- Limited express
A limited express is a type of
express trainservice. It refers to an express service that stops at a limited number of stops in comparison to other express services on the same or similar routes.
The term "limited express" is a common translation of the Japanese word "特別急行 "tokubetsu kyūkō" (literally "special express"; often abbreviated "tokkyū"). Although some operators translate the word differently, this section is about "tokubetsu kyūkō" trains in Japan regardless of the translation by the operators.
In comparison with ordinary express trains, limited express trains generally use better coaches, travel faster and stop at fewer stations. Many limited-express trains include reserved seating, dining cars or food and beverage carts, and Green Cars. Travel on limited-express trains costs the same as or more than travel on ordinary expresses. Despite its distinction from ordinary express, limited express is the most typical style of intercity trains in Japan.
Until 1972, Hikari on the
Tōkaidō Shinkansenwas officially a "chōtokkyū", that is, "beyond limited express" or "superexpress," and was priced higher than Kodama, the limited express on the same line. Presently all Shinkansenservices are officially limited express, but are usually referred to as superexpress in English.
The next table summarizes the limited express on major Japanese railways (
JR Groupand 16 major private railways minus two major private railways that do not operate limited express).
In the era of steam-hauled provincial expresses, limited express services were common on highly trafficked routes. The
Night Limitedwas the premier express train on the North Island Main Trunk Railwaybetween Aucklandand Wellingtonfrom 1924 until 1971; during peak seasons, it was augmented by the Daylight Limited. Following the Night Limited was a slower unnamed express that stopped at more stations and provided a lower level of comfort.
A different pattern was employed on the
Main South Line. The South Island Limitedexpress ran three days a week from Christchurchthrough Dunedinto Invercargill, with a slower regular express operating on the other four days. Both regular and limited expresses were augmented by additional services between intermediate destinations, such as an evening railcarbetween Christchurch and Dunedin operated by the 88 seater or Vulcan classes.
Limited expresses were rare beyond the main trunk routes and the regular provincial expresses were typically augmented with even slower
mixed trains. However, when the Rotorua Express's schedule was accelerated in 1930 and its carriages upgraded, it was rebranded as the Rotorua Limited. Due to the Great Depressionand rising car ownership levels, it did not achieve the level of success intended, thus in 1937 it reverted to the status and service pattern of a regular express.
After the demise of the Night Limited and the South Island Limited in 1971, the term "limited express" has fallen into disuse in New Zealand and has not been applied to any subsequent trains. However, from 1971 to 1979, the Silver Star performed the role of a limited express as it operated to a faster schedule than a supplementary slower service that was known from 1975 as the Northerner.
* Rail transport in Japan
* [http://www.japanrail.com/JR_trainandseattypes.html Japan Railways Group - Train and seat types]
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