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Claude_Dreyfus

Planning our N Gauge Japanese layout

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Claude_Dreyfus

After months of cajoling, I have finally convinced the N Gauge section of our club that the new layout should be Japanese  ;D. At present we are still in the planning stage whilst the 00 lot complete their 1950's BR Southern Region layout - which we are helping out on - and is due for exhibition this weekend.

 

The initial plan is for the layout to be set in the southern area of Tokyo, situated within the Shinagawa ward. With a little creativity and poetic licence, our station will served by the Keihin Tohoku line, whilst both the Tokaido main line and the Shinkansen pass by. The Yamanote line diverges a little to the north of our station, making it more or less where the present Oimachi station is.

 

I have been shifting a lot of my old stock (UK N Gauge) to make way for lots of lovely Japanese stuff, and I now have a fair amount of stock - my most recent acquisitions being a Kato Kiha 110 (I am planning a small diesel branch line as a personal project) and a complete Tomix 300 bullet - apologies to all those hunting one out, but I stumbled across this one whilst trying to get the Kiha 110 - could not resist.

 

Getting the necessary stock is a little tricky in the UK - we only have a couple of outlets - so most of my purchases come from Plaza Japan, although a recently acquired Keihin Tohoku E233 came from the US.

 

In addition I have a small collection of H0 stock...one of which was being put through its paces on our soon to tbe completed club 00 layout.

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CaptOblivious

Very exciting! I look forward to watching your layout progress. I expect lots of photos! In addition to keeping us up to date here, I'd be remiss if I didn't ask you to consider writing up a series of submissions to Tetsudo ;)

 

And I love the Kato KIHA110. I don't know where you found yours; I thought I had the last one available in the English-speaking world (got the last one Rainbow Ten had in stock a little over a year ago). If you ever tire of it, you have a willing buyer! Converting them to DCC is a bit tiring, because while the motor of course is in the frame, the headlights are mounted inside the top of the shell! So it's inevitable that a conversion would have wires all over the place.

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Claude_Dreyfus

I will endeavour to do so... although construction proper will probably not start until mid-spring. Watch this space, as they say....

 

My interest in the Kiha 110 was triggered by a 'Prus Endo' H0 model of a two-car set becoming available on another forum. This, along with a couple more H0 units, made their way over to me pretty quickly  ;D. An appeal on the same forum - RMweb - for the N Gauge version, saw me directed to a guy selling off some of his N Gauge collection - one of which was the 110.

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CaptOblivious

Oh my. Expensive! But such a sweet, sweet model.

http://www.mr-endo.com/lineup/prus/kidousha/kiha110.html

 

If you ever happen to come across Kato's N-scale KIHA110 non-motorized, or the KIHA111-112 two-car set, I'd be interested to know, too, BTW :D

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Claude_Dreyfus

Like this?  8)

 

I see from your avatar you rather like these units...

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Bernard

Claude - Does your club have a track plan and how many are in your club?

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Claude_Dreyfus

We have about 12 members of our club, 5 of which are 'N Gaugers'. Of those only I am a committed Japanese fan, although another has a couple of class 103s and a couple of Bullets. The others like the idea of something a little bit unusual  ;D.

 

The concept of the layout in general is for a generic fiddle yard to be available for a number of different front-ends. The Japanese Project is the first of these. My understanding is, from the Japanese Railway Society, that there are only about 6 Japanese exhibition layouts in the UK  :o. I would stress that is only the number they are aware of, there may be one or two more...

 

Our track plan is still being formulated, however it will look pretty much like the plan posted below.

 

What we have, in effect, are four separate loop lines - although the two suburban lines share a storage sidings; however these can still be worked separately. The intention here is to try to convey the shere volume of traffic that the Tokyo suburban network handles. A little modellers licence splits the Yamanote line from the Keihin Tohoku line a little further south than Shinagawa station. The Tokaido Main Line is running parallel at this point, as is the Tokaido Shinkansen line. The station is only served by the Keihin Tohoku trains - currently comprising a single ten-car E233 set. I will try to obtain another when funds permit.

 

The double-track line branching off the Yamanote line and heading to the front of the plan is a unpowered line and is, in effect, part of the scenery.

 

I can pretty much cover the train services with the stock I have, the only current omission is the Yamanote E231 set - two of those will be obtained in due course.

 

The Tokaido Main Line has a number of units serving it, including another E231, a Narita Express, an Odoriko 'Dancing Girl' set and a 'Superview Odoriko' set. A few of these are seen in the second picture, taken in the fiddle yard of our current UK outline layout.   

 

The Shinkansen is currently served by an 0 series (Kato), 300 Series (Tomix) and a 700 Series (Kato). I also have an incomplete 500 (Kato) and for maintenance purposes a Tomix 700 based 'Dr Yellow'. An N700 and 100 'Grand Hikari' are on the shopping list here.

 

Additional stuff includes Bullet E2 and E4 sets and a couple of 103 units - fortunately one of these is in the correct colours for the Keihin Tohoku line. These belong to one of the other members.

 

I will endeavour to post more updates as we proceed.

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JohnDMJ

We have about 12 members of our club, 5 of which are 'N Gaugers'. Of those only I am a committed Japanese fan, although another has a couple of class 103s and a couple of Bullets.

 

 

And he's just joined this forum, along with his Bullet E2 and E4 sets and a couple of 103 units!!

 

(He also has Japanese Z and T Gauge as well!)

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CaptOblivious

This looks very exciting! I really like the idea of "working" dioramas like this. The track plan has a very nice dynamic flow to it, and is quite flexible. With only a small stretch, you could use the same layout as a model of the area around Nippori where the Joban line parts ways from the Yamanote, Keihin-Tohoku, and Utsunomiya/Takasaki/Tohoku Honsen. Or near Tabata where the Yamanote parts from the Keihin-Tohoku. Or any of a number of other junctions around the Central Tokyo area.

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JohnDMJ
a couple of 103 units - fortunately one of these is in the correct colours for the Keihin Tohoku line. These belong to one of the other members.

 

 

You mean I got something right, Claude?? ;D

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Bernard

Double WOW! I love the idea of a busy station and you've accomplished that. Are you using flex track or is that hand laid and if it's flex-track which brand? And what turnouts are you using? (I have a ton of questions but I'll just leave you with these for the time being.)

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Claude_Dreyfus

Thanks for the comments so far. :)

 

As with all things, I had a certain geography in mind when trying to devise this concept, however it could pretty much be anywhere in the Tokyo area - even any other major Japanese city - the exact location being dictated by the stock. I like that idea, and it is one that has been used on previous club layouts - the geography and buildings being fairly generic, but the stock regional.

 

As I mentioned, I wanted to try to portray the levels of traffic that these suburban lines handle - and this layout scheme has the capacity to have as many as eight trains running simultaneously! I wanted also to have a multi-layered scheme, because I mainly specialise in scenic modelling as opposed to track laying and wiring. Fortunately track and wires are the forte of John and another member of our club, so I think I'm quite safe there.  ;)

 

Talking of track, I did make a number of enquiries a little while ago about the most suitable track for this layout. I was seriously considering the Unitrack system; however the problem of the baseboard joins came up. As the track would be crossing the joins either at an angle or on a curve, I was interested to know if the Unitrack had the structural integrity to withstand being cut mid-section. I did think about the adjustable section joiners, however they do look what they are; adjustable joiners...not something I want for an exhibition layout. Furthermore, some of the connections would be hidden away in tunnels, making access tricky.

 

We probably will use PECO track, which is common-place in the UK; I'm not too sure how common it is abroad. It's okay, and the range is pretty big. Their 'flexitrack' is fairly good quality, and although their points look good, they need careful wiring as the blade-contact can be variable to say the least. The Japanese stock runs happily enough on it, and it is not too expensive (a point is about $11.00 - $12.00, although the point motor comes separately - approx $6.00 each).

 

The only points on the viewing side of the layout will be non-operational 'dummy' points, as the line off from the 'Yamanote' tracks which heads under the Shinkansen, parallel to the river, are only for visual effect and won't carry trains.

 

An added section is a proposed tram line, running towards the back of the layout - this is not shown on the scheme as its precise location will only be determined once the main track design has been finalised. Trams will be the Tokyo 300 series vehicle - at present the fleet consists of a single apple green version.

 

I am happy to answer any questions, however as we are still in the planning stage some aspects may change over time.

 

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JohnDMJ

Thanks for the comments so far. :)

Fortunately track and wires are the forte of JohnDMJ and another member of our club, so I think I'm quite safe there.  ;)

 

Talking of track...

 

We probably definitely (JohnDMJ) will use PECO track, which is common-place in the UK. Their 'flexitrack' is fairly good quality, and although their points look good, they need careful wiring as the blade-contact can be variable to say the least.

if the points are never going to operate, I'll weld the rails together! That will improve reliability. I'll also do some work with the frogs to ensure smooth running!

