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Kabutoni

T-Trak Tokyo Project

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Kabutoni

Hello all,

 

I see works of our Hungarian members got shared on a new Facebook group page called "T-Trak Tokyo Project": https://www.facebook.com/groups/1013302152090795/

 

This is a group that has just started off and wants to popularise the 33mm "Alternate Spacing" module standards for a broader public, other than just tram enthusiasts. Here they take a look at what is going on abroad with T-Trak and concluded that 33mm is by far the most popular standard, as opposed to the declining popularity of 25mm in Japan. It also seems that this project will be endorsed by Kato, as the first lecture on this project will be held on the May the 29th in Kato Hobby Centre Tokyo. One of their goals will be to create the largest T-Trak layout in the world in 2020, during the Olympic year. Somehow, I feel this can become a great success, as they also want to incorporate the popular MoRaCo and the JAM.

 

Personally, I've gotten very interested in this project, as it's a great attempt at uniting T-Trak around the world. Whereas the alternative 33mm standard has maintained its status quo around the world, the original 25mm standard has declined in popularity in Japan. Hence, I'll try to attend this meeting to keep up to date with the developments.

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katoftw

25mm spacing would be the alternate these days worldwide.  Please keep us updated with the Tokyo group.

Edited by katoftw

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railsquid

I have no idea about the politics of module spacing, but this largest T-Trak layout in the world sounds interesting.

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railsquid

Presumably it would have to beat this:

 

Edited by railsquid
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cteno4

25mm spacing would be the alternate these days worldwide. Please keep us updated with the Tokyo group.

From the outset the ttrak standard was 25mm and 33 was a later alternate, thus the naming convention. Has nothing to do with the number of modules around the world. Convention is maintained as changing it will just make a mess.

 

Latest fad with ttrak now in the us at conventions is to be the longest possible. Presentation is a farrrr second to total track length. Really against what ttrak was developed for to be small but detailed presentations. For a number of years there was the green plank periods with many modules just painted green to be finished later but in there for track... Few years back the idea was floated to do a few layouts a the national convention and theme them so that there would be some different things to remeber instead of a monster, but it was shouted down as BIGGEST was what most all wanted. I do exhibit design and it's a perennial problem with large things as they tend to overwhelm the visitor easily and make it hard for them to come away with many detailed memories. Larger layouts get into a lot more issues with space, setup, power, etc, doing a few smaller ones can help a lot. If one has an issue the others are going!

 

Jeff

Edited by cteno4
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kvp

I think the space requirements of ttrak is still less than for example what fremo has. The infrastructure is also different as tables are needed but you don't have to bring your own long module legs. It's still more modeller friendly and since you have ballasted tracks with joiners between the modules it's easier to get it right. So it's actually easier to make large layouts that would just simply work. So you can build more tracks faster.

 

Still, i would love to see more real operations and more operation friendly modules, especially realistic junctions.

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katoftw

No thanks Jeff for the lecture.  I'm quite well versed in the different standards across globe for T-Trak.  And everyone should use what standards they are happy with.  I didn't say what I did to upset the older T-Trak users, nor attempt to start a T-Trak political sh!tfight.  I just made an observation on the evolution of T-Trak as a whole across the globe in the past 5 years.

 

Toni - Please keep me posted about you groups doings and going ons.  I don't care what standard they use, I will enjoy it. 

Edited by katoftw

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Kabutoni

I was told that ten years back, when the popularity of T-Trak was at is peak, the layouts would also get huge here. The level of detail however still maintained, as most participants would bring their modules on the train, allowing only a certain size to be carried along before becoming a nuisance.

 

The introduction of the alternate spacing in Japan is probably to revive the popularity of T-Trak. I'll keep a close eye on the meetings and development of the Japanese approach to the international interpretation of T-Trak. I hope they will take into account that maybe foreign modules also might want to join at some point, so the new standards won't take too many liberties. Also, keeping it as a DC operated system is a must IMHO not to scare off newcomers.

 

Also, for realistic operations and such, don't go for T-Trak. It was never intended for these kind of purposes. It's all about being able to put your module in a Yu-pack box and bring it on your lap on the train to a meeting.

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kvp

The new standard seem to be the Kato suggested radiuses and spacing for home layouts (R282/R315 - 33 mm). This means most N scale japanese trains should be able to run on them. It's like you slice out a piece of your tatami layout and bring it to a meeting.

