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Kaeru Branch Line - updated 7/6

Morian Miner

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Finally decided to make some serious progress on my Japan-based N-scale layout.  After going back-and-forth on how to arrange the Kato Unitrack I have, I've finally settled on a plan that I think should hold my interest (I'm notorious for tearing up layouts if I feel they don't have much operation interest).


The concept is based on the Motoyama Branch Line - the one line that, in reading about it, really motivated me to do a small Japanese-based set.  The outer loop represents the mainline served (for now) by a two-unit DMU.  The inner loop (when I don't feel like just watching the trains circle the loop) will go between the elevated section, to the main station, to a third station "off the layout".  Once I get those sets working, I plan on adding an elevated freight line on the back of the layout, similar to John Armstrong's "Timesaver" layouts (I've done something similar in HO, and its a blast to operate). The trolley will move commuters from the elevated area to the main station, and bring in workers to a small factory up top.  A freight line will switch the factory.


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Hey Morian,


I like what you're doing as a layout.  The steep grade on the siding concerns me a little as do the reversing curves ("S" bends) near the station.  You might want to rethink those parts.


I thought the branch line heads down to the ocean rather than up into the hills, so I was surprised to find your branch line heading up hill.  I also thought your station was the junction at Suzumeda Station, which would be quaint to model in its own right.


Perhaps I'm way off the mark with what you've got planned, but I'd like to know more about how your layout will fit into that area.





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Thanks for the comments.


I've actually ran both my Portam trolley and an RDC up the grades.  Both are able to handle the grade fairly well - especially surprised the RDC could take the transitions.  Also, played around with the S-curve by the station - trains handle it pretty well (even freight trains, surprisingly).  Its a little odd, but I planned on making that area at the end of the platform a bus terminal to add a little visual "flair".  I'm still not totally sold on both arrangements, so I keep running stuff through it looking for problems.


You are exactly right about Motoyama/Suzumeda.  My concern was that if I actually modeled that line, I'd want the actual Kumoha they ran - and I'm too cheap to get the model currently available.  Also, I already bought the Kato station, and didn't want to try to faithfully model Suzumeda.  So, I cheated - used the concept, but went completely freelance.  Figure it gives me a little more "freedom" in modeling.  But, I plan on using a similar schedule to the way it was run - 4 trains in the morning, 5 in the afternoon. 

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I have a particular interest in what you're doing because I'm also embarking on a theme-based layout.  Mine will be based on Kofu, Yamanashi-ken.  I'm in the track planning stage on that one ... and a few friends are waiting to critique my track plan too!  It's never possible to model a real life scene precisely. 


Basing a layout on a particular line, scene, or location can mean different things to different people.  For me it means including key scenic features, being able to replicate prototypical services such as the use of sidings and junctions, having a track plan with great similarity to the prototype - enough that someone who knows the area would be drawn to say, "Yeah, I get it!"  But it's equally valid for me to do something completely different but which has the "feel" of Kofu.  Some modellers are more intellectual than me in this regard and avoid my lay-down-misere approach.  Perhaps that's where you're heading.  Either way, I'm looking forward to seeing how your little project turns out.





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Morian Miner

Finally, I have been making some progress on my layout.  Hoping by this weekend to get enough of the "messy" work around the edges complete, where I can move it into the house and work at a more leisurely pace.


I took some photos to see how the layout is looking through "another's eye"  Reading my earlier post, I see I decided to simplify the elevated freight line - gone is the switching layout idea, and now its just a spur to park a couple cars (more for display).  The factory will definitely need some work to make it look less "American".  But, it gets the place of honor up high since I built that 20 years ago while a freshman in college.





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