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CaptOblivious

So you want to try Tomix FineTrack?

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Mudkip Orange

Bumping this thread just because 177140103 is one of the greatest youtube users of all time.

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Mudkip Orange

Oh wait, it was already stickied. D'oh!

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disturbman

I received last week some Cant tracks. Very nice, the super elevation is very smooth and nice. I love to see the train tilt on the curves. There is indeed no problem to connect different type of tracks and the difference of track bed doesn't bother me at all. I allmost don't see it. I need to add that you really need those curvy transition pieces. A normal curve is 45° and a transition is 22.5°. To make a full 180° curve you need two transition pieces and 3 normal curves. If you run Finetrack you need to buy those they really are great.

 

Now, I have to find what I need to elevate a part of my floor layout.

 

I also received to Y-turnouts. They are very awesome but maybe a bit tricky and instable. I got 1 derailment since I got them, 1 in 3 or 4 hour of use. that's not a lot but still, it could be a warning... and I still don't know what happened. Maybe it was just my train couplers. Maybe it was the turnouts... or a devilish plan they decided to put in action during a run...

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bill937ca

 

I also received to Y-turnouts. They are very awesome but maybe a bit tricky and instable. I got 1 derailment since I got them, 1 in 3 or 4 hour of use. that's not a lot but still, it could be a warning... and I still don't know what happened. Maybe it was just my train couplers. Maybe it was the turnouts... or a devilish plan they decided to put in action during a run...

 

 

 

I've used those for a couple of years and other than one train I've had very few problems. It's only a 15 degree curve. I love how the trains look as they go through the Y switch.

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disturbman

Nice to hear. I was still not abble to reproduce the crash. Which happened after like 15 continuous loops.

 

I love how the trains look as they go through the Y switch.

 

Me too. They look more than ever like a snake. I love to watch them go through. It brings each time a big smile on my face.

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David

I've got a question about Tomix points (switches). They all seem to have this odd oval piece with two black marks sticking off the switch - what is the function of this? Is it a manual throw switch or part of the electrical switch? Can it be removed? (honestly it looks ugly, I initially used Kato over US track because their switches hid the model specific mechanics).

post-219-13569923678058_thumb.jpg

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Martijn Meerts

That's a little detail for a manual throw lever. You can just remove it, since even if you want the little additional detail, you'll still need to take the bit off the turnout and put it back on slightly differently (see the pictures in the manual.)

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David

In course of investigating what I could do in the way of a small diorama layout I ordered some FineTrack, specifically this mini rail set (oval of R177 and R140), along with R103 curve and a power extension cable which I chopped up to create a Kato<->Tomix adapter cable.

 

http://www.1999.co.jp/eng/10045806

 

While everything I tested got through the R177, R140 caused partial or full derailment for everything but some Bachmann 0-6-0 locos. With R140 impassable it also made the R140 switches I'd need for a mini rail layout useless. Still it was a chance to see what FineTrack was in the flesh, and here are some of my personal thoughts:

 

The track connector is in two pieces (rail and ballast). The rail connector looks a bit more complex then the cheap scrap of metal you get with Atlas sectional track - there is almost a second little layer folded into it, creating a tight connection. I'd give it a longer useful life then regular rail joiners, though personally I think it would wear out if taken apart and put back together frequently unlike the self healing Unijoiner.

 

The actual fit between the track pieces is excellent - it's pretty painless to connect or dismantle, and it joins much closer/tighter then Unitrack. While the rail was not perfectly smooth as one commenter suggested, it was closer and had none of the flex of a Unitrack connection. It was possible to pick up the entire loop from one point and hold it without joints bending under the tracks weight.

 

The tie detail is very nice - the ties stand out much more then they do with Unitrack. One downside is that the Finetrack follows the same pattern of most sectional track by having pre-drilled holes for inserting nails. I personally dislike this as the (scale wise) giant holes distract from the apperance.

 

There are also gaps in the ballast just under the rails where the power supply connects - from a distance these are invisible, but up close the gap is rather odd looking. The power connector itself connects very reliabily, but is very visible (they've tried to disguise the big box portion by making it look like a piece of trackside equipment). However the part under the rails is very noticable (it is that brass color and reflective), I'd personally want to hide it somewhere like a tunnel.

