There are multiple series of Japanese trains, such as E233系3000番台, 223系9000番台, etc. I think both 系 and 番台 can be translated as "series". What is the difference between 系 and 番台 in this context? Is this naming convention specific to trains, vehicles, etc.?


I am not a [撮り鉄]{とりてつ} or something who is a train freak taking a photo of trains, so this is a layman perspective.

According to [鉄道]{てつどう}の[車両番号]{しゃりょうばんごう}, ○○[形]{けい} or ○○[型]{けい} which is the model of a train (e.g. Boeing 737 is the model of a Boeing airplane) with the same performance, same equipments, or same features, etc.

○○ [系]{けい} is used to describe a group of the model.

○○○○[番台]{ばんだい} is a serial number which is used to describe a train with the same performance, same equipments, or some same features. The same model can be manufactured by a different train company (i.e JR西日本 and JR東海 may manufacture same model with different serial number for different areas).

That is to say, [番台]{ばんだい} is normally attached with [系]{けい}.

I am not sure about it is the similar to a car model registration system. Probably there is the same model of a car which has a different name by a different company due to branding perspective.

If I were a branding manager of a car company, I want to name a car "Corolla" as much as I could. I think it is a different naming convention from a public transportation like train vehicles.


I think both 系 and 番台 can be translated as "series"

No. 系 would be Series but 番台 is Type.

The reason behind train's called like that is there's too many "E233 series type 9000".
We don't want to see E233 series type 9000-1, 9000-2, 9000-3, 9000-4... right?

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