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Sanriku Floor Layout


katem

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Hi there!

I'd like to commemorate getting new trains for my Iwate EMU train collection by building them a new layout 🚉 I've got a much larger space for a layout on the floor in the bedroom. Hooray 🎉 I'm calling it Sanriku Floor Layout as half of my collection are 36-700 trains, but the actual layout does not aim to resemble any real location.

 

First thing to do is of course a plan. I'm currently not gonna be able to order some new stuff until January so everything should be done using current tracks and equipment. Here's the first layout I was quite satisfied with as it fulfils everything I want to have - a larger station with platforms and a little yard at the top, a small station / junction at the bottom, a fake reversing loop that leads into the yard and as few spare track pieces remaining as possible. Actually, there is no remaining piece of track here 🙂 There's a nice place in the centre to sit in and the layout is at least partially covered by these IKEA Kallax bookcases on the left. Only one to three-car trains consisting of diesel cars are going to be run on the layout, nothing long.

Track Plan v1

 

But sometimes the first idea is not the stuff that's gonna be build and my case is not different. When I was doing some measurements with the printed plan, my partner came in and told me that the railway must go through one of the Kallax cubes as some sort of tunnel. I had to go back to AnyRail and come up with something else. The main station is still the same, but the rest is different. The small station is now just long enough to fit platforms and the fake reversing loop is much shorter, but the new S-curve there is kinda beautiful and I can sit inside it to be close to the main station. And of course the most important is the track through the bookshelf 🚇 The small station is now at the bottom of the layout not covered by bookshelves so I'll need to be careful there.

Track Plan v2

 

This is the corner I'm gonna turn into a temporary floor layout in its initial state. There is some heavy-duty carpet laid and it is definitely not good for little trains, I've run them on the carpet for some time and they catch fibres from it pretty easily. This warrants some better solution, but as this flat is not our own, options are limited.

Corner photo

 

I'll describe my next steps in a future post - next I need to clean all the track pieces and turnouts... 🧽 And that's not the fun for most of us. See you next time!

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What to do with a carpet that causes problems but can't be torn out? Cover it 👍 I've got a cheap, but resilient large-format vinyl stickers with a wood imitation that are used to cover old furniture etc. It turned out great, the corner is now washable and carpet threads can't get into tracks. A real wood might have been better, but try to get a cheap custom-sized board during lockdown... Cables are going to be visible on that pattern a lot, but I don't mind, it's just a temporary layout for two months maximum.

1584000381_DSC_2789(1).thumb.JPG.d35ebf6f023ce640eee6c60cf3becaac.JPG → 2089042605_DSC_2790(1).thumb.jpg.5bfd265afc91984988f9f7977d482870.jpg → DSC_2794.thumb.jpg.8aec6ff7b3c10e56408c1ad22ffe8092.jpg

 

It turned out great and I'm really happy with it. When I do some photos under certain lightning after the layout is done, you wouldn't realise it's not a real wood. It follows the carpet texture, it's visible that it's not perfectly smooth on the photo below, but I don't mind that.

 

All tracks have been degreased and are ready to be laid down. I'm waiting for the last shipment that should arrive today and then the fun of building can begin 💜

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You will be impressed how much hair and dust you won‘t see on carpet suddenly appears on wooden floor. I‘ve been running my stuff on the floor for a few weeks now and I could basically vacuum 3 times a day to get rid of hairs and stuff.

Because of that I‘ve decided to get some cheap wood and table legs to get all the stuff off the floor.

 

Nice track design tho, looking forward to seeing it in the flesh 🙂

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 Yeah, seems I'm going through a path someone else already walked 🙂 Thanks for your insight. A little bird told me that during Christmas I'll get a Tomix cleaning car so that hopefully should help with dust.

 

Today, new trains arrived, but my focus was not on tracks. Instead, I was working on a prototype of station turnout board. I run out of turnout switch boxes and also had problems remembering which one is for which turnout so a different solution was needed. I tried the famous Ray Stilwell's circuit and during testing it worked pretty great, changing the turnout direction is gentle, yet accurate.

DSC_2805.thumb.JPG.d1c46997207e8c21caf4356e01c26f88.JPG

 

That result definitely asked for a prototype turnout board. The main station has seven turnouts so everything got duplicated seven times. As a non-soldered prototype, it was quite intricate to wire everything correctly.

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And fast forward to the final state. An old Carcassonne box got a second life as a station turnout board. Even though it's just a quick prototype that will be transferred to an integrated circuit sometimes in the future, it turned out great. It's connected to the TCS port of my N-DU101-CL controller - I'm really not going to use that port for anything else 🙂 In the near future I plan to add two more switches that will control the power going to the right half of yard tracks. I'm looking forward to connecting it to the actual station 💜

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Edited by katem
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Track building time 💜 Tracks and cables are in their places now and the first test run was successful. Next thing on my schedule is to clean up all the mess that I created...

