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  1. Hi everyone, my small layout project is slowly starting. The planning of the layout with its 3 segments can be found here. While waiting for the wood (I will get the parts laser cut by a friend) and the track pieces to arrive I used the time over the weekend to start looking into buildings I want to use on the layout. Since I want to build parts of the Tarumi Line in the future I thought it would be a good idea to use buildings that will later be useful on that project as well. So I started to look into one of the terminal stations: Tarumi Station. My version will follow the Fremo N-RE Standard which basically is single-track modules with a width of 40cm and track right in the middle. While you can move away from the standard width for a larger segment the ends should follow the standard. Google Earth has a good measuring tool so putting the track together went by fast enough. Once everything is finalized I will probably do an in-depth explanation in Layout planning. Here is the plan: Underlaying the track plan with the Google satellite images I can see what buildings would be on the layout. After that, I looked for houses on sale in the village surrounding the station and found a pretty good (but not accurate) plan of the full building that was once offered for sale. The building is the circled building on the plan. I gathered additional pictures of the building from Street View and multiple videos and other sources. There shouldn't be a lot missing from the part that will later be on the Tarumi Line modules. With that started the 3D modeling to later print the house. My current process looks like this: The hole over the front door is to mount an outside lamp later and have space for the cables. I hope that I can finish it over the week to print and assemble it soon.
  2. Hi guys, I'm finally feeling the urge to take the plunge and delve into making my very first permanent N scale layout from scratch starting from the bench work construction of a dedicated table to fully furnishing it with scenery. It'll be something I'll want to make taking inspiration from a few other Japanese layouts by members in the Japanese Railway Society and possibly some here. I'd like to make it a layout I can proudly display at convention centers and train shows (who wouldn't), without being sanguine for my first project. The name I have so far christened it with (桜木の湯線) is after the area I'm in as well as mentioning my love of cherry blossoms and hot springs. I'd like it to be a mostly steam JGR/JNR era fictional layout. There may be no catenary, but I'll have many EL that I like (EF13, EF65) running on it as well! The first stage in my mind is configuring the final track layout before the first shovelful of sod is turned. I'm using an app called "TrainDesign" to make a relatively complex track arrangement (hopefully not too advanced for my first layout) with KATO N Unitrack to fit within the confinement of space (a single table 1462 mm x 906 mm) I'm willing to spend in my apartment. Does anyone have experience using this, or would they recommend another program? The train table is something I'd really like to make the most of by having it be sturdy, portable and also presentable while still remaining practical and minimal in its embellishments. To give it a "Japanese" flavor, I'd like to stain and lacquer the wood finish of the fascia of the table and add ropes at the narrow ends for carrying it. A layout depicted below ("Yama no yu sen") built by Stephen Gomersall is said to have done such. Note the pedestrian bridge. I'm looking into more details about this layout for more inspiration. Any suggestions or advice? I thank you all for any help you can offer so I put my best foot forward! The layout will also strongly take inspiration from this depot model of a fictional Japanese roundhouse called "Kamanashi Kikanku" built by Phil Hendry. I hope to acquire the same or similar kits from which the roundhouse and turntable were built (Fleischmann). If anyone knows a good locale to purchase them, many thanks! I will soon shown the decided general track plan and rough sketches of the table I'll want to build for sociable critique before moving to the next stage; buying materials. Aside from the roundhouse mentioned above, I intend to have an engine house as well, merely since I'd like there to be plenty of space devoted to showing off my locomotives awaiting their next turn of duty. I have the three bay engine house kit that resembles the classic stone one in Hitoyoshi, one of my favorite landmarks on the line. I would however like to alter the color of the brickwork of the kit by making them a lighter shade (like the VoR shed below) to match the cedar woodwork of the table. If anyone has experience with kits such as what techniques or paints can be used to achieve this, much appreciated. Update (Nov 2, 2023): Here's the current track plan design courtesy of Doug Coster who rendered this for me in 3D. I'm pretty satisfied with it.
