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Recommend a short (3-5 car) passenger train?


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I am looking for a new passenger train to sit on a siding that will be freed up at some point in the future when I move my industrial freight train onto a new layout. 


Here’s what I’m looking for:

— length overall must be less than 770mm. In practice this means five coaches at most. The locomotive won’t have to fit into that space. 

— detailed, high quality model. Money isn’t a limitation for the right item. 

— preferably something luxurious, prestigious or unique 

— ideally something that might be seen in Niigata or Fukushima prefectures, but that is not essential.  

— pre-installed lighting would be nice. DCC compatibility isn’t important. 


So, all suggestions are welcome!

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4 hours ago, VJM said:


The E655? It’s a thought. Thanks for the suggestion 

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Have you considered something like the Kyoto Tango's KTR8000?


It certainly is a very unique looking train, and the Tomix built model is of good quality.

It consist of a 2+2 or 2 car formation (which I guess fits in the requirements).

Edited by KiHa 283
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The KTR8000 is confusing. Hobby Search has three models, a deep metallic blue 2-car set (“Tango No Umi”), a bicolor teal/white 2-car, and an unpowered version of the latter. 


I suspect you were were thinking of the teal/white version, but I am more tempted by the deep blue. 



As for the royal coaches... I’m sure they are very fine, but I don’t think I like the brown paint. 




Thank you for the suggestions!

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Kato's 10-1463 HB-E300 `Resort Shirakami` would be a possibility.

The tooling is recent and very detailed. This is also the most elaborate paint scheme of the HB-E300s released so far.

AmiAmi has them in stock.

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Another distinct possibility would be "Train Suite Shiki-shima". It is expensive but seems to be an attempt by Tomix to raise their game, quality-wise. And it includes lights.


Edited by Sheffie
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If you are okay with not running the full 10 car formation, then then the Tomix Shiki shima basic set is a great option.

I've watched tons of videos about it: just an amazing model in terms of interior detail, paint quality, and low-speed operating characteristics.

It was clear that Tomix benchmarked Kato's version and surpassed it in every area besides DCC compatibility.

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I could not quite fit two three-car trains onto that siding (and I don't really like the orange colour scheme).

But the Series 201 Shikisai colour scheme does look interesting.

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If you want something with gusto, I would recommend going for any JR East joyfull train. There is quite a large selection available. Kato has been producing the most recent, HB-E300 based consists, but Micro Ace has the largest and most varied selection. Some of the older sets are quite interesting, like the NoDoKa or the Sylpheed. They will be releasing some of the KiHa 48 resorts in September.



Alternatively, you could also get one of JR East inspection train, the E491 or E193.


These would all be very unique.

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For the Fukushima area, I would recommend the Fruitea Train, or the 719 series Akabe colour both of which are unique and their liveries are pretty nice, with the Fruitea bearing some 'luxury' 


The HB-E300 series trains are pretty nice too, and i agree with 1954G of which the Buna formation is by far the most unique with its 'tree painting'. They are also very detailed and can look pretty luxury with the warm lights installed, although they run in the Akita region 


The Resort Minori is another unique and luxury candidate... It runs near to Fukushima (Miyagi exactly) and has very stunning directional lights... 


Many resort trains from Kyushu are also about 3 to 4 cars long, like the usual suspects Ibusuki no Tamatebako, Isaburo-shinpei, Hayato-no-kaze etc... 


I would recommend getting a carpet train like disturbman mentioned... They are truly unique with their elongated front ~ 






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I can't remember the name. But Kato did a lovely 4 seasons train. With every car wrapped in a different season.

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4 hours ago, Drunkenclam said:

I can't remember the name. But Kato did a lovely 4 seasons train. With every car wrapped in a different season.

Yes, nah00 linked that 

Series 201 Sikisai Style (4-Car Set)

(officially Roundhouse, but obviously a Kato box)


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Alright, this isn't over. I might yet get others on this list, but for now the winner is clear.

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Yes, the Series 200 Shikisai four car set could be a goody, very colourful, Autumn, Winter, Spring, Summer..

My set wasn't in a Roundhouse box.

There was also a recent colourful Nishi Nippon four car set that could be worth chasing up. 

Tomytec had a two car Fuji Express Rly  5000 series, very colourful, emblazoned with Thos. the Tank Engine characters.

Not a pass car set, but how about a snowplough train, there is a three vehicle one, central DH loco, plough at each end.








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Some more suggestions.

"Yufuin No Mori' an attractive set, now three cars (I think).

Kato do an eight car Hankyu 8300 series in two seperate sets, four car motorised and four car un-motorised, in that great maroon livery..

Cat. No.10-050, not sure whether this is the motor or non motor set.Other Cat. No., probably 10-051.

If you just want something to sit in the siding, get the un-motorised set, cheaper.

Another Kato set, again two boxes. M and un-M, Kinki Nippon (Kintetsu), series 10100 'Vista Car',  two three car units, end cars single deckers, centre car double decker, all in the attractive Kintetsu orange and blue livery.

Cat. Nos., 10-591 and 592, not sure which is which.





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It is difficult to convey how nice this model is, without being a professional photographer. 53F6104B-8543-4459-8516-99C8A63DBBD1.thumb.jpeg.3323315cfef7272ef075b5dbeb9bc94b.jpeg

Two forward facing LEDs create a bright headlight effect and there’s a very detailed driver’s seat area. 



Rooftop modeling is finer than anything else I’ve seen. 



Turning the lights out helps the camera to pick up on the qualities of the surfaces. 



Here’s the interior of the lounge car. There’s a piano somewhere in there. 



The end cars are officially observation cars, with armchairs and couches. 6834A389-1CC0-4DE7-8FA4-96E2C78D0847.thumb.jpeg.84dfe944d6beeeefdcf4340d994b1688.jpeg

For some reason, a nice pair of tail lights makes me very happy. 


The good news, as you’d hope from all the hype, is how nicely it runs. Here’s a sample.


Now. There IS a downside to this model (apart from the price, which you don’t need me to tell you about). 

The engine is a little grumbly, compared to others I own. It is perfectly smooth even at super-slow speeds, but it’s louder than I would have liked. 

And the connections between cars are a huge pain. They’re essentially the same diamond/pyramid shape you’re familiar with from many close couplers, but they are not particularly close. Instead, they’re mounted on long arms that pivot all the way back where the bogeys are mounted. They carry power between the cars from the powered unit (officially car 3, but the second car in this set), so the task of connecting them is a little more complex. And they are difficult to line up, even with a lighted magnifying glass. It took several attempts for each one, and I had to redo two, even though it looked good, after the rear coach got left behind at the crossover and the dining car also drifted off. 


One final note. One of my controllers seems to be putting out the wrong sort of electricity. The coach lighting is very flickery on the inner loop, powered by the 22-012 Standard S controller. Meanwhile there’s no trace of flickering when on the outer loop, which uses the 22-018 Standard SX controller. 


Edited by Sheffie
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Have you swapped the controllers to make sure it’s not just the tighter curves and such on the inner loop. But it has the Tomix powered couplers so that should stop a lot of flicker. But swapping the controller will tell you if it’s the power sources.


it is a purty train!



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42 minutes ago, cteno4 said:

Have you swapped the controllers


Yes, that's a good point.

With the S controller, the lights flicker whether the train is stationary or running slowly or quickly.

With the SX controller, the lights are steady even when the train isn't moving.


So I wonder whether the S controller doesn't put out enough current, or is using PWM or something else to limit the power delivery. Or maybe it's just a bad, weak, supply. It's the one that came with my original vintage Banetsu Monogatari starter pack, which is about a decade old.

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Hmm must be the controller. The old Kato controllers are uber simple 3 pin voltage regulator that is controlled by the throttle pot. I think the only other bit is a bridge rectifier to make dc out of the input ac. So no pwm. 



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