DSC_2810.thumb.jpg.33c8796fc1c2ad6d6809ddbeab630cab.jpg → DSC_2811.thumb.jpg.0567f6dabfa94873def086fa2ce658d0.jpg → DSC_2812.thumb.jpg.261f40f71e079ba2a0c1c19ce52cb57b.jpg

 

Fun fact: turned out I accidentally added one more C280-15 into track plan that I don't have. Fortunately There was a section of C280-15 + S140-RE + C280-15 so I swapped it for two extra C541-15 which is just 5 mm shorter so there were no problems. Then I used the extra S140-RE to move the left inner loop even more to the left.

 

KiHa 110s have a little problems in curves < 280 mm (there are few pieces in the part around rightmost turnout of small station) but connecting them with WC on the same side mostly fixed it. 36-700 runs perfectly 👍

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Few more photos from test run today. One more little platform is on the way → the middle platform will be as long as the running track. I'll finally process all stickers and fences and advertisements that came with all platforms as they are currently in the form they came in. These are gonna be the last change short-term. I'll enjoy all the trains in my collection on the layout, hopefully with less collisions than today 🙂 Not sure what to do with all the cables everywhere, that's probably something I'm not gonna solve until I switch to a some kind of desk layout... When I have some time, I'll try to convert the station controller into a proper circuit, making it smaller. Also the large platform is connected directly to controlled output of the controller so it lights up in one direction only. By the way, why does the little buffer rail have a diode bridge and the large station does not? It could have run on CL without problems. If I understand the manual correctly, it's supposed to be connected on its own controller, isn't it?

 

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Edited by katem
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6 hours ago, katem said:

Few more photos from test run today. One more little platform is on the way → the middle platform will be as long as the running track. I'll finally process all stickers and fences and advertisements that came with all platforms as they are currently in the form they came in. These are gonna be the last change short-term. I'll enjoy all the trains in my collection on the layout, hopefully with less collisions than today 🙂 Not sure what to do with all the cables everywhere, that's probably something I'm not gonna solve until I switch to a some kind of desk layout... When I have some time, I'll try to convert the station controller into a proper circuit, making it smaller. Also the large platform is connected directly to controlled output of the controller so it lights up in one direction only. By the way, why does the little buffer rail have a diode bridge and the large station does not? It could have run on CL without problems. If I understand the manual correctly, it's supposed to be connected on its own controller, isn't it?

 

1923400133_DSC_2815(1).thumb.jpg.c970909b5a1b780e2110685b12c0d3d0.jpg517867393_DSC_2816(1).thumb.jpg.c35c2be2eccabdfff4c51ddb2c549fcb.jpg1372247800_DSC_2817(1).thumb.jpg.23006b0207468c9b42f101dd3f3a8b97.jpg1841179442_DSC_2818(1).thumb.jpg.85ba7de9ac32f13313809536a4a0b7b8.jpg

 

I am not sure I fully understand your wiring. If you are talking about the station lights, I would think they should be connected to the TCS (constant 12V DC) output of the DU101-CL Power Unit, not to the reversible controlled (train) output.

 

Rich K.

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@brill27mcb, that's actually a good idea to connect it to a different output, thanks 👍 Now I have it connected according to manual, i.e. to the white power connector. I can't see any other info in the manual. Is there something I missed with my poor, translator-backed Japanese?

 

DSC_2819.thumb.jpg.5e3ab1574e1a62de87c7bcd38229dfe8.jpg

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The "DC Feeder" output is the variable, polarity-changeable power to feed the track and run the train, and the connector is white.

 

The TCS output is the other socket. It delivers a fixed 12V DC with a constant polarity for accessories, lighting, and so on. It has a black socket which accepts a black connector. (It is the same power that is supplied out of the side of the power unit to power the point controllers.)

 

I am not familiar with your station. Does it have only lights, and did it come originally with a black plug? It looks like you have added extensions to the wiring. You need to keep the black and white cables separated, and do not force plugs into the wrong sockets. The different plugs and sockets are physically shaped to try to prevent connecting them wrongly to each other.

 

From the photos, I can not follow your wire cables to try to figure out the problem.

 

Rich K.

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I know that, don't worry 🙂 The system is really simple to understand. I have Tomix 4285 Side Platform With Lightning without any modifications. It already came with white plugs and these are also in the manual. White plugs are fine if it would use CL feature. My only confusion is why it has white plugs but does not have a diode rectifier like Tomix 1427 Buffer Rail With LED does, it would solve the problem of it being lit only when the controller is set to one particular direction.

