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Martijn Meerts

JR-Chiisai: Main station

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Martijn Meerts

So, in order to finalise the helix, I had to start working on the main station and surrounding area. The track plan of the main station decides in part the last bit of the helix and the shape of the frame for the main station.

 

While I don't have a track plan finished yet, I have been working on one for quite a while, and also thinking about how the surrounding area should look. Considering I'll be going on holiday to Japan soon, I'll likely be using the area around the hotel I'm staying at and Shinjuku station as main inspiration. With that in mind, I've come up with some ideas.

 

The image shows a start of the track plan. Green track is the shinkansen line, purple track is unitram and blue track is the rest. Red boxes are Kato's platforms which I may or may not use. The large red box is Kato's overhead station. Grey boxes are roads.

 

The left part of the layout and the main station is going to be a large-ish city kinda idea. Moving to the right, it'll slowly move to smaller buildings/outskirts. The other end of the layout (it's going to be a U-shape probably) will be a smaller town with steam service terminal.

 

 

On the left, there's going to be a main street type of idea with a tram line going though the middle, and 2 lanes on each side of the tram line. The tram turnout is just there for looks really, considering running trams will always turn. I'm thinking of doing something like a derailed tram scene on the track going straight, or some sort of construction work. The left most tram track will disappear behind/underneath building and move into a small hidden yard. Tram track at the top will probably go to a small hidden yard as well. Trams will then just do a simple point-to-point layout.

 

The tram and buildings will be 1 level above the station track. The idea is to make the street similar to the one crossing Shinjuku station, as well as the one outside the hotel I'll be staying at when in Tokyo. Some buildings will be from kits (Sankei, Kato, etc) but a lot will likely (need to) be custom built. I quite like the hotel's building, so I may do a model of that, and being a Final Fantasy fan, obviously I'd like to do a building inspired by the one where Square Enix is located.

 

The station will be Kato's elevated station as well as Kato's overhead station. The overhead station will need to be modified quite a bit most likely, since it needs an entrance on the upper level. The platforms I'm not sure about yet considering part of the station is curved. I do like the platforms though, so I might see if I can figure out a way to use them.

 

 

And well, that's really about how far I've gotten for now. It's quite a large area (the station holds 16-car shinkansen), so it's not easy to plan everything ahead. I think I'm about at the point where I really need to get the next couple of frames built and start placing track and (temporary) buildings :)

main-station.jpg

Edited by Martijn Meerts
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kvp

Could you explain the operation of the blue (probably cape gauge) tracks? I don't understand the bottom part of the track layout that connects to the blue tracks through the 180 degree curve. Is that going to be hidden?

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Martijn Meerts

The blue is for all non-shinkansen trains, I haven't really gotten very far in planning that bit :)

 

The curve will be hidden yes, as well as the turnouts and crossings of the station. The idea is that from the station, those trains can either go into the yard, or turn around and appear elsewhere on the layout. It's just to add variation really, it's a technique I've used on other layouts, and it works really well in making a layout seem much bigger than it is.

 

I'm thinking I also need some tracks for the really short local trains, but haven't quite figured that out. It's hard to see what the available space is like until you start actually building.

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kvp

I start to think that your layout is meant to be viewed from the top side of the trackplan, but i was thinking from earlier photos that the viewer was meant to stand at the location of bottom edge.

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velotrain

I'm guessing that the plan you're showing does not correspond to the "U" that you mention, and this whole section will be "mirrored" on the far side of the room?

 

From the plan that you show, some might think that all trains emerge from storage via a helix, pass through a large station, and then go to storage again.

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Martijn Meerts

kvp, viewing position is from the bottom edge, so the main station will be up against the back wall more or less. That does leave a lot of space with no track in the front, but the plan is nowhere near done yet. I may add a tram line or something similar.

 

 

Velo, the 'mirrored' section will bit a bit shorter, but yes, that's the general idea. I think I posted measurements of the whole room in an earlier thread, but like I said, planning is not easy without having something physically built up to see if things work or not.

