A new-model express train of Tobu Railway: I took a test ride on new limited express train “SPACIA X”!
A new-model express train, “SPACIA X,” of Tobu is scheduled to start running on July 15, 2023. Connecting Asakusa in Tokyo and Nikko and Kinugawa in Tochigi Prefecture, this express train is an upgraded version of the current limited express SPACIA in terms of the train design, interior, seats, and various other features, while inheriting the essential characteristics of limited express SPACIA. This is a report of my experience of joining a test-ride event of SPACIA X.
A special platform for SPACIA X in Asakusa Station, jazzing up the start and end of your trip
In time with the starting of SPACIA X’s operation, Asakusa Station on the Tobu SKYTREE Line was renovated. Serving as the starting point of SPACIA X, Platform 5 has a wood-tone decoration, which gives you a feeling of nature in Nikko and the sublime atmosphere of Nikko Toshogu Shrine, along with various kinds of illuminations. Even before you get on the train, the space can generate a sense of expectancy.
Photo provided by Tobu Railway Co., Ltd.
Simple and sophisticated design of the train
The exterior of the train is based on the image of noble white, which is reminiscent of the color of Japan’s traditional white pigment “gofun,” painted on Yomeimon Gate, Karamon Gate, and Gohonja main building of Nikko Toshogu Shrine.
In addition, the exterior design of the train has incorporated the letter “X,” which is symbolic to Kanuma Kumiko, a traditional craftwork of Tochigi Prefecture, creating a simple and stylish design.
A complete guide to all 6 types of seats!
Photo provided by Tobu Railway Co.,Ltd.
The train consists of six cars. Starting with the standard seats and premium seats, there are six types of seats in total, including ones where you can experience a luxurious space like a hotel room or lounge.
The standard seats are installed in Cars 3 to 5.
They are standard, yet each has a foot space of 110 cm, so you can stretch your legs and still have space. On the back of each seat, there is a power outlet, bottle holder, and foldable table, which has enough space to put a notebook PC or bento lunch box. Inside the armrest is a small retractable table. Each row of seats has one window, making you feel like you have the entire view from the window! You can tell the commitment of Tobu in detailed design and functionalities.
Car 5 also has box seats, with semi-private spaces with partitions.
Car 2 has premium seats. With an electric reclining seat and a movable pillow with neck support, you can really relax in a comfortable reclining position.
The compartment rooms (private rooms) of SPACIA have been upgraded in SPACIA X. The formation of the seats was changed from the conventional two seats arranged facing each other to those positioned in a U-shaped formation, and the table in each compartment is now foldable, creating a more convenient space as well as a more private atmosphere. The capacity per compartment is four people.
As the first car in the travelling direction of the train destined for Nikko and Kinugawa, Car 1 has a “Cockpit Lounge,” which creates a space just like in a hotel lounge. There are sofa seats for one, two, or four persons, where you can relax, and there is a café counter, where you can enjoy snacks, coffee, and beer.
Car 6 has a “Cockpit Suite,” the highest-grade seats of SPACIA X. The suite has an area of 11 sq. m., which is the largest among private railway express trains. The capacity is seven persons. In this suite, you can feel like you are travelling in a private jet. You can enjoy a luxurious view of the city and nature through a big window.
The café counter in Car 1 offers originally-developed craft beer and coffee as signature items. Other offerings are also unique to Nikko. Based on the idea of allowing you to enjoy local delicious food even after arriving at whatever your destination is, Nikko or Asakusa, snacks in a size which won’t make you full are served.
Each seat requires an express ticket in addition to a boarding ticket. For travelling from Asakusa to Tobu Nikko Station, the total fare will be 3,340 yen, including 1,400 yen for boarding and 1,940 yen for express charge. If you choose a premium seat, the total will be 3,920 yen, including 1,400 yen for boarding and 2,520 yen for express charge.
For box seats, compartment seats, cockpit lounge, and cockpit suite, a special seat charge will be applied in addition to an express fare for standard seats for the number of users. The special seat charge is 400 yen for box seats, 6,040 yen for a compartment, and for a cockpit lounge 200 yen for 1 person, 400 yen for 2 persons, and 800 yen for 4 persons. The cockpit lounge for 4 persons is available for 2 persons and more. The special seat charge is 12,180 yen for a cockpit suite.
SPACIA X runs between Asakusa and Tobu Nikko/Kinugawa-onsen stations. It is scheduled to make two round trips (Mon, Tue, Wed) and four round trips (Thur, Fri, Sat, Sun, holidays). When you are heading to Nikko, you can feel the atmosphere of Nikko at the very moment when you step on the train, and you can keep enjoying this ambiance during your trip until you get off the train. Enjoy a trip to Nikko on SPACIA X!