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tt0880

Starting over fresh with my first ever model train layout.

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tt0880

Hey everyone! I already introduced myself in the introduction forum, but to introduce myself again, I'm Tim! Nice to meet you all! 

 

I got back from a trip to Japan and knew right away I needed to have my own little Japan in my life. So, without even hesitating, I called up a friend who is much better at woodworking than me and we built a table together. I found an AMAZING N scale shop about 30 minutes south of me (Thanks G&G Trains!) that had a ton of stuff in stock, so I dove in and bought an M2 set. Here is a picture of that:

large.layoutbegin.jpg.6ab11b2b258e171733fe0c7faa7e460a.jpg

 

I found a Shinkansen train on Amazon with prime shipping, so I snagged it (and some buildings) up as fast as I could and started to have fun:

large.layoutbegin2.jpg.092ba64f0897420fb698df6117259562.jpg

 

I eventually added some foam because the plywood was very ugly. Plus, I can use this down the line for terrain! I also bought some more track and tried creating a more interesting layout. I very much enjoyed it for a time! 

large.layoutbegin3.jpg.ceb0226f3a235ed7d52f8ccf4ee07974.jpg

 

As time went on, though, I began to realize one major flaw of my layout: It only has one loop. As fun as it was to watch my Shinkansen go around, if I wanted to run another train, I had to either move it into the station and run one other one at a time, or take off the trains entirely. I was not a big fan of that. So, even though I liked this layout, I completely scrapped it.

 

So, this next picture was just taken yesterday. You'll notice a LOT of changes and a LOT of new stuff. I've developed quite a problem for my bank account, but I say it's worth it :)

large.layoutfresh1.jpg.d01e7a3dc81707b858a23eb51a0f8c9b.jpglarge.layoutfresh2.jpg.e452c7402df9120b0a7629f5f0bc2a86.jpglarge.layoutfresh3.jpg.4c8ba1d9d3809148b5798126e51d3289.jpglarge.layoutfresh4.jpg.b96b48d6e8a006f2cdabcd8a11fa380e.jpg

 

So, as you'll notice, I picked up a Kato Unitram set, which I absolutely LOVE! And a Kato V13 so I can have more room for passenger trains, and a double track! The outside oval is just that: a boring oval. I have grand plans of wanting some type of mountain/rural area and a yard... But I'm having a lot of trouble deciding how I'm going to accomplish that. I'm horribly uncreative and it's showing... But I'm having fun with what I can now :)

 

So, there's the first of hopefully many progress posts! I only live in a condo/apartment right now so space is not a surplus. So this 4x8 is all I'm going to have for a while. Hopefully down the line I'll have an entire basement dedicated to my layout :) 

 

I have a Kato Viaduct station set on the way which I am super excited for. Once I have that in I can hopefully gauge space a little better and decide how I want the rest of the layout to look. I also really want to connect the lower track to the upper track somehow... I dunno. I have a lot of track, but not a lot of prowess to make good use of it. I think that will come with time.

 

Thanks so much for reading!! This forum rocks!

 

P.S. With the viaduct station, I really want to be able to have 2 platforms with one track on either side (so, 4 total tracks). I know I'm going to need some viaduct station extension sets (http://www.newhallstation.com/store/product_info.php/products_id/217) but I'm not sure how many I'll need to have the 4 tracks I want. Does anyone happen to know? Thanks! 

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cteno4

Tim,

 

yep you need those expansion sets to get the double wide you need to go out to 4 tracks in the station. The expansion kits get you 2 plates wirh pairs of all 3 kinds of sidewalls. They are about $18 each from Japan and like $7-9 shipping sal each (they are not light so depending on number you can get 1-3 in sal for the cheapest shipping.). Sadly they have not been in stock much with us retailers for a while. Kleins has been keeping the whole station in stock at a good price

 

3 extension sets gets you the regular station out double for 5 x 2 station. But that's only about 5 cars in the passing siding. It does get expensive to use the kato plates for a larger 4 track station. Other way is to buy 2 whole station sets to make your 5x2 and have full entrance and shops on both sides then to boot. These are about $117 each shipped ems (too heavy for cheaper sal) to you from hobbysearch directly. Modeltrainstuff.com also stock them in the us but bit more expensive with shipping ironically.

 

beware new hall station basically is just buying stuff from a Japanese hobby shop at usually 2x or more the Japanese street price and having it shipped to you ems (expensive rate) tacked on. It really is a rip off. 

 

Other option is to roll your own station and there are some threads on that if you are interested. Kato plates are nice as they come apart and are nice and strudy and work well, just not cheap!