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No news these days, just running trains 🙂 I still did not have any time to clean trains, but I'm at least running with the newest cars. My partner bought some Christmas presents on AmiAmi so I added a Tomix mini platform to it (mentioned above) but the package is still not here, the first time DHL failed me.. It is now stuck in Cincinnati since the 10th even though all other packages from eshops in Japan never left Eastern Hemisphere when travelling to me 😞 

 

To show you something different this time, here's a stop-motion video I created on my previous layout. Trigger warning - train × car crash. link

Edited by katem
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Got some stuff as a Christmas present which sparked a new plan as well. The old plan had some issues that came up during operation. Fake reversing loop was hard to use and crossing track sometimes led to crashes when two trains were running in the same time. The new plan should be simpler, both to build and to operate. Curves with radius less than 280 mm should not be used, as Kato KiHa 110s were derailing on them sometimes - they are not suitable for mini curves, as discussed earlier. I should get some C317-15 curves instead to create 15° double track curves 🙂

 

First present was Tomix 91036 Rail Depot Set. It's a great set with a lot of pieces to use. I felt in love with it when it was first announced and it did not disappoint me. Feel free to ask any question about it 🙂

 

DSC_2949.thumb.jpg.b955ea2e26f9f99e9f22abead9ea0b75.jpg DSC_2948.thumb.jpg.67980678e587038c5e03bc8025fe7c28.jpg

 

Another present was Tomix 6426 Cleaning Car - my newest approach to tackle dust and dirt. I did not use it yet except some testing on spare tracks. As my fleet consists of DMUs only, I added a knuckler-to-rapido adaptor to one of my 36-700s. The cleaning car is so heavy one car did not move it at all. It ran fine with two motor 36-700 cars coupled together, however the rapido coupler was totally unreliable, getting uncoupled on its own very often. I'm now thinking about converting couplers of the cleaning car to use knuckle couplers as well (using either 0374 or 0391 couplers), but I'm little afraid that it would not sustain the the force of heavy cleaning car. Do you have some experience with that? Or should I look for some freight locomotive to use with the cleaning car instead?

 

I also got over 30 N-scaled people from Faller. There are some musicians, a lot of travellers, few sitting people and some mechanicians. I'd like to use them to liven up the depot and all platforms I have, after reconstruction is done. Not sure how I'm going to attach them, temporarily only if possible, but I'm pretty sure there's some remarkable thread about it somewhere in this forum 🙂 

 

New, simplified plan is below. It already includes few more buildings (one more side platform and overhead station building) that are on the way. Large visible oval around the assigned space, once again through Kallax bookshelf, and a hidden loop with tunnel-like entrance. Might be called fake double track. The little station on the right is just to use the buildings I have, I might move it to somewhere else later.

 

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Right now I'm thinking about getting some plywood and creating a little module, to try some modeling techniques. But everything is closed so I need to wait. Until then, I'm going to move some parts of the layout onto cork plates, in which I'd like to create gutters to put cables into.

Edited by katem
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MeTheSwede
On 12/31/2020 at 12:39 AM, katem said:

I also got over 30 N-scaled people from Faller. There are some musicians, a lot of travellers, few sitting people and some mechanicians. I'd like to use them to liven up the depot and all platforms I have, after reconstruction is done. Not sure how I'm going to attach them, temporarily only if possible, but I'm pretty sure there's some remarkable thread about it somewhere in this forum 🙂

 

I'm using ordinary blu tack for this. Use a smal enough amount and it's not visible.

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On 1/3/2021 at 9:35 AM, MeTheSwede said:

 

I'm using ordinary blu tack for this. Use a smal enough amount and it's not visible.

 

Thanks a lot, didn't know this exists, definitely will try it 👍 Wouldn't it be visible even with as small piece of tack as possible though?

 

---

 

Recently I moved the depot onto thin cork plate. Great for hiding cables, but it turned out I'm not able to cut at a right angle correctly 😄 Wanted to continue with the little station next to it but I've simultaneously run out of both types of double-sided tape and because of lockdown in my country it's forbidden to sell it in brick-and-mortar shops 🤷‍♀️

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Today I did first tests of the planned platform. Two 36-700 cars do fit on the middle track, but I'm afraid longer trains like KiHa 111-112 would obstruct the cross turnout. Back to the design board to fit a little longer rail 🙂 Also, after seeing it in real for the first time, I'm not sure whether I want to keep the shorter top platform. Seems it would look better without it, but then there would be just one long platform in the whole station...

DSC_3011.thumb.jpg.80bc23ddc29f39486a6a0185ae55596d.jpg

 

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MeTheSwede
1 hour ago, katem said:

 

Thanks a lot, didn't know this exists, definitely will try it 👍 Wouldn't it be visible even with as small piece of tack as possible though?

 

All the people and the dog (and some other stuff) in this photo are attached with blu tack.

