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  1. LAYOUT DIARY START I thought I'd slowly document the process of making my first layout. This post contains an overview of the final model. Other sections I've written or plan to write are: Planning Process Hills, Roads and Tracks Buildings Detail Station Lighting I bought my first train last year - a bright yellow n-scale Kato Sobu 101 - and was looking for inspiration for a new layout to build around it. I needed something relatively modest, since this would be the first one I've constructed and I didn't want to set myself up for over-achievers failure, creating more work then I had the time or inclination to put myself to. I've been obsessed with Japan since living in Yokahama as a very young child. Clearly my purchase of the Kato was part of this obsession, and I was keen to build some (probably poor) approximation of a Japanese environment around it. The Sobu train runs on the Seibu Kokunbunji line in Tokyo, so I followed the route on Google Maps looking for an area that I could use as a subject. Eventually, I found a small, pedestrian-feeling street called Takenodai Ekidori in the west of the city, which I've used as the basis for this layout. I've tried to copy the houses quite accurately, and the general layout of the area a bit more freely. The street itself is longer, and Takenodai Station is a bit larger than I planned, so I've created a fictional station of my own. I've been working on this layout for a while now, so I'm late in terms of posting progress here. Sorry. I thought I'd use this first post to show where I am right now with construction, then use a few subsequent posts to go back through some of the process, then show a bit more detail as I finish up. Comments and feedback very welcome, although obviously I'm pretty committed at this point since I'm about 80% of the way through! 🙂 So here's where I am now. This model is a 240cm by 27cm "shelf" layout. I just ended up with those dimensions based on my decisions of what track length to use, and how much of the street I wanted to copy. It's electrified, with one point. The street basically runs along one side, with a small rise on the other. Here's a video of the whole layout, and a bunch of shots. At this end of the layout is a small canal, crossed by the street and the track. The station entrance is scratch made, with stairs that rise up to a Kato Suburban station. A row of small shops and restaurants line the street. These are all scratch made, based on images that I captured through Google Street View (I'll get into the process of this in a later post). Here are some general macro shots of different parts of the layout. I've used LED-based street lighting along the length of the street, and dismantled a few of the lamp posts in order to build lighting into the shops and the station. The various cars and buses also have lights in them, although they need different power to the other LEDs, and I haven't quite figured out how to manage that yet. The LEDs are pretty effective in the station (since I took this shot I've closed off the visible gap at the bottom of the station columns, so they're a little cleaner). The mix of warm and cool LEDs seems to create a realistic effect, although it was a happy accident after buying two seperate batches of street lamps that didn't match. I've lit most of the shops from within, too. Here's a YouTube video of the layout "at night". Anyway, that's where I'm at. I still have a bunch of tidying up to do. More greenery to add, as well as people. The sides need painting, and possibly more road markings and signs. If anyone has suggestions for small details to add I'd love to hear them. As I mentioned above, I'll put together more detail and photos about the process I went through to get to this point in subsequent posts. If anyone has any specific questions please let me know. Next: Planning Process
  2. I was at Tokorozawa Station riding my favorite Shinjuku Line trains this past weekend, and noticed this, but didn't know until I came across this video today that songs from Studio Ghbili's My Neighbor Totoro had become the official departure melody for the station from Nov. 3. Appropriate as the scenes from the movie were inspired by locales in that area of Saitama.
  3. Hey guys, I recently bought a Tomytec Railway Collection Gudetama Seibu 30000 系. Tomytec suggest using the TM-08R motor kit, TT-04R wheel set and 0284 pantograph. This doesn't add lighting or keep there interior pieces though. I'm curious if anyone has taken the railway collection trains and added the frame from another manufacturer before? In this case it, Greenmax seems to make a set with motor and cab cars that could questionably have these car bodies placed on top.
  4. Kitayama

    Seibu

    Just a few pictures from my first trips on Seibu. April 5, 2017.