  3. Hi everyone, I wanted to build a small permanent layout before starting my project of building parts of the Tarumi Line. It is to see my trains running regularly and getting used to the smaller size of N-scale compared to H0. The space I have to build a permanent layout is 50cm x 85 cm. It is not much but since I'm focussing on Tarumi Line and I found that the models are labeled that they can pass mini curves the radius can go down to R140. So Katos R183 should be doable as a minimal radius. For a bit more space I can temporarily add another segment of 30cm (which I expanded to 30.8 cm, like a standard T-Trak module). To get the additional space as more running space I thought about adding the temporary segment between the permanent layout instead of just expanding it. That means I will split the 50cm into 2 parts which makes it 2 segments of 25cm x 85cm. My current plan is in the picture and I will explain my thoughts on it now: The double track will be spaced so you can connect T-Trak module to the segments to expand it if I ever want to or have T-Track modules on hand. The green areas would be only normal landscapes like grass, trees, and so on. On the top right, you can see the platforms of a rural station with a bridge connecting them. For the station building I wanted to already start modeling one of the station buildings from the Tarumi line and the smallest was at Higashi-Ōgaki Station. The colored part next to the station will become mostly residential buildings. I don't know if I will buy premade kits or go for some buildings you can find along the Tarumi Line here too. I wanted to have a bit of a freight service too and chose cement as the freight which was handled on the line till 2005/2006. On the track section 5 the freight cars would be loaded with cement and unloaded on section 9 or 10. That is why the industry on the segment in the middle would be a concrete plant and on the bottom segment, it would be the cement manufacturing plant. Greeting Junech -> The building of the layout can be found here.
  4. Only for the German members (maybe other too, pls check by your own), there is now the opportunity ... "2 Monate Amazon Kindle Unlimited kostenlos testen" to gather via the Kindel and a free 2-month subscription KATO UNITRCK plans and layouts with detailed track plans Here is the list of the original eBook Japan layouts for KATO UNITRACK: Have Fun !
  5. And that "this" is reproduce A.R. Walkley's ' layout in a suitcase' in HO scale with *drumroll* Kato HO unitrack. As the shed door was tweeked and the weather is constantly against me going out there. Annoying thing is I don't think I've got any photographs of it set up and I was having issues tuning the lengths of the sidings to work with the turnouts and the uncoupling track. Oh and how to fasten the track down. Some of it I used screws on, but I appear to've either missplaced the pack or I ran out of them as only the tracks going over the board edges are fastened down. Back to the turnouts I think they're all #6, but I've got some #4s still in the blister packs, so that brings up question marks. The rolling stock I'm working with is Australian HO stock as at the time I was unaware the existence of Japanese HO stock and just thought that HO unitrack was something Kato was doing for the US market. I also got it working in DC and DCC, though I think I scavenged a NCE Powercab layout interface unit off of something to do that and somehow fed voltage to the usual Kato switch controllers ah this picture is from when I think I was trying to add Walkley's plan to a N-trak format This is from giving up on N-trak(?) and just went with the straight Walkley plan I think someone somewhere said it was a x anniversary of the design coming up, and going by the file dates it was the 90th when I started it. As it's the 100th year anniversary coming up in 2026, I've got 4 more years to complete it! Perhaps by then I'll finally have an idea on the scenery. Maybe I'd region change and get some Japanese HO to run on it. Who knows
  6. After the experience I got with my first layout on tables back in August, I bought some more of Ikeas Lack tables for my next thing. This time, I wanna try a different approach, as I still need my GFs aproval for some of the tables I put in the livingroom (mostly because of manouverabilty and easy of access for the couch) and try to get some general ideas what I wan't and could do. And in contrast to my FAST-Layout for Shinkansen I built last time, with a simple loop, I wan't to get point to point operations going with DCC. Features I want: - Commuter layout for 10 car trains - 2 Stations (in the operation sense, with switches and parking spaces for 5, 10 and 11 car trains) - one or multiple stops for 10 car trains - single track extension of a line continuing of one station for at leas 5 car trains - may contain bridges - may contain viaduct stations I already made a first draft of what could fit, and also have some photos of the tables setup.
  7. Hey guys, I'm slowly starting to build up track and other supplies for a small N-scale layout mostly using Kato-brand Unitrack. Currently, Kato has a very limited amount of their unitrack available with concrete ties, and I'm just wondering if anyone has ever tried to repaint the black wood tie track pieces to make them look like their concrete-tie counterparts? If so, could you tell me the color(s) used or recommendations for potential colors? ~Phillip
  8. Tokyo West

