EAST JAPAN Railway has announced plans to order a new fleet of 10-car EMUs to operate Tokyo’s busy Chuo suburban lines. The first of 688 Series E233 cars are expected to enter service in December, starting the replacement of 710 Series 201 vehicles.

The E233 trainsets are derived from the Series E231 designed used on the Yamanote loop, with a lower floor height to permit easier boarding and improved priority seating. The stainless-steel car bodies will be stronger, and fitted with modified air-conditioning. Improved information displays are planned, with full colour external destination displays and internal LCD screens providing travel information and news.

JR East plans to introduced 10-car Series E233 sets on services from Tokyo to Otsuki and Ome, with six-car units working the Hajima - Musashi-Itsukaichi route. The lines from Otsuki to Kawaguchi-ko, Hajima to Komagawa and Ome to Okutama would be worked by four-car sets. The 10-car sets will have six motor and four trailer cars, using AC motors and VVVF inverter controls. Maximum speed will be 120 km/h, compared with 100 km/h for the Series 201 sets.