, E153/4/5/6/8/9  = Class E1, Coach type E215, E223/4/5/6 = Class E2, Coach type E311, E322/5/6/8/9 = Class E3, Coach type E444/6, E453/5/6/8/9 = Class E4, Coach type E514/5, E523/5/6 or H514/5, H523/5/6 (JR Hokkaidô) = Class E5 / H5, Coach type E611, E621/5/7/8/9 = Class E6, Coach type E714/5, E723/5/6 or W714/5, W723/5/6 (JR West Japan) = ClassE7 / W7, Coach type E9 -  not for passenger use


● 5. Prefixes to coaches in passenger trains

 ナ           NA         weight 27,5 to 32,5 t

オ           O           weight 32,5 to 37,5 t

ス           SU         weight 37,5 to 42,5 t

マ           MA        weight 42,5 to 47,5 t

カ           KA         weight over 47,5 t

(Example: スハフ42 2071  -  ordinary passenger coach weighing 37,5 to 42,5 t and with guard's compartment, class 42, no.2071)


  • 6. Prefixes to freight and maintenance vehicles

ワ           WA        covered van

ト           TO         open wagon

コ           KO         for transport of containers

タ           TA          tank wagon

ホ           HO        hopper wagon, hopper ballast wagon

ヨ           YO         guard's van, breakvan

キ           KI          snowplough

チ           CHI       wagon to transport long items


  • 7. Letters added to the prefixes of freight and maintenance vehicles

 none                    weight under 13 t

ム           MU        weight 14 to 16 t

ラ           RA         weight 17 to 19 t

サ           SA         weight 20 to 24 t

キ           KI          weight over 25 t


  • 8a. Locomotives: First position
none      steam
   note: steam locomotive types built to a pre-1926 design are numbered in a different method without letters

E            electric

D           diesel

H           hybrid diesel/battery


  • 8b. Locomotives: Second position

B            two driven axles

C            three driven axles

D           four driven axles

E            five driven axles

F            six driven axles

H           eight driven axles