    Maranouchi West floor layout

    Hi everyone! So I'm currently living in Shenzhen, China for 2 years while I teach music at an international school. During our first October holiday, we got to visit Tokyo, Japan, where I fell in love with the vast and efficient system of trains and the general politeness of the people we met. I've been lucky enough to live in several countries in my life, but Japan strikes me as a shining example of what other places could achieve if they fully committed to public rail transport. So, I got some trains from the wonderful Kato store, as well as a pair of second hand Shinkansen (100 and 300) from Popondetta Akihabara, and enough track for a simple double loop with stations. After a couple of weekend trips to Hong Kong, I built up enough track for a much larger double loop with some buildings and sidings. Then I began building a viaduct system to run the Shinkansen. I based my system on the central Tokyo station, and the next commuter stop on the Yamanote line, Shimbashi. That's my simple 4 track commuter station across the street from a row of large skyscrapers (still collecting those) and behind that, the Shinkansen viaducts. That's the main diorama of the layout, and everything else is mostly for operation. I enjoy a mix of scenery and passenger operation, especially with a variety of different types of trains with different roles, Commuter, Limited Express, and long distance Shinkansen. Here's a basic rundown of my layout plan, and eventual additions. The layout is basically complete at this point, and what I'm going to add are staging tracks and a connecting ramp between the upper and lower lines which will make the operation more fun. I began by thinking about the kind of operation I most enjoyed, with commuter trains making regular stops and shuffling back and forth, and ducking away to let faster express trains by. Once I had that idea down, I started designing the scene I wanted. I particularly liked the spot in Tokyo, the Maranouchi skyline seen from the imperial gardens where the trains are running in between the skyscrapers. The main diorama is loosely based on that. Tokyo station at the moment is represented by a single-level 4-track terminus, and a lovely old Faller station kit built by my father in the late 1980s! I thought it a decent stand-in for the gorgeous red-brick Maranouchi station building. My apartment has a spare bedroom which we mostly don't use - so it was perfect as a spot for a return loop. The Shinkansen line is essentially a single track loop folded into a dumbell shape with a return loop at each end. I've tried to keep the 'driving on the left' system as far as possible - so familiar to me from designing OO British layouts for so long. Since I'm focusing on Tokyo amd Shimbashi, I'm focusing on the JR West Shinkansen, which have always been my favorite - the 100, 300, 500, and 700 series. I finally got an E7 though. The blue and gold is so pretty, and since the line to Kanazawa will eventually link up with Osaka, I consider it an honorary West Shinkansen, even though it leaves Tokyo via Omiya. The way I run this layout at present, trains leave Tokyo station and cross to the inner track. Eventually they terminate and cross back to the outer track in the other direction, and terminate back at Tokyo. More details and structures to come! I had a frustrating period of trying to do a city pavement base for my Maranouchi scene with thick card - which bent up and wouldn't lie flat, even with metal rulers glued to it. In the end I gave up and went with thin card which sits flat much better. I'll keep updating it as I can! I have an order of track and structures on the way which will spruce up the Tokyo Station a little. Also coming are the two wonderful Odakyu Romancecars - 7000 and 10000 series, both in wine red color. Favorites of mine from Microsoft Train Simulator back in the day! All best! Keep 'em rolling, train fans! Michael
  9. Hello everyone, I'm on the hunt for some software not too terribly expensive (hopefully) that lets you plan out an N scale track plan. I only plan to use sectional Kato Unitrack, so an archive of Kato track parts is a must. Do you have recommendations or programs that you would avoid? (By the way, I am using a PC) ~Phil
  10. Chotsootrain