 

The ballast coloring and detail is also very nice, a bit darker then Unitrack though I think it also manages to look a bit less plastic (that may be size related too). The only minus was that even in my one package I noticed rather extreme color variation - I had a curve meeting a straight, with a very sudden change from dark to light ballast. Either it is made with that wild variation at the factory, or the plastic is very sensitive to sunlight.

 

While the ballast size difference between Unitrack and Finetrack is seamingly small, 25mm vs. 18mm, in person there is a huge difference in size. Unitrack is huge compared to the minimalist Finetrack.

 

Both Unitrack and Finetrack use different connectors, however I found it very easy to splice a Kato extension cable to a Tomix extension cable, allowing me to use a Kato power pack (this could also be used for Kato switches, and with the remaining pieces a reverse connector could be made for attaching Tomix power to Kato rail)

 

Overall if I didn't already have a large investment in Unitrack I would consider using Finetrack for it's high quality, and may do so in future for a seperate layout. The more compact size and the very tight fit impressed me.

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bill937ca

I find Mini Fine Track and Super Mini Fine Track is used mostly for trams(anywhere) and has a huge market for B Train Shorty layouts in Japan.

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bill937ca

 

There are also gaps in the ballast just under the rails where the power supply connects - from a distance these are invisible, but up close the gap is rather odd looking. The power connector itself connects very reliabily, but is very visible (they've tried to disguise the big box portion by making it look like a piece of trackside equipment). However the part under the rails is very noticable (it is that brass color and reflective), I'd personally want to hide it somewhere like a tunnel.

 

Those DC feeder installation mouths look huge but when you are working on the layout they can be surprisingly hard to locate.  Tomix now has under track DC feeders for the Wide PC Rail.  The under track DC feeder installation mouth also allows you to change the polarity depending on the side the feeder is inserted from.  A double track layout can be run from a single power pack, but both trains run at approximately the same speed.  Even with that you can still have some further control over the trains with power routing switches

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Kabutoni

Ah, that's good to know. I've just ordered an Enoden 1000 Series and C140 curves :)

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stevenh
...While the ballast size difference between Unitrack and Finetrack is seamingly small, 25mm vs. 18mm, in person there is a huge difference in size. Unitrack is huge compared to the minimalist Finetrack...

 

I've just recently been toying with a small layout and realised that there had always been an issue with the Tomix Finetrack... the ballast is, although very nice, too high. So I sunk the track (around 6-10mm) into the foam base and intend on adding my own ballast to smoothen it out. The effect is already paying off and adds a much more realistic look to the layout.

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Jes

I've just recently been toying with a small layout and realised that there had always been an issue with the Tomix Finetrack... the ballast is, although very nice, too high. So I sunk the track (around 6-10mm) into the foam base and intend on adding my own ballast to smoothen it out. The effect is already paying off and adds a much more realistic look to the layout.

 

That's exacly what I did to enhance the appearance of my Tomix track.

See the difference between ballasted and unballasted track here.

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CaptOblivious

That's a very interesting solution to improving the looks!

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quinntopia

Reading through this thread, there's a lot of questions about compatibility, so I thought I'd share my own experience.  I started 'dabbling' with a Tomix Finetrack (I used to be 100% Unitrack) given that they were the first to market with super-elevated curves and have the tightest radii curves for trams available.  I'm currently using Unitrack, Atlas, Minitrix and Fleischmann Profitrack on my layout given that they all have distinct benefits or features that no else has (e.g. pre-ballasted flex track from Fleischmann, extra Minitrix track from a starter set, the aforementioned unique items from Tomix...etc...).  So far, they all work well together, the only challenge being that the different ballast, or lack thereof, will require a lot of scenic work to make it all look consistent (and you'll need to add roadbed and work on some of the connectors a bit for matching some of the track together, but this is fairly easy to do).

 

I found a fascinating site with some of the most detailed data on just about every available producer of N Gauge track from around the world (unfortuantely, its in German).  

http://www.spur-n.com/nschienen.html  

Well worth a look just for the "N gauge" geek-out feeling you'll get!

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wasunka

I've just recently been toying with a small layout and realised that there had always been an issue with the Tomix Finetrack... the ballast is, although very nice, too high. So I sunk the track (around 6-10mm) into the foam base and intend on adding my own ballast to smoothen it out. The effect is already paying off and adds a much more realistic look to the layout.

 

That's exacly what I did to enhance the appearance of my Tomix track.

See the difference between ballasted and unballasted track here.