 

TEcHiAo7.jpg large.jpeg

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Sometimes circumstances change so fast... This week I lost a part of my dedicated space which is now used for my partner's project, unrelated to trains. The left side of my station now does not fit so I had to make the left station throat more curvy, using NPR280-30 turnout. The yard on that side is also much smaller, but it's going to host just few KiHa 110 cars, each track will house two cars without problems. Because the space is now tighter, it's not possible to run through an Kallax bookshelf, all tracks will be on the ground. The new track plan is goin to be a little more interesting, incorporating diagonal track along bookshelf (with option to run through wheel cleaner) and interesting track squeeze in the top right corner. The smaller station will get an overpass and will be located cca in the middle of the line, not near the main station as before. The new track plan is here:

1664965198_20-1v1.thumb.jpg.cc492773554780ebac3f1ae6726421ae.jpg

 

As I still can't continue in layout building, I'm fiddling with signals instead, thinking about clever ways to use them. I'd like to be able to incorporate working departure signals into the large station, but as the space is kinda tight, it's not possible to use the original S70 track piece the signal comes with - either because the signal needs to be placed next to curved track, or because it needs to be installed at the end of a platform. I've ordered some sensors to try if it is feasible to replace the built-in signal sensor with them - if yes, there would be no obstacle for my idea of a signal attached to an end of a platform.

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disturbman
On 12/31/2020 at 12:39 AM, katem said:

Another present was Tomix 6426 Cleaning Car - my newest approach to tackle dust and dirt. I did not use it yet except some testing on spare tracks. As my fleet consists of DMUs only, I added a knuckler-to-rapido adaptor to one of my 36-700s. The cleaning car is so heavy one car did not move it at all. It ran fine with two motor 36-700 cars coupled together, however the rapido coupler was totally unreliable, getting uncoupled on its own very often. I'm now thinking about converting couplers of the cleaning car to use knuckle couplers as well (using either 0374 or 0391 couplers), but I'm little afraid that it would not sustain the the force of heavy cleaning car. Do you have some experience with that? Or should I look for some freight locomotive to use with the cleaning car instead?


Wanted to answer this for a while. TN couplers are very sturdy in my experience. I had a few issues with them popping open, but that was in the before time, before the new item numbers. I don't think you would have any issue with them. They should withstand the force of the cleaning car. You can always try to push the cleaning car instead of pulling.

In any case, it's good to have a reason to add one or two DE10 to a layout.

Edited by disturbman
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Thanks for info 👍 Some couplers are already on the way, in the end I chose a pack of 0374 (and a single piece of 0336 so KiHas can use it as well).

 

The manual specifies that wet cleaning should be done in pull mode only, that's why I was concerned about it.

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disturbman

0336? To connect to your Kato KiHa 110? It would't work, Kato and Tomix shibata couplers are not compatible afaik. But the 0374 will be compatible with your Tomix KiHas and your potential Tomix locomotives.

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roadstar_na6
20 minutes ago, disturbman said:

It would't work, Kato and Tomix shibata couplers are not compatible afaik.

You are wrong 😉

Edited by roadstar_na6
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55 minutes ago, disturbman said:

0336? To connect to your Kato KiHa 110? It would't work, Kato and Tomix shibata couplers are not compatible afaik. But the 0374 will be compatible with your Tomix KiHas and your potential Tomix locomotives.

 

That's actually a topic I wanted to ask - whether it is possible to convert Kato shibatas into Tomix ones, but that's for another time. The 0336 is for connecting to Tomix KiHa 100 cars 🙂 

 

35 minutes ago, roadstar_na6 said:

You are wrong 😉

 

Thanks a lot, looks much harder than I thought though.. If only the couplers could be just drop-in replacements..

Edited by katem
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disturbman

@roadstar_na6Interesting. But he had to drill a hole in a specific Kato coupler (the double-headed coupler) to allow coupling. Can't call that compatible. Would have to see if you can do the same with an out of the box Kato shibata coupler.

 

@katem You probably can, if you follow the method given in roadstar's links. Otherwise, I think you can switch the rapidos on a Tomix set to Kato bogie mounted shibatas. Not sure you can do the same with a Kato set and Tomix couplers.

Edited by disturbman
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1 hour ago, disturbman said:

@katem You probably can, if you follow the method given in roadstar's links. Otherwise, I think you can switch the rapidos on a Tomix set to Kato bogie mounted shibatas. Not sure you can do the same with a Kato set and Tomix couplers.

 

None of my cars have bogie-mounted couplers so this wouldn't help. The cleaning car does have them but I'll need to cut them off to mount 0374 or 0336 couplers.

 

I'll add some Kato 28-250-1 into my next order to play with. The original couplers Kato 6045C3 are kinda fake, it's the electrical connector beneath the shibata that does the physical coupling, not the shibata itself.

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