  5. Yesterday a joint statement of four railways was issued announcing the intention of starting reserved seat service using the to-be-delivered Seibu 40000 series. Starting from Spring 2017, this service will operate weekends and holidays between Chichibu and Yokohama Chukagai (for sightseers), and weekdays, on a Seibu Ikebukuro Line-Tokyo Metro Yurakucho Line routing (for commuters). The 40000 series feature rotating seats, convertible between longitudinal and airline configurations. http://news.mynavi.jp/news/2016/06/16/264/ press release: http://www.seibu-group.co.jp/railways/news/news-release/2016/__icsFiles/afieldfile/2016/06/16/20160616_zasekisiteisouchoku_1.pdf
  6. Really just a re-branding of existing services using the Fukutoshin line for through running, but intended to be easier to understand for passengers, given the different train designations attached to a train as it passes through each railway. Began running under this monicker from the March 26 timetable revision. http://www.tobu.co.jp/file/pdf/3d2881ee48143e73f17131401fbfdbfd/151218-4.pdf?date=20151218192334 *the "F" stands for "fast", "five", and "Fukutoshin"
  7. Railsquid mentioned in the Todoroki thread about the Seibu Shinjuku Line partial undergrounding. It will result in the elimination of numerous grade crossings in this portion of Nakano Ward, which typically remain open for periods of only 20 to 30 seconds during rush hours, causing major motor traffic congestion. Completion scheduled to be 2020. This is one which will be eliminated, located between Araiyakushi and Numabukuro- officially called the Araiyakushi #2 Crossing, which is where the Nakano Road crosses the Shinjuku Line. Video taken earlier this month. *get your pics while you can...
  8. I went to this event last Sunday. It is primarily an indoor event (good considering it falls within the rainy season in the Kanto area). It is interesting they ran the special trains right into the maintenance facility, and unloaded passengers using the inspection catwalks. Seibu ran a morning special train from Motomachi Chukagai,replacing the traditional special from Seibu Shinjuku Station. As I mentioned in another post, this event had the greatest number of vendors/representatives from other private railways as I have seen to date (admittedly, I have mainly been to JR events so far). I could only hang around for the first 2 hours, as I had to catch an afternoon flight back to Hokkaido from Narita AP. Otherwise I would have caught one of the afternoon shuttle trains back to Hanno, or the return special to Ikebukuro. Youtube contributor karibajct's coverage of this event:
  9. Keio, Tokyu, Seibu and Tokyo Metro now number there stations and I have issued revised route maps. Tokyu has a PDF map showing station numbers.There is an interactive version of this map on the Japanese language Tokyu web site that links through to station information pages. This version of the map is not on the English language Tokyu web page and I just happened to stumble upon it. The Tokyu map shows the name and color of Tokyo Metro through routings, something that is rare. PDF version http://www.tokyu.co.jp/railway/menu/rosen-web080602.pdf Interactive version http://www.tokyu.co.jp/railway/menu/station.html Seibu also has a new PDF map showing station numbers. Tokyo Metro Yurakucho Line, Fukutoshin Line, and Tokyu Toyoko LIne stations served by through routed trains.are also shown. http://www.seibu-group.co.jp/railways/tourist/english/train_information/railwaysmap.pdf Keio also has added station numbers to their route map, but there is no info on stations served by through routed trains. http://www.keio.co.jp/english/railwaymap/map.pdf Tokyo Metro shows its own stations, but none of the station served by through routed lines. http://www.tokyometro.jp/en/subwaymap/pdf/routemap_en.pdf Tobu does not have an English route map. Keisei only has minimum of mapping. http://www.keisei.co.jp/keisei/tetudou/skyliner/us/timetable/ There is a Suica Pasmo Route Map on the JR East web site, but it only shows principal stations and no station numbering. http://www.jreast.co.jp/e/routemaps/pdf/RouteMap_majorrailsub.pdf The maps with station numbers and through routing are an improvement. Still there is a need for more information on through routing stops. The space requited for this may require a separate panel (on the reverse in a print version-for iinstance) to clearly present the services.
  10. I have long ignored the Seibu Railway, perhaps because it's located in an area far from my usual haunts in southern Tokyo/Kanagawa Pref. However my growing interest in the shrinking number of flat junctions as well as the recent establishment of through running on the Toyoko Line have sparked some curiousity in this major suburban railway. Tokorozawa is the heart of this railway, being the junction of the Ikebukuro and Shinjuku Lines. The view from the south end is especially interesting- in the following video, the left side is the Ikebukuro Line, with the flyover in the distance, the middle are layover tracks, and the far right is the Shinjuku Line. All of this is crossed by a road in the foreground, making for an interesting train watching scene: The following zooms into the Ikebukuro Line portion during the evening rush. You can see the variety of rolling stock that uses this line, including Tokyo Metro stock. Station announcements as well as destination indicators on the trains makes for easy identification:
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