 

The shinkansen line will basically only be visible at the main station, so in case of the shinkansen, they will actually we going from storage through the station and to storage again. The reason for this is that I just really want 16 car shinkansen, but a private layout is never going to be big enough to really run them. So the idea is to let them be visible when slowly coming into and going out of the station. In essence, the shinkansen line could be considered scenery with motion, kinda like moving busses.

 

For the non shinkansen track, I'm not sure yet. Initially I wanted to have some tracks for express trains and some tracks for local trains, with the local trains getting the most track time. Another option would be to just shorten the express trains rather than try to run them full length.

 

In the end though, I want the layout to be much more about the scenery than the trains, so I'm not trying to get as much track as possible into the space I have, but more try to do something that's somewhat realistic.

 

 

Edit: actually, if I were to start over now and not already have a lot of different trains, I'd go for a steam only layout :)

Edited by Martijn Meerts

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velotrain

I can understand why you don't want the Shinkansen to dominate the rest of the layout, but it seems a shame to only have them seen at the station.  Since I gather the track will be hidden in mountains? perhaps build one or two locations where they pop out for a brief period - maybe on a bridge.

 

 

> Edit: actually, if I were to start over now and not already have a lot of different trains, I'd go for a steam only layout

 

Careful - you still have a lot of work left to do, and there's no reason to force yourself to complete a concept you had a long time ago just because you have a lot of modern trains.

 

So far as I understand, you haven't yet built anything that couldn't be used for an earlier era, except maybe some extra long staging tracks (heavy freight trains perhaps?).

 

You could sell the trains you no longer want and use the proceeds to purchase those of another era.

 

One possible approach might be to use a popular option in America by modeling the transition era - whatever that looked like in Japan.  It could be early or late as you prefer.  You could even start out with all steam and slowly introduce diesel, just as with the prototype.   One fellow in the US, whose HO railroad is called the Utah Belt, actually modernizes his diesel fleet over time to keep up with the proto railroads.

 

You could use the helix exit for two tracks of express, and two for locals and freight - of course the station area would need some modification.  Maybe a surface tram and/or overhead subway?

 

Don't needlessly push yourself into an unhappy corner, when you still have an opportunity to re-assess things.  Maybe take some time off from the big project to think about what you really want to do, and build a micro-layout in the meantime.

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kvp

viewing position is from the bottom edge, so the main station will be up against the back wall more or less.

Doesn't this put the hidden storage tracks at the bottom between the station and the viewer? (i'm probably misunderstanding the plan)

 

to use a popular option in America by modeling the transition era - whatever that looked like in Japan.

Actually there were three. One was the pre war urban electrification, the other was the post ww2 electrification with some diesel at the far end where electrification was not worth it and the final one the AC electrification to get rid of the last diesel and steam lines. JNR was privatised before this was finished. So imho the 'classic' transition era was from the 1950ies to the 1960ies with steam and shinkansen together with the urban and mainline electrics. The layout plan seems to cover it nicely.

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Martijn Meerts

Velo, transition era (or at least, the time around when the first shinkansen was introduced) has been something I've been thinking about, which is 1 of the reasons I've been buying mostly JNR era stuff when I buy something new. I have far too many modern trains though, and I hate selling trains, especially ones I really like, so that's not an option :)  In the end I'll run what I want to run but probably prioritise steam and JNR trains when it comes to deciding which trains get decoder(s) first.

 

I do still have plans for doing a small H0j/H0e layout though, which will definitely be very specific and prototypical.

 

 

kvp, not quite sure. It's something I still need to look at. Another option is to not have those tracks at all, and just have all trains go into the yard from the main station. Like I said, I haven't gotten really far with the planning yet, I really just have some rather rough ideas for the scenery, and I'm trying to design the track plan around that. 

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velotrain

I was thinking more of the track / scenery.  If you have viaduct track, you've locked in your time frame.  Since you indicated a desire for steam only, that suggested a very different landscape.  Of course, you can run any train you want through any type of scene, but most serious modelers set a defined era - some down to the year and even the day, for their layout.

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Martijn Meerts

I think with a viaduct track, the time when the first shinkansen started running is still possible, and at that time there was still a lot of steam as well. But then again, I do want to use the Kato overhead station which is definitely more modern, and some of the buildings I'm looking at making a model of are definitely modern as well. And well, I do often change my main interest over time. I've always liked steam, but for example, I used to really not like JNR era trains, I just thought they looked a bit strange and had boring paint schemes, but they've really grown on me. At the same time, there are also a lot of shinkansen I really like. So, for the N-scale layout I mostly just buy the trains that I like the look of, and eventually most of them will be running on it. This will likely include the occasional visit from German, Dutch and American trains.

 

 

The H0j/H0e will be very defined, it's going to be based on the Kiso forest railway for the H0e part, with some sort of storage/transfer area where the narrow gauge cars can unload and regular gauge trains can load. Parts of the line will be dual gauge most likely, and I might hand lay all the track if I can find a good source. Rolling stock will mostly be brass kits. So that's going to be the serious modeller layout ;)

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Martijn Meerts

Been a while since I did anything on this project. Because of various reasons I didn't have the time or motivation to work on it. Fairly recently 1 of my brothers said he might be interested in helping out though, so I went up to the attic / hobby room with him, since he hadn't seen any of it yet.

 

I've started cleaning up the attic / hobby room several times, but never actually finished it, and after each attempt more and more stuff got stored there. Right not it's not even really possible to walk around in the room, so the first step is to put up a bunch of shelves. This is something I've wanted to do for a while as well, but again, never really got around to it. I've started clearing space last weekend however, and cutting some wood to size. The idea is to first mount some 44x33cm wood slats to the wall, and then mount some metal rails to the slats. Since I need a lot of rails I figured this would be easier than mounting the rails directly to the wall. The slats also allow me to eventually mount backgrounds and have enough space behind the background for wiring lights that go above the layout.

 

After that, I need to do a check of the storage yard. I believe there are still a few blocks left to wire, and then it requires a little more testing. I'll also need to make a schematic of the yard and keep track of and number all the occupancy detectors and turnouts. All this can then be programmed into the ECOS and in iTrain. I'm also planning on getting a booster specifically for the storage yard, but this can be added later.

 

Once that's done, I can build the base for the first section of the main station, and the top of the helix. The helix itself also needs a checkup and a schematic, but it's much less complicated than the storage yard. The helix also needs a couple more track sections installed, but much of that can only be done after the main station base is done. Since I have a fairly clear idea of how the shinkansen tracks should look, I'll start with those, and try to at least get a (temporary) continuous loop going so I can actually run trains and start programming the flow of the hidden yard and experiment with some things.

 

Beyond the main station, I only have some general ideas of what I want, such as a local / branch line with a section based on the Sagano scenic railway scenery wise, a steam locomotive servicing terminal, and something with the Sankei Studio Ghibli kits I have.

 

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Martijn Meerts

Well, I spent part of the weekend installed the wooden slats on the wall. Of course, the walls are awful to drill holes in, in 1 spot it's almost impossible to drill a hole, the next is so brittle you can basically hand drill a hole, and yet other spots you start drilling at 1 spot and and up a centimeter off from where you started ... 

 

All in all, I've managed to do 6 of them so far, another 4 or so to go, but that'll have to wait for next weekend. I might go and get some of the required hardware for the shelves and install some of that in the meantime.

 

I have a week off next week, so I hope to get to the point where I can test run some trains again.

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Martijn Meerts

Spent the weekend and today finishing up the preparations for the shelves. I have pretty much everything done now, mounted the rails and get some brackets to test things out and measure the length of the shelves. Tomorrow I'll pick up some more brackets and some wooden boards to use as the actual shelves, and then hope everything stays mounted to the walls...

 

While I was working on all that, I had a bit of an accident though.. At some point I managed to drop a hammer and it landed on part of the storage yard. On a first quick inspection it looked like I got away with it, and the hammer came to a stop nowhere near the tracks. However, it turns out it actually smashed 1 of the turnouts to the point where it needs to be replaced. Several other turnouts have had their servo rods dislodged, so they don't work anymore, but should be easy to fix. More interestingly though, the yard seems to not be getting any power at all.

 

So, lots of troubleshooting tomorrow, and probably ordering a new turnout since I don't think I have any spares.

 

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Sheffie

Ouch. Sorry to hear that, Martijn 

—looking on the bright side, you will have plenty of spare parts. 

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