Trains for Sale! Tokyu Screens Possible Buyers of 8500 Series Cars Despite High Maintenance Cost | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Trains for Sale! Tokyu Screens Possible Buyers of 8500 Series Cars Despite High Maintenance Cost

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on LINE
The 8530 in service. Tokyu Corporation’s 8500 series trains were introduced in 1975, and will all be “retired” by the end of this fiscal year.

The sale of rolling stock to the general public is seen from time to time. In the past, the Eidan Subway made a big splash when it sold six of its retired Marunouchi Line Type 300 cars to the general public in 1991, and displayed and sold one of them at the Mitsukoshi Nihonbashi store. In the author’s neighborhood, one of the 103 Series cars used on the Keihin Tohoku Line was displayed about 30 years ago.


The cost was 1.76 million yen per car, and the other necessary expenses were enormous.

Tokyu Corporation was the first company to sell the cars to the public last October. A total of four 8500 Series cars, introduced in 1975 and used on the Den-en-toshi Line and other lines, were sold. However, more than six months have passed since the application deadline, and no one has decided where to transfer the cars. What on earth is going on?

The application period began on October 1 last year, and closed on October 20 for the 8522 and 8622 of the “8622 Series” and on November 20 for the 8530 and 8630 of the “8630 Series”. According to Tokyu, a total of 23 applications were received. The reason why the number of applications received was nearly six times as many as the number of orders from individuals, and the reason why no one has been able to find a buyer despite the first-come, first-served basis is that preservation of rolling stock is extremely difficult.

The cars to be sold this time cost 1.76 million yen per car, which seems about the same price as a compact car, but it is not something that can be bought easily like a car. In addition, transportation costs such as trailers and cranes, and maintenance costs such as installation of rails, sleepers, and roofs will be required, which is calculated to cost at least 10 million yen. This will be shouldered by the applicant.

Another problem unique to old railcars is asbestos, which is contained in the soundproofing and rust-preventive paint called “underseal” on Series 8500 railcars, and its transfer is regulated by law, so removal work will be required. The specific cost of this work is undisclosed, but it will be substantial.

In some cases, physical transportation and installation are not possible: each 8500-series car is 20 meters long and 2.8 meters wide, and weighs approximately 30 tons. There are many restrictions, such as whether or not a large trailer can enter the desired installation site and whether or not a large crane can be used to lift the cars, and if the ground is soft, the 30 tons of weight cannot be installed.

Another hurdle is the cost of maintenance after purchase. Many railcars that have been transferred to the general public have fallen into disrepair over time due to lack of proper management and maintenance. It is not good for the image of the company to have its own rolling stock rotting away, no matter how much it has left its hands, and it would be a complicated story if it collapsed and caused damage.

The bodies of the 8500 Series cars are made of stainless steel, and unlike steel cars, they do not corrode due to rust, but Tokyu explains that interior materials may deteriorate due to rain leaks. However, Tokyu says that interior materials may deteriorate due to rain leaks.

Tokyu will sell the properties to those who can be judged to be capable of properly preserving them.

Tokyu Corporation therefore adds the following information to its sales pitch: “Due to the various restrictions on purchases, we will only sell to those who we believe are capable of properly storing the vehicles after an internal screening process,” and it is screening potential buyers to ensure that they meet the above conditions. In other words, the screening process is taking so long that the transferee has not been decided.

Applications are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis, but in the event that the screening is not successful, the rights will be transferred to the next applicant, and the process will be repeated. However, since the company has already held discussions with all 23 applicants and is continuing concrete discussions with several of them toward the realization of the project, it is likely that many discussions are in progress at the same time and various conditions are being adjusted to each other.

The bottlenecks are said to be the costs related to transportation and installation, and the burden of asbestos removal costs. In response to a question about whether there were any unexpected situations or difficulties in the first public sale, Tokyu Corporation said, “Since there is a wide range of costs depending on the storage location and other conditions, we were unable to announce the approximate total cost in advance, and many customers gave up after estimating the total cost in the early stages of discussions,” he said in his defense.

Tokyu may have had enough of selling its trains to the general public if it had to go through all this trouble, but we hope that the company will continue its efforts to find final homes for retired trains by utilizing the know-how it has gained this time.

  • Interview and text Tatsuya Edakubo (Railway Journalist)

    Born in Saitama Prefecture in 1982. After working for the Tokyo Metro (Tokyo Metro) for 11 years, he became independent in 2017. He writes for various media, focusing on urban transportation in the Tokyo area.

Photo Gallery1 total

Photo Selection

Check out the best photos for you.

Related Articles