 

Very useful, thanks.  I jumped over there and subscribed to your blog. 

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kmcsjr

So who's run what on the 177 and possibly 144 radii? I'm thinking about a fleiscmann 0-4-0 pulling short 2 axle cars up to Kato commuter sets. I guess I will order some and try it. I wil also look up mr 177140103.

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Martijn Meerts

Fleischmann are generally designed to be able to handle their own smallest radius curve, and since recently also the minitrix smallest radius curve (around 190mm I believe). They might be able to handle C177, but I don't think they could handle C140. There's just not enough clearance for the wheels to move sideways.

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KenS

So who's run what on the 177 and possibly 144 radii? I'm thinking about a fleiscmann 0-4-0 pulling short 2 axle cars up to Kato commuter sets. I guess I will order some and try it. I wil also look up mr 177140103.

 

In addition to trams, a surprising number of Japanese trains will negotiate 177mm, and according to the site linked below Tomix's E231 will even negotiate 140mm (although Kato's E231 can't handle even 177mm). Much depends on the couplers (note that the passenger trains depicted at the top of the second page appear to be equiped with Rapido couplers).

 

The first link below (trams) was posted back on the first page of this thread by someone else; I found the second page (other trains) when I followed it:

 

http://joshinweb.jp/hobby/minirail1.html?ACK=TOKU

 

http://joshinweb.jp/hobby/minirail2.html?ACK=TOKU

 

Note, the "o" after the heading indicates that it works.  The "x" indicates some kind of failure (derailment or just cars binding against each other) and the triangle seems to indicate success (perhaps conditional success; the translations were a bit confusing).

 

My only personal experience is with Modemo's articulated Setagaya trams, which can negotiate 140mm without trouble (the page claims they can negotiate 103mm, although I've read elsewhere that as least some articulated trams have problems with 103mm curves).

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Barobutt

Maybe I'm stupid but I just can't find anywhere the exact height of tomix track.  Does a side view diagram with dimensions exist anywhere?  How many mm to the top of the ballast? how many mm to the top of the rails?

 

I"m trying to purchase a good thickness of sintra for my town that will most closely match the exact height of tomix track, as well as something to lay under my atlas track to exactly bring it up to level with the tomix track since it has build-in roadbed.

 

Anyone have any numbers for me, or a diagram?

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bill937ca

Maybe I'm stupid but I just can't find anywhere the exact height of tomix track.  Does a side view diagram with dimensions exist anywhere?  How many mm to the top of the ballast? how many mm to the top of the rails?

 

I"m trying to purchase a good thickness of sintra for my town that will most closely match the exact height of tomix track, as well as something to lay under my atlas track to exactly bring it up to level with the tomix track since it has build-in roadbed.

 

Anyone have any numbers for me, or a diagram?

 

It's Code 80 and there's more information here. Much more information on Japan Model Railways web site, but you will have to translate the page with Google Translate or similar.

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Barobutt

No one who owns this tomix track could perhaps measure how thick the track is for me?  I'm surprised this info isn't anywhere online in english.  Pages and pages of info on how the track curves and the history of the company but not a single vertical measurement.  Anyone want to quick grab their calipers and help me out?

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keiman

will see if I can find the vernier and a bit of track somewhere to measure for you.

Tomix Track:

from bottom of trackbed to top of rail  6.15mm

from bottom of trackbed to top of sleeper 4.00mm

top of rail to ballast 3.7mm

depth of sleeper 1.05mm

Kato Track

from bottom of trackbed to top of rail  7.22mm

from bottom of trackbed to top of sleeper 4.75mm

top of rail to ballast 2.52mm

depth of sleeper  0.71mm

 

 

reason for edit added measurements

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Barobutt

The german guide I read translated that the bottom of the ballast to the top of rail-ballast is 6mm but I drew that, and with code 80 track, which I learned is 2mm tall, would make the track 8mm tall and it looked wayyyy too thick.  SO thinking this is just a mistranslation I drew the track at 18mm wide and 6mm tall including the rails and it looks better, although still a bit taller than it appears in pictures.

 

finetrack.jpg

 

Is this diagram correct?  I don't want to go out and buy a bunch of material and find out I got the wrong thickness :(

 

EDIT

keiman thank you you're my hero!!  Thanks for the edit!  So if I make the base for my town 6mm thick it'll be perfect.

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