    Unitrack "masterpiece" M2 endless

    Hello. I'm a newbie and as starter bought Kato unitrack 20-851 M2 endless basic set. Due to space limitations, my planned track layout is only 2' x 4'. Questions: 1) what additional track packages do I need to maximize my track layout, 2) is it better to buy DCC equipped than just DCC ready? 3) are cabooses also energised? 4) how many units can I pull in one track? 5) where do I need DCC decoders? 6) what kind/type of controller do I need to run 3-4 track? Thank you
  11. Hello everyone! Today marks one of the first days that I've begun work on an actual (hopefully) N-Scale layout! As these first two pictures demonstrate, I finally arranged a deal to get some space for a small layout, which at the moment is 16' × 2' (really only 20", because of the upper shelf support poles.) Eventually, when time, useable space and family permit, I have plans to expand it into a reversed 'F' shape, through the use of additional shelves along a different wall, and a heavy duty wooden center island table left over from some HO-scale projects. The shelving on the rear wall will the be top part of the letter 'F', and will add about 11' by 2' (again, only 20" of that useable). Final dimensions of the center island table TBD. (Possibly 5' × 6'?) I'll try and post the potential track plan(s) later tonight! I am also always open to feedback, so please chime in, it might really help me out! Thanks for your interest! ~Phillip R.
  12. Hello all, As with any railroad there comes a time that a railroad track has to cross a roadway, which requires a grade crossing or grade separation. Since space is an issue, even in N-Scale, I am forced to opt to use grade crossings instead of separations. I can't say I'm particularly thrilled with any of the N-Scale Japanese-style crossings currently in production, but I really do like those Kato Unitram plates. Has anyone cut the plates, parallel to the track in order to space them further apart for use on standard Kato Unitrack? ~Phil
  13. gerryo

    -Gerry's Mixed Layout

    This plan will include all modes of track and vehicles used in Japanese model railroading. Well, the ones I am interested in anyway. Unitram. This is where I got interested in Japan models. I ordered a V50 set from them 4 years ago, they put it on back order, and I never heard from them again. That was when I found out that I could order from Japan, and even though the shipping is expensive, I at least get what I order. Unitrack. I later got interested in Japan trains when I saw my first Shinkansen. Found out how easy it is to use Unitrack, and all the variety there is to use. I tried then to combine both on the same layout with some disastrous results. Thanks to the people on this forum for straightening me out. Mind you they also have some expensive ideas. Moving Buses. Then along came Tomytec with their moving bus system, which opened up other possibilities, and other problems. These were designed so that you could combine them with their Wide Track Tram system and ideas took off. So this will be my real serious layout to try to combine all these systems into the same layout. I have some of it laid out on a plan that I have been playing with. I got 3 aluminum frame tables from Noch in Germany and will try to cram as much as possible into this plan. Now I have to try to remember how to copy a plan into here. Let me give it a try and I will be back with further details. Gerry
  14. Hi all! I have a KATO Unitrack layout and I am looking into getting a station for my track. The station area (at ground level) has place for 3 platform islands and is around 4-8 x 248 mm in length. I have looked into the stations that KATO produces, but I was generally underwhelmed by what KATO has to offer. The rural trainstation set does not fit the layout, and the island platforms of the ‘old style’ and ‘new style’ I find a bit underwhelming in terms of looks and expandability (the old style bridge can only be connected to 1 platform, while the new style bridge can only accommodate 2 island platforms out of the box). I find ‘typical’ Japanese train stations that KATO uses for inspiration generally not that appealing, in terms of looks, even though some Japanese train stations (such as Hachinohe, Kanazawa, Asahikawa, Toyama, Osaka, Kyoto and others) are much prettier. My question to you all is: Are there some alternatives to the KATO stations (that fit for KATO Unitrack in terms of height and island platform width?) What stations do you use with KATO Unitrack? Do you build your own from scratch? Or do you maybe ‘enhance’ the KATO stations with other packages from other manufacturers/other countries/homebrew modifications and additions? Pictures of your own station for inspiration is highly appreciated! Thanks!
  15. Anyone know If piers are available for unitrack? If not I guess home made is the way to go. Wish I had a wood shop. :) Maybe some of those cool concrete cage looking things found in the N gauge track V13. Anyone know about anything being available? Thanks!!
  16. I have run into a track planning issue that I thought I would ask the experts A quick track planning issue, I am primarily planning on running passenger EMUs, but I have run into a potential problem on my track plan. My track is basically against the back of the layout (1ft. shelf) but I want to run it back to the shelf so that I can ultimately complete a loop. The dimensions I have suggest that I might be able to run a ? shape, but only if I make extensive use of the 216mm (8 1/2") 45 degree unitrack pieces (and cheat a little bit). I have to make the ? shape in a 1' by 2' area so using any larger size track won't work (nor can it have easement curves). I am ok with the use of 8 1/2" unitrack (and I have some pieces available from prior projects). I know it is going to look horrid, and I will likely hide most some of the track work in easy to access tunnels, but really would like opinions as to whether this is such a bad idea that I should be making significant modifications to my track plan. Has anyone tried running EMUs on this tight of curve? I will likely pull out the trailer cars from my set later and see if they will navigate the curves and pass on that spacing. Thanks, Mark
  17. kvp