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Claude_Dreyfus

Thanks for the comments so far. :)

Fortunately track and wires are the forte of JohnDMJ and another member of our club, so I think I'm quite safe there.  ;)

 

Talking of track...

 

We probably definitely (JohnDMJ) will use PECO track, which is common-place in the UK. Their 'flexitrack' is fairly good quality, and although their points look good, they need careful wiring as the blade-contact can be variable to say the least.

if the points are never going to operate, I'll weld the rails together! That will improve reliability. I'll also do some work with the frogs to ensure smooth running!

 

I'll take that as a definitely then... ;)

 

Incidently, I hope you are not planning to weld the points in the fiddle yard together! It might improve the contact, but will give the operating department a few headaches  ;D

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JohnDMJ

I'll take that as a definitely then... ;)

Alright then!
Incidently, I hope you are not planning to weld the points in the fiddle yard together! It might improve the contact, but will give the operating department a few headaches  ;D

How much is it worth?? ;D

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JohnDMJ

Claude:

 

Remind me; what speeds are the various lines built for and do the trains pass left - left or right - right? (UK = right - right)

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JohnDMJ

Just to clarify, Claude, you're short on 2xE233 and 2xE231 sets? (and which formation of E231 had you in mind? Answer in Kato part numbers for simplicity!) And I guess that a Kato 10-514 Yamanoto Line 103 would not go amiss?

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Bernard

Lost in translation: when you say "points" do you mean switches?

Part of my layout is Peco and the other is Atlas flex track. After using both, I prefer Peco it holds it shape better and in my opinion is a better quality of track but it does cost a bit more in the USA and most LHS don't stock it.

As for Peco switches, I started out with Atlas and have switched over to Peco, they are almost bullet proof.

Are you going with code 80 or 55?

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Claude_Dreyfus

Lost in translation: when you say "points" do you mean switches?

Part of my layout is Peco and the other is Atlas flex track. After using both, I prefer Peco it holds it shape better and in my opinion is a better quality of track but it does cost a bit more in the USA and most LHS don't stock it.

As for Peco switches, I started out with Atlas and have switched over to Peco, they are almost bullet proof.

Are you going with code 80 or 55?

 

Yes, by points I do mean switches.

 

Now the question over whether to use code 55 or code 80. I don't know how many know about these differences or why they came about, and I apologise if this next bit covers stuff everybody already knows. Code 80 is what would be termed 'normal' track, more or less to scale with the 1/160 US and European outline. As UK N Gauge is 1/148, the code 80 looks too narrow for the slightly larger sized stock - negated by the fact the UK loading gauge is smaller than Continental Europe and quite a bit smaller than the US. This means that an N gauge UK locomotive is about the same size as its US counterpart when the US engine should really dominate the UK example. Code 55 was introduced to try to disguise the fact UK trains appeared to be running on narrow gauge track. Exactly the same situation exists with H0 vs. 00.

 

This leads to the British oddities of 2mm, EM and P4....

 

Here the Japanese manufacturers have had to compromise by making their trains run on standard N gauge track. What I would like to try to do is to deceive the eye into thinking the track is narrower than it actually is. I am wondering whether or not code 80 track for the main lines (at 3' 6") might be more appropriate for this. Various other techniques, such as the way we ballast the track may help with this aspect. The bullet tracks, being 4' 8 1/2'' will probably be code 55 to try to emphasis the gauge difference.

 

Again do forgive me if I am explaining something which everyone else already knows... ;)

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Claude_Dreyfus

Just to clarify, Claude, you're short on 2xE233 and 2xE231 sets? (and which formation of E231 had you in mind? Answer in Kato part numbers for simplicity!) And I guess that a Kato 10-514 Yamanoto Line 103 would not go amiss?

 

PlazaJapan has the full 11 car sets for the Yamanote line E231 - I don't have the part numbers at present...

 

I have only found the Keihin E233 at one shop - Model Train Stuff - in the US. Part 10-543.

 

I'm sure a Yamanote 103 would not go amiss  ;)

 

Claude:

 

Remind me; what speeds are the various lines built for and do the trains pass left - left or right - right? (UK = right - right)

 

The same as us - right-right.

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CaptOblivious

Just to clarify, Claude, you're short on 2xE233 and 2xE231 sets? (and which formation of E231 had you in mind? Answer in Kato part numbers for simplicity!) And I guess that a Kato 10-514 Yamanoto Line 103 would not go amiss?

 

PlazaJapan has the full 11 car sets for the Yamanote line E231 - I don't have the part numbers at present...

 

I have only found the Keihin E233 at one shop - Model Train Stuff - in the US. Part 10-543.

