JMTN blog

(Japanese Model Train Newsletter)

Tomix 321 series EC sets review

In late February, Tomix released their version of the 321 series EC, in two configurations …

  1. 92946 – a 7 car limited edition set (with single pantographs)
  2. 92304 & 92305 – a 3 car set & 4 car add-on respectively (with twin pantographs)

The 321 series was built for JR West in 2005 for use as the main set for their Osaka area commuter services, and is very similar to the 207 series. As of April 2006, there were 20 sets, with at least 36 sets planned, and they are used mostly on the Tokaido/San’yo(Kyoto/Kobe/Biwako), Fukuchiyama & Kosei main lines, replacing older 201 and 205 series sets. All sets are 7 cars, with 6 cars powered on one bogie only, and one trailer car. Technically, it is classified as 6M1T, but is actually the equivalent of a 3M4T configuration. This is said to have been done as a late design change after the tragic Amagasaki accident in April 2005, because of a possible risk factor in the concentration of regenerative brakes on fully powered cars. Another unusual design feature is that all cars have mounting points on the roof for twin pantographs, even though only three cars in the train are fitted with pantographs. This common design was used on all cars to reduce construction costs and facilitate modifications in the future. Top speed is 120km/h.


(photo from Railfan magazine)

The colour scheme is a new one for JR West, but was actually previewed on 207 sets that were repainted after the Amagasaki accident, rather than following the 207’s original colours of light blue to help commuters to try and forget that terrible day. The main body is silver with dark blue window bands, and a medium orange, small white and wide dark blue stripe under the windows. The cab fronts are dark blue with a panel that fades into the silver. Roof and under-floor details are light gray.


(321 (left) & 207 in new colour scheme (right) – from Rail Journal)

Apparently the first 10 sets have single pantographs, and all the others after that have twin pantographs. The model has little white ‘insulators’ that plug in where the absent pantographs should be. Paint finish is excellent, except that the blue ‘fading’ panel on the sides of the nose is a bit too short. A couple of small parts have to be added to the roof, although on the cab car you have to drill the hole for yourself. This means you have to remove all the cab interior with the head/tail light assembly, which is quite fiddly, especially when trying to get it all back together again 😦

However you may wish to remove this assembly anyway to alter the train’s destinations board, as there is quite a list of alternatives …

  • Oumimaiko (Kosei line local – fitted as standard)) 
  • Nishi-Akashi (Kobe line local)
  • Kyoto (Kyoto line local)
  • Takatsuki (Kyoto line local)
  • Kusatsu (Biwako line local)
  • Yasu (Biwako line local)
  • Suma (San’yo local)
  • Kakogawa (San’yo line local)
  • Kobe (Kobe line local)
  • Osaka (rapid service)
  • Sasayamaguchi (Fukuchiyama line rapid service)
  • Shin-Sanda (Fukuchiyama line local)
  • Tsukaguchi (Fukuchiyama line local)

There is a comprehensive sheet of rub-on car numbers, as well as other small lettering details. The reversing head and tail lights are quite weak, even at higher speeds, so I was a little disappointed with that. The power car runs smoothly and reasonably quietly, although not as quiet as some I have tried. The wheels are not blackened, and there is provision for TN couplers #0335 to be fitted.

CONCLUSION:This is quite an attractive looking train, and if you are modelling modern Japan, particularly the Kansai area, it will slot into you rolling stock fleet very nicely 🙂


P.S. – Kato are also due to release a version of this train (the twin pantograph version only) in the next couple of months, but who cares  – you even have to pay extra if you want alternate destination boards !!!! 😆

March 12, 2007 - Posted by | model review, Tomix


  1. I don’t think that last comment is correct. Even though they are a very similar looking train, the underframe details, the bogies, the roofs, even the bodies are different, so there is actually NO part that is the same …

    I do know that both Tomix had a re-release planned, and Kato were also planning a new model of the 207, and both of these were cancelled. That’s they way the Japanese mind works !!!

    Comment by redracer | April 21, 2007 | Reply

  2. Actually some of 321 series models are originally from 207 series models because TOMIX suspended manufacture of model of 207 series and later recalled its models voluntarily followed by the Amagasaki accident to help commuters to try and forget that terrible day.

    Comment by tobuadantoq | April 21, 2007 | Reply

  3. That is just congecture, as I don’t know how far thru the design phase the 321 was up to when the accident happened.

    But informed sources have hinted that was the reason, even though it has not been officially stated by JR West.

    However it is unusual for an EC set to have this type of drive – it’s a lot more common with DC sets.

    Comment by redracer | March 13, 2007 | Reply

  4. So, if that Amagasaki accident didn’t occur, this 321 series might have been released something like 3M4T not 6M1T ?

    Comment by gamera63 | March 12, 2007 | Reply

  5. No, the 321’s do not have end windows, unlike the 207’s (which also had a strange offset end door arrangement!).

    Comment by redracer | March 12, 2007 | Reply

  6. Are they also windows at the both ends of each and every car but the control room?

    Comment by gamera63 | March 12, 2007 | Reply

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