 

Realistic operations are possible as long as you keep everything standard. 4 modules are enough for the average 6-7 car trains that you get in bookcases, so you could make stations. Turnout modules (like a double crossover) could turn a normal double track through station into a terminus. Or just serve as some decoration if you run on two loops. It's possible to add isolators between modules so by adding feeders to every station, you could add one controller to each direction at each station and pass trains between stations. (either by isolating half way or at the enterance/exit of each station) The possibilities are almost endless... (actually the HJMTC t-trak layout tries to get a mix of prototypical looking operations and running trains for fun)

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Kabutoni

Isolating sections and adding automated train operations with an ATC system is already in use for a long time. As I've explained in other threads before, T-Trak is about connecting modules, meeting other makers and chat. Running trains on them is more a leisurely side effect, next to the social interaction.

 

If you want to suggest these operational ideas, please do so in the Facebook group, or attend the meeting the 29th at the Kato Hobby Centre in Shinjuku. It'd probably be appreciated if you could attend these meetings/discussions regularly if you have input to offer.

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cteno4

Yeah from the pictures I've seen of some of the layouts they were large and highly detailed! Folks did some very sophisticated junctions and track work. Also saw some really wonderful larger scratch built city buildings.

 

Like Toni said it was designed to carry a couple of modules in your lap to a big or small meeting and play some trams and small trains. Internationally it sort of morphed into ntrak light and folks bringing dozens of modules.

 

Jeff

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cteno4

Actually east Penn train club was using an atc system fro trollies that was adapted from a unit made for Japanese streetcar ttrak block control.

 

Jeff

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kvp

I didn't mean ATC as fully automated control, but a way to manually control the trains without sensors or automation, just a few analog controllers at each station. For suggesting ideas, i'm not on facebook and can't go to Japan atm, but IST is and plans to go. I just described the possibilities in the hope that someone who is geographically near, reads this forum and could attend the next meeting could maybe forward it.

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Kabutoni

I think the best way to promote new ideas is not to look for an ambassador to lobby elsewhere, but to apply it locally and report on your progress on the internet. With that, you'll reach a bigger public and can win hearts easier. As for me, I initially just want to attend the meetings and show my face. I have no suggestions/agenda, other than keeping it internationally compatible, which is IIRC in line with the organisation.

 

The simple and straightforward setup of a T-Trak module allows for endless possibilities in the general setup of a layout. Basically, you can apply different operational approaches for different meetings with the same modules. For now, the focus is on the base measurements and electronic connections of the modules.

 

P.s. the event on the 29th is now also published on the official website from Kato: http://www.katomodels.com/hobbycenter/blog/tokyo/000548.php

Edited by Toni Babelony
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westfalen

The simple and straightforward setup of a T-Trak module allows for endless possibilities in the general setup of a layout.

The Ipswich Model Railway Club has been doing T-TRAK for about seven years now and I don't think we've set up a layout the same at a show twice, we can fill up any size or shape space show organisers give us.  We find it a lot more versatile and easier to transport and set up than the N-TRAK modules that we previously used for 30 years.

 

We don't always set up a round and round loop of modules, we have operated point to point on occasion with a yard at each end and single track modules (they go by several names depending on which group you belong to) let us have a branch line or sometimes a single track section in the main layout to keep operators on their toes.

 

There is a lot more to T-TRAK than a little square box with a couple of tracks across the front.

 

The Olympic Games were giving me a reason to stay away from Japan in 2020 but I might have to rethink now.

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Kabutoni

A little update: I've been approached to possibly give a little talk on the 29th with my opinion on the developing matters. This came totally unexpected, but I think some proactive thinking in the Facebook group led to this... I'll probably just keep it to the minimum/maximum depths of the modules and keeping it as internationally compatible as possible. If something else comes up, I'll also include it in my talk, but that's probably not where my focus will be. The operational part is not of concern in the basic setup of the standards, so I'll try to ignore that for a later stage.

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railsquid

Oooh, Sunday... I will see if I can come along, can't promise though.

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cteno4

Sweating toni? No worries you will do great!

 

Jeff

Edited by cteno4
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railsquid

Oooh, Sunday... I will see if I can come along, can't promise though.

 

Negotiations successfully concluded, barring another unexpected bout of projectile vomiting I'll be there :D

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Kabutoni

We'll be expecting you.

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Martijn Meerts

No pressure whatsoever ;)

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Kabutoni

Yes, Mr. Kato (the boss and inheritor of the company) is involved personally as well, so that makes it really exciting to participate in this project. Luckily I do have some assistance in cleaning up my short speech a bit, so that helps in my confidence xD

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