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I'm done with my one year at Kyoto University. Sent my trains back to the USA using SAL (Japan Post). Everything arrived intact. I have my Kyoto-themed train display up now. The Keihan mainline I rode to Osaka a few times a week on the left (from top to bottom: Microace A-9992; Greenmax 30191/301932; Microace A-2858). Everything else is on the right. Everytime I walk past the foyer to the front door, I'll be reminded of my time there... My layout should be up tomorrow. I went for the abstract using a tatami mat. Pictures later. My webpage: http://elmo.sbs.arizona.edu/sandiway/ngauge/index.html
Sooo... As many of you may know, there are plans to create some sort of Dutch Japanese T-Trak club, but apart from a standards guide and some try-outs by Toni and Martijn not much has been achieved yet except for postponing. I personally also came up with several ideas for prospective modules, but I never liked them enough to put them into reality. But more than that I couldn't decide what exactly I wanted to model. A double track suburban mainline; a single-track rural line; JR East; JR Shikoku; something completely different; etc. etc. Eventually I narrowed down my modelling interest to the Keihan Ōtsu Lines and JR Shikoku, but decided to go with the Ōtsu Lines for my T-Trak modules because it fits better in the limited space of the modules and the rolling stock is cheaper. :P I still want to make a layout for my JR trains one day, but that's for another time. If you think of the Keihan Ōtsu Lines there's one thing that will immediately pop-up in your mind: the street running section. The street-running section is located south and west of Hamaōtsu Station where the Keishin Line and the Ishiyama-Sakamoto Line join. I first wanted to incorporate Hamaōtsu Station in the modules including the famous intersection, but while it's a very interesting station, it's way too big for a small T-Trak module and just not really to my taste scenery-wise. I also wanted to replicate the siding east of Hamaōtsu Station (you need some sidings anyway and that way it would be prototypical as well), but that made the station+intersection+sidings way too long and resulted in spacing problems between the Unitram switch needed for the intersection and the normal Unitrack switches for the siding. All in all an interesting challenge, but it just wasn't really what I was looking for. Shinomiya Station Looking for a way to put a station, sidings and interesting scenery in a small space, I came across Shinomiya Station located on the Keishin Line and Ōmijingūmae Station on the Ishiyama-Sakamoto Line. Ōmijingūmae Station has some sidings and a maintenance facility near the station, but Shinomiya Station has sidings adjacent to the station platforms which means that it's possible to put everything together in a very small space. Shinomiya station also has some nicer scenery with a river crossing the tracks just west of the station. Because planning can't hurt I played a bit with Anyrail which resulted in this: (Module size: 1240 x 310 mm) The lengths of the platforms have to be at least 43 cm to provide space for the 4-car Keihan 800 series. Here you can see how it would look like with trains in the station: (blue = 16m long Keihan 800 series; green = 2-car 15m Keihan train; red = standard 20m 3-car EMU; yellow = maintenance vehicle) Apart from that this layout provides three platform tracks and sidings, it's also possible to change tracks using the middle platform track without causing a short circuit because of the power routing of the Unitrack turnouts and thus also shunting a train from the sidings to the outer track (below in the picture) should also be possible. The sidings are not really long enough to store an 800 series EMU, but as you can see with some creativity everything will fit. I could make the sidings longer by making them parallel to the main tracks, but that makes the view a bit boring. The main disadvantage of this plan is that the station will be four modules long with no way of making shorter modules because of how the tracks are arranged. 1240 mm is quite a length... There's one other problem: I don't really know which platform to use for the island platform. The distance between the centers of the tracks is 49.5mm, which means that Kato platforms which are made for 66mm spacing will not work. Tomytec/Tomix have some platforms with 25mm width, but I fear that those will be too narrow leaving ugly gaps between the train and the platform. Greenmax' city island platform is also too wide (40mm), but Greenmax' one-sided city platform could work being 30mm wide. I'm thinkin of kit-bashing the Greenmax side platform base with some roofs, but first I will have to measure everything. Street-running is still something I want to have somewhere of course, but I'll probably make a separate module or two for that.
http://www.citylab.com/commute/2014/11/kyoto-can-teach-the-dc-metro-a-lesson-about-express-tracks/382286/ I don't know why Kyoto is used as an example, as this practice is widespread in Japan, maybe it's because Kyoto is trendy nowadays, especially among the waspy liberals that likely read urbanist and transport blogs. *The caption for the Eizan picture is a little misleading though, implying some kind of seamless transfer to Keihan, like a cross platform deal, when in fact the Eizan terminal is at ground level, which requires you to exit the ticket gate, walk and go down an escalator to the Keihan terminus underground.