 

 

Here are some good links for you, then!

Keihin-Tohoku E233-1000 (both Kato and Tomix; the Tomix is out of stock just now, but that won't last, I'm sure)

http://www.1999.co.jp/search_e.asp?Typ1_c=104&scope=1&scope2=0&urikire=1&itkey=keihin+E233

 

Yamanote E231-500 (Kato is re-release the same old models in new packaging; Kato catalog nos. 10-261/10-262 are good as gold)

http://www.1999.co.jp/search_e.asp?Typ1_c=104&scope=1&scope2=0&urikire=1&itkey=yamanote+E231

 

Also don't forget to search Rainbow Ten's inventory!

http://www.rainbowten.co.jp/data/etrain.htm

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Claude_Dreyfus

As part of the planning for the new layout, a name needs to be devised. I want to avoid a cheesy play on words, or something that may be inappropriate, however it needs to be generic enough to suit any part of Japan.

 

One thought would be a direct translation of our club’s location in the UK; either using the club name – Liphook – or the club's actual location – Milland. In both cases I am fairly fortunate as the can be roughly translated without too many problems – ‘Lip’ and ‘Hook’, and ‘Mill’ and ‘And’. The following have come up through Babelfish:

 

Liphook:

 

Rippu Ha-Ken

 

Milland:

 

Koujou Soshite

Koujou Oyobi

Koujou Narabini

Koujou Kyou

Koujou Hatamata

 

To be honest, I’m not too enamoured with most of these – only Koujou Oyobi and possibly Koujou Hatamata – sound okay. I don’t think Koujou Soshite would work, especially in English.  ;D

 

I also accept that Babelfish has its (pretty serious) limitations, so forgive any suspect spelling/meanings above.

 

Other options may include something connected to the immediate geography of the layout, perhaps the river which is planned etc. A lot of careful thought will be going into this, however should anyone have any suggestions, do feel free to post them  :)

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Claude_Dreyfus

Just to clarify, Claude, you're short on 2xE233 and 2xE231 sets? (and which formation of E231 had you in mind? Answer in Kato part numbers for simplicity!) And I guess that a Kato 10-514 Yamanoto Line 103 would not go amiss?

 

PlazaJapan has the full 11 car sets for the Yamanote line E231 - I don't have the part numbers at present...

 

I have only found the Keihin E233 at one shop - Model Train Stuff - in the US. Part 10-543.

 

 

Here are some good links for you, then!

Keihin-Tohoku E233-1000 (both Kato and Tomix; the Tomix is out of stock just now, but that won't last, I'm sure)

http://www.1999.co.jp/search_e.asp?Typ1_c=104&scope=1&scope2=0&urikire=1&itkey=keihin+E233

 

Yamanote E231-500 (Kato is re-release the same old models in new packaging; Kato catalog nos. 10-261/10-262 are good as gold)

http://www.1999.co.jp/search_e.asp?Typ1_c=104&scope=1&scope2=0&urikire=1&itkey=yamanote+E231

 

Also don't forget to search Rainbow Ten's inventory!

http://www.rainbowten.co.jp/data/etrain.htm

 

Thanks for that  :)

 

I only have limited access to the net at present, as I am sitting in my office waiting for my lift home...

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CaptOblivious

As part of the planning for the new layout, a name needs to be devised. I want to avoid a cheesy play on words, or something that may be inappropriate, however it needs to be generic enough to suit any part of Japan.

 

One thought would be a direct translation of our club’s location in the UK; either using the club name – Liphook – or the club's actual location – Milland. In both cases I am fairly fortunate as the can be roughly translated without too many problems – ‘Lip’ and ‘Hook’, and ‘Mill’ and ‘And’.

 

An (awful) suggestion:

立腹 (りっぷく — lippuku). Sounds similar to "Liphook", but it means "anger, offense, rage", which is perhaps not so good.

 

As for Milland:

If you don't like soshite (pronounced "soshteh") you could use "to" ("and") or "mou" (pronounced just like the first part of "more", coincidentally, it actually does mean "more")

Moreover, there are lots of words for "mill":

工場 — kouba or (as you found) koujou

製造所 — seizojou or seizoshou

ミル — miru (transliteration of "mill)

水車小屋 — suishagoya (water-driven mill)

 

If you know anything more about the mill from which Milland got its name, I can find a more specific term for you

 

:D

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JohnDMJ

If you don't like soshite (pronounced "soshteh") you could use .......

 

It's not so much how it should be pronounced, more how the average British public will see it spelt and associate words of a derogatory nature!

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