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What's a good Tomix track set for experimenting with layouts?


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Hey all,

I have plans for making some small modules that I want to link together. My main issue is that, since I just started, I really don't have a lot of variety of track pieces. At the moment, I only have some compact curve rails and switches that were meant for me to be able to fit a small layout on my desk. I have looked at some of the Tomix FineTrack sets which seem to be a good way to get a bunch of track all at once. But I'm not quite sure which ones would offer the most variety and bang for the buck. 

I realize I could get some track planning software and go from there, but I would really just like to get my hands on some track and see what feels best since I'm not sure yet of the exact dimensions for the modules I want to do. Not to mention, it would be nice to physically see how these things look since I have none of it in hand for reference. 

I am mainly looking for maybe a couple of different radius curves - the wider the better, to accommodate more trains (potentially Shinkansens even would be nice) - but also some stuff like crossovers to try out. Of course, straights are nice, but I suspect I won't have an issue figuring out what straights would go well with my modules. So different curve radiuses to fit different trains (and see what would work best with my module ideas) as well as some different types of track features to give some variety other than a straight-up oval.


An example that I feel seems pretty good for my purposes is the "Sidetrack" set (Tomix 92015 seen here: https://www.1999.co.jp/eng/10461317). It has some points and a curve radius that looks like it should support most trains, unless I'm mistaken. The only thing about this is that there's only one curve radius and I'm unsure about what's specifically different with the points in this set other than their color. Another one that I am currently looking at is the Double Track Rail set (Tomix 91028 seen here: https://www.1999.co.jp/eng/10260862). It has a couple of different curves and some straights. Mainly, though, it is very cheap! Of course, I'm all for doing a one and done purchase so that I don't have to keep buying more and more sets or specific tracks to try out. 

Any recommendations would be much appreciated!

Thank you in advance!

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If there were more type of sets available on HS, I have would recommended to buy a few basic sets and then buy specific turnouts and track pieces. But seeing what is on offer, I would just follow kato's suggestion.

I built my own track collection by buying three layout B sets, one layout Y (I love those wye turnouts), one set of canted tracks and a few boxes of specific straight tracks. Having various length of straight tracks at hand is always a good idea when improvising layouts, as you always end up needing a couple of these small straights.

Edited by disturbman
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That's fair, guys. I also want to build up a track collection and I was planning on looking at some places other than just HobbySearch. But, I think it makes sense, at least in terms of experimenting, just to buy specific track pieces. 

I'll take a look around a bit more to try to decide what I want exactly. I might end up just doing a bit of both and going with one of the sets just to at least have a decent amount of basic track pieces in hand and then go grab some individual pieces I think I might want to try out.

Also great tip on having a bunch of differently-sized straights. There's definitely some scenarios where I was thinking I might just have to cut the track down myself but I would much rather just have something that fits whatever module/layout size I want to do. 

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For straights there are S18.5, S33, S70, S72.5, S99, S140, S158.5, S280.  S18.5 and S 158.5 are key as they change the track center to allow for a platform between the tracks. S72.5 is used when curving into the outside of an island platform. There is also a variable S70-90 straight that fills odd gaps in custom track plans.




Hobby Search has a section for Tomix Track Sets:  https://www.1999.co.jp/eng/list/606/0/1


There are Tomix track books (in Japanese ) with numerous track configurations and track plans, but these all show out of stock on HS.




I find the best ones are Tomix System Guide books. Maybe you can find these on Amazon JP or Yahoo JP.








The best book is #7315   TOMIX Model Train System Guide (Application Edition) which has diagrams for specific track pieces.  


Layout Support Guides are about building modules including scenery, but the Japanese text limits there value for us.



Edited by bill937ca
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As someone who started with Tomix track less than a year ago and built a rather complex layout, here are some things I've learned, whatever it migth be worth.




I found this pdf very useful for understanding what pieces exists:


This webpage is a very good resource for understanding track geometry:



Once you know what's out there, you obviously need to make a decision (if you haven't already) of what style of track you're going to buy; wooden sleepers, concrete sleepers (PC), wide track, or a combination thereof (possibly also including something else). Wooden sleepers track have the most odd lenght pieces available for producing complex track geometry. Wide track on the other hand is very limited geometrically.


Track set B which you linked is probably the most useful track set for most people, as it provides one left point, one right point, a bunch of straights and 541mm radius curves to get back to straight. These tend to go out of stock every now and then however. Note that it exists with both manual points and motorised points (as well as for different track styles). I once almost made an error and bought the wrong type.


Track set A (oval with 280mm radius curves and a train controler) is also a part of various starter sets. If there is a train you like in a starter set, a train set + track oval + controler, is good value for your money. 280mm is the smallest track radius for Shinkansens. 245mm will be enough for pretty much everything else.


When I did look at the A, B, C, D track sets and the track plan instructions that are listed with them, I could't help but thinking that these are partly made for people with little creativity who wants to be told exactly how to put their track together... Most track pieces aren't available in track sets at all, but for those available in track sets, buying track sets are usually slightly cheaper than buying the individual track types, providing you have a use for all the track in the sets.

As you've already noted, an assorted amount of straights of different lenghts are useful to have. I think this is the track product I have bought the most copies of: https://www.1999.co.jp/eng/10037831

(18.5mm and 33mm straights)

But my layout is odd for a Japanese layout.


That particular product is out of stock right know and those things happen even with the basic straights, curves and points, but they're usually back in stock within a month or so.


A set with 4 curves of a given radius (180 degree in total) don't cost much, about 600-700 yen on Amazon Japan. You could just buy one of each and test them out. A budget option is to make track pieces of paper using a ruler and a pencil an try those first...




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Thank you @bill937ca and @MeTheSwede for the thorough rundowns! I just have to say, that variable straight rail seems particularly useful - I had no idea there would be such a thing. Not to mention the pack of different tiny straights feels like that would be exactly the kind of thing I'd need. Additionally, the PDF showing the different track pieces as well as the link to the page showing how the track system works together are very helpful. One of my issues definitely would be that I don't quite know what's all available or how they would be linked together properly on a layout. Honestly, just overall a lot to take in but extremely useful info.

I really appreciate all the suggestions and information. I definitely have a lot more things to think about and look into. I guess I will need to figure out the balance between whether I want to focus on getting specific rail types for my projects or focus on building up a track collection. There's a lot of particular rail types that aren't available in the sets as previously mentioned in the thread. But I still kind of want to go both ways so that I have a lot to play with but also so that I can be prepared for future projects. I wish they just had a set that was like a "rail sampler" or something, haha, that would make this a bit easier for me to figure out what I need exactly.

Anyway, I'll look into everything that you've all mentioned so far and try to go from there. 

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If you have a PC (not a Mac) you may want to try out Anyrail layout design software (https://www.anyrail.com/). It includes a Tomix Fine Track library. The trial version is free and lets you add up to 50 track pieces to a plan, so you could try out each module design separately and not incur costs at all. It's pretty easy to get going with it, especially for sectional track designs. The typical Tomix curve radius for most mainline railroad trains is 280 mm, the 280 mm straight pieces are generally used the most and provided most in track sets, and the 541-15 size points (541mm radius for 15 degrees of a circle) work well for Tomix's normal 33 mm spacing between parallel tracks.


Rich K.

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