    One thing i noticed is that classic wooden tie unitrack joined with unijoiners looks really off around the joiners. Not only we have a double tie join (which is relatively rare today), but the joiner itself is flat gray and this creates holes in the tie pattern. So i just removed the joiners and painted the raised tie parts with a lack marker pen. The result can be seen on the attached picture. (yes they are kato/tomix converter tracks) The painted unijoiners are in the middle and can be barely seen. Imho this makes it look much better. My question is does anyone paint their joiners or nowdays just nobody uses wooden tied track anymore? (because with the concrete ties or with slab track, flat gray is the correct color) ps: I also noticed a difference in rail thickness, finetrack is much thinner, so much that kato track can't even be forced into a finetrack joiner without damaging it. I had to use two roco joiners that fit anything. (and i still have to paint the two brass joiners supplied by kato) Unpainted unijoiners: http://www.thelococentre.com/userimages/Klickverbindung_1.jpg (sorry for the bad picture quality on my attached photo)
  18. what happend to Katos 20-230 crossover? i was looking forward to it when it was announced!
  19. Concept Model Trains

    Kato Unitrack and Unitram Track Plans

    I have discovered a section of the Kato Japanese website that is featuring some great track plans for Unitrack and Unitram in both N scale and H0. You can find it here: http://www.katomodels.com/unitrackplan/ It is currently being updated every week and at the moment is showing some Unitram plans. Some of the compact N scale layouts are also quite good. There is also a great layout design based on the Toyama tram route in the Unitram section: http://www.katomodels.com/unitram/layout.shtml
  20. bill937ca

    Unitrack 20-184

    I have used Anyrail for sometime to plan Tomix and Tomix Widetram layouts. Since I tried out Unitram and liked it I decided to try Unitrack. and use Anyrail to plan a small oval. Yesterday I received my Unitrack order that I planned with Anyrail and immediately found I did not have enough track for the oval and too much of another piece of track. The principle reason is that the 20-184 easement curve is presented as a 22.5 degree curve when it is the same size 20-183 45 degree curve. According to Anyrail you need five pieces of track: 2 x 22.5 degrees plus x 3 45 degrees for a 180 degree curve. It actually takes four pieces to do a 180 degree curve, two 20-184 easement curves and two 20-183 45 degree super-elevated curves. I have put the track together and taken it apart to confirm this. Kato does not call the 20-184 easement curve 22.5 degrees on the packaging. I think the 22.5 comes one half of the 20-184 piece, but the 20-184 itself is actually 45 degrees. I have had to place another order and pay another shipping charge because of this wrongly documented piece of track. I am tired of waiting and want to run trains again. In the past requests for additions to the Tomix track date base Anyrail have gone unanswered, so I am not going to contact Anyrail. I did not buy Anyrail version 5 and I will not. I would not recommend going beyond the free version. But I would also suggest by using the free version you are getting what you pay for. If I have this much grief with a small oval, imagine what a full layout could be like.
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