 

cheers

 

jeff

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tt0880

Hey Jeff, that's good advice, thank you! I've actually never bought from Newhall Station, just the first link I found when searching it to make sure I had the right thing :) 

 

18 minutes ago, cteno4 said:

3 extension sets gets you the regular station out double for 5 x 2 station. But that's only about 5 cars in the passing siding. It does get expensive to use the kato plates for a larger 4 track station. Other way is to buy 2 whole station sets to make your 5x2 and have full entrance and shops on both sides then to boot.

So are you saying that 3 extension sets would make it big enough to have 4 tracks, albeit only 5 cars long? I don't have many longer trains at this point so maybe that's a good starting point, but I'm still not sure. I really need to develop my skills and get better at custom stuff, so maybe I'll look into making my own custom station as well. 

 

 

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JR 500系

Great to see a new layout building up! Thanks for sharing!

 

As for the Kato expansion for the station to turn into 4 tracks, you can refer to a really useful website by Kato here:

 

http://www.katomodels.com/unitrackplan/plan_a.shtml

 

This exact plan also shows how to change a 2 track station into 4 track one using readily available Kato track pieces. ..

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tt0880

Thanks for the response, JR 500! So, if I'm understanding that correctly, I would need SEVEN expansion sets to make that station? That's not cheap! I speak/read no Japanese, but thankfully my girlfriend does... Maybe I can get her to translate that for me to make sure I understand it correctly :)

 

 Thank you very much for the link, that is very helpful. I assume the PLT248-99 is the expansion set? If one Viaduct Station set comes with one of those expansion sets, that would give me just enough for the two on the very end to put my turnouts on... Is that right? So, minimum, I would need 3 expansion sets to have 4 tracks, albeit short ones?

 

Thanks a ton :) 

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serotta1972

Hey tt0880, that's a great start - and looks like you're moving along at a nice pace.  Enjoy running the trains!

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cteno4

Tim,

 

the station comes with 5 plates and I think 2 pairs of low wall and 3 pairs of high wall (two different kinds) and the station entrainment building and pair of shop buildings underneath. The espansion set is just 2 plates and 6 pairs of walls (2 pairs of each kind). So to get a 5x2 plate station to have it 4 tracks wide, you would need either 2 station kits or one station kit and 3 expansion kits (and you end up with one extra plate).

 

5 plates long only make a passing siding that can hold about 5 full length cars. Each 248mm section holds about 1.5 cars.

 

jeff

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JR 500系

Hi there!

 

Basically, from what I read on Kato's website and the part list they provided, you require one set of the viaduct station:

 

http://www.1999.co.jp/eng/10003169

 

and 6 sets of the expansion set:

 

http://www.1999.co.jp/eng/10003185

 

from the picture, the station looks fit enough for a 6-car shinkansen, with their noses sticking out ~ You will need to keep adding the expansion set to length the station to your car length requirement...

 

The tracks on the overhead station are basically straight forward same tracks that you would use as on the ground ~

 

And yes overhead stations tend to get expensive really fast especially for long shinkansen trains... and shinkansen trains tend to be long...  haha ~

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cteno4

The one shown is a 6x2 plate which will need a station and 4 expansion sets or 2 stations and one expansion set. Should hold 6 car Shinkansen.

 

jeff

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IST
16 hours ago, tt0880 said:

 But I'm having fun with what I can now :)

 

This is the most important thing you can achieve with a layout.

I would like to see your progress here with lots of pictures, but please do not forget: you build your layout for yourself and not for us! :grin

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tt0880

Hey everyone! Finally I can post here again!

 

Sadly I haven't accomplished much on my personal layout lately, as I'm gathering needed materials, and as we all know, shipping from Japan is no Amazon Prime :) 

 

I decided that my scope for my 4x8 was too large. I don't think I'd be able to have both a rural section and a city section on that amount of space without half-assing both of them. So I decided to go all city. 

 

The mailman was good to me the other day, as you'll see below:

large.mailhaul1.jpg.17f73f253773396013eb1ad758aeb7a9.jpg

 

I picked up the Kato 10-457 from a fellow forum user here (thank you nah00!) and the Kato 10-458 expansion set for it on eBay for only $50 shipped, so I'm pretty stoked. And lastly, my Viaduct station set came in the mail yesterday... So I'm going to start on it tonight! I am so excited!

 

Also, I went to my first train show with my local N Scale club last weekend and it was a blast. It was a smaller show and was mostly HO, so I wasn't expecting to find anything N Scale, let alone Japanese, but I was pleasantly surprised! I did find the famous Imperial Train at a small hobby shops table and I snagged it up as quick as I could. I couldn't find it on eBay surprisingly, and it was on Amazon from third party sellers for much more expensive. Dunno if I did good or not, but I'm very happy with it! For a Japanese layout, it's an extremely Japanese train! 

large.59e633b8aadb6_katotrain.jpg.5cd44845d711ab0cd138da668ca13579.jpg

 

So, now the fun can begin. I'll build my station, get that set up, and then better decide how to utilize the rest of the space. I'll keep this post updated! 

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cteno4

Wow tt you are off to the races, that's quite a pile of booty! You have enough to build a very nice sized Shinkansen station with those three station sets.

 

its always good to cruise all the tables at shows as odd bits of new and used Japanese stuff show up, sometimes at very low prices as not big market usually. Sometimes it can be really overpriced, though, as some think the stuff is ultra rare, and it may be in most shops and shows, but you can usually get it from japan at decent prices. 

 

Looking forward to your progress. Unitrak is fun and easy to play with and experiment a lot with before (or ever) you move to doing a nailed down layout. Good to play a lot with track plans and see what trips your triggers and what you find a pain.

 

enjoy the booty!

 

jeff

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Kiha66

Nice haul tt!  I'm experiencing the same indecision with my own layout at the moment.  That elevated station looks neat! 

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tt0880

Hey everyone!

 

Update time, and to be honest, it isn't much of one, haha.

 

The main reason for that is because I have been incredibly busy. My other main hobby is video games and there have been a ton of fun games to play. So, I have to split my time between work, video games, trains, and my girlfriend... I guess it could be worse, though ;)

 

However, when I am working with trains, I'm usually working with my model railroad club! I was so lucky to find an amazing group of N-Scalers in my area. We've been going to many train shows and I'm even helping build modules. If you want more info on that, you can check out my T-Trak thread here. I'm pretty proud of my first module. 

 

But as far as my personal layout, I'm still struggling with planning it! But I have built my huge station and a plan is starting to come together.

large.IMG_20171121_204126.jpg.00a91ff13ce9603f38491de96bef8275.jpglarge.IMG_20171121_204134.jpg.edc6e534655da14aeb2a407caacc9522.jpg

So, here's the station. I think it looks great, I just have to figure out its final position and whether or not I'm going to invest in the roadplates. Does anyone have the viaduct station road plates? Do you recommend them?

 

And also, WOW, the station is huge. It's almost 6 feet long with the station platforms on top! And I'm gonna need a lot of track to fill it!

large.IMG_20171121_204221.jpg.3165b838881395d47935e85cc13f13f1.jpg

This is the top of it. Does anyone know if you're allowed to have it meet up with a curved piece on one end instead of a straight piece of viaduct track? It works right now, but just barely. The whole thing is a little crooked and doesn't match up perfectly. I probably have to have a straight piece on each end, but I wanted to check. 

 

Also, does anyone know how I should have the station platforms sitting on the station building and shops? The platforms are WAY longer than the shops, and I kind of have to balance the platforms from the middle on the shops and building and the whole thing is kind of awkward. Is that what I'm supposed to do, or is there a better way to make this station?

 

Regardless, I have a lot of track to buy this weekend :) The good news is, since this station takes up so much space, it makes my layout indecisiveness easier because I have less space! I guess the only thing I have left to decide is whether I want the upper track to connect to the bottom track and if I want to squeeze a yard in somewhere. Thoughts?

 

Thanks so much for reading, guys! I'm having so much fun! 

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Kiha66

Thanks for sharing the pictures TT, I really like your setup!  The double wide station looks awesome.

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kvp

The idea is to have a bit of straight track between the curves and the first turnout to prevent derailings on the points.

 

For the shops, the only rule is to locate the entry and stairs section under the stairs going down from the platforms. Otherwise it could have anything under the tracks.

 

For yards, you could have a very steep ramp or add an elevated yard. The latter could even have a ground level yard under it with a bit of modding.

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JR 500系

Looking good! Thanks for sharing!

 

While I don't use Kato Unitrack, but I am thinking the concept is the same... There needs to be a total of 4 switches for a 4 track station, and 2 island platforms.

 

Something like Station Layout  

 

For the rear of the station, I think pillars or piers can be used to support the rear, since it will be covered up by the front shops and hence not visible... however, if the layout can be viewed from both sides and for aesthetics purposes, I do believe having two rows of the shops back to back would solve the issue of support and looks good in the process since technically a station can be accessed from both ends!

 

Hoped that helped! Have fun building!

 

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railsquid
3 hours ago, tt0880 said:

Also, does anyone know how I should have the station platforms sitting on the station building and shops? The platforms are WAY longer than the shops, and I kind of have to balance the platforms from the middle on the shops and building and the whole thing is kind of awkward. Is that what I'm supposed to do, or is there a better way to make this station?

 

 

Going by the catalogue, you could add additional support piers (presumably part 23-020), not all Shinkansen stations are filled end-to-end with shops etc., e.g. Kumagaya: https://goo.gl/maps/ZDHBHS2pgM82
 

The space is often used for carparking, storage, etc.

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cteno4

Support piers work and you can flip the S joiners over so the tab is out the bottom to clip into the peirs and hold them in place. 

 

I agree with squid you can definitely put more shops and even 2 station fronts (just turn one around if you down want them repetitive or space them out with shops so there are entrances toward either end. I picked up 3 like new station sets on ebay many years ago and our first few club setups we had a 6' station with entrances and shops most of the way across one face of the station and it looked great!

 

you can also cut some like 1/2" wood strips to support the plates in areas to make car park area and such. Great thing about using the plate system like this is you can keep playing with it to get what you like best.

 

jeff

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toc36
On 10/17/2017 at 1:36 PM, cteno4 said:

Wow tt you are off to the races, that's quite a pile of booty! You have enough to build a very nice sized Shinkansen station with those three station sets.

 

its always good to cruise all the tables at shows as odd bits of new and used Japanese stuff show up, sometimes at very low prices as not big market usually. Sometimes it can be really overpriced, though, as some think the stuff is ultra rare, and it may be in most shops and shows, but you can usually get it from japan at decent prices. 

 

Looking forward to your progress. Unitrak is fun and easy to play with and experiment a lot with before (or ever) you move to doing a nailed down layout. Good to play a lot with track plans and see what trips your triggers and what you find a pain.

 

enjoy the booty!

 

jeff

 

 

TT,

 

If there is a "must have" that you are looking for, Nariichi-san of Model Trains Plus provides a search service.

 

Mark

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tt0880

Hey everyone!

 

First update in a while, and I wish it was a better one. I've been so excited about Japanese railroading and model trains in general lately (and my bank account certainly reflects it!) but sadly I'm at a complete standstill when it comes to my home layout.

 

So, this is an S.O.S. I've been unable to decide exactly how I want to proceed with the layout, and until I make a decision, I'm not running trains. So, I cleaned up everything off of the table except track and I'm going to make sure I get this done so I can get wiring done, run trains, and just have fun. Here are some pictures of what I'm working with:

large.layoutupdate1.jpg.6a0b95ee0b6310556c7d010a6437fd3d.jpglarge.layoutupdate5.jpg.6d51f3bb184f3e0b7b4c767521dc5116.jpg

 

So, essentially, an upper viaduct loop for shinkansen, one that connects to the bottom track, and a loop around the entire thing on the bottom. I'm happy with this so far, but the middle of it all and the inside track on the bottom are what's giving me trouble.

 

What I'd really like to do, is have my Kato Unitram set expanded so the entire inside of the loop is city. I even bought some  Unitram extenders to help accomplish this,  but you'll quickly see the problem I run into:

large.layoutupdate3.jpg.4376f399737fa8f4b25994a64bd7a16c.jpglarge.layoutupdate4.jpg.af09b521843245d3661a9e314e8b2c1a.jpg

The viaduct loop is not wide enough to support the unitram on the inside of it, which really bums me out. The supports for the viaduct track would cut into the street plates. I also tried orienting the unitram loop vertically instead, but I don't know how I could expand that to take up the whole oval, because all pieces of unitram track that I have found expect a horizontal oval.

 

So, as pathetic as it sounds, does anyone have any ideas of how I can maximize this space and get it to work? I was thinking of curving the shinkansen loop outwards by buying some more curved tracks so I would have space to put street plates on the side that doesn't have the station, but I'm not sure how well that would work. 

 

Once I have this problem figured out, I want to look at ideas for the inner track on the lower level, but that will come with time :)

 

Thank you so so so much, everyone! 

 

(I know this was a wall of text, so let me know if this was super unclear)

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cteno4

You could push the viaduct out to the edge there bay adding 124 or 186 sections innthe middle of the 180 curves

 

hard to get it all, Murphy says there always needs to be more layout room...

 

jeff

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tt0880
30 minutes ago, cteno4 said:

You could push the viaduct out to the edge there bay adding 124 or 186 sections innthe middle of the 180 curves

 

hard to get it all, Murphy says there always needs to be more layout room...

 

jeff

Super good idea, actually... Would I have enough room to run the outer track under the viaducts, though?

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cteno4

Tt,

 

not sure, but easy to experiment on your set up there, just split the curves in the middle and fit the biggest piece of unitrak (regular single tack will work fine just to get spacing) between the two 90 degree sections that will allow the viaduct to go right up to the edge of your table there, then experiment what will fit with the unitrak in the middle. Unitram does take up a pretty wide chunk with buildings on the outside, so it’s going to be tight fitting it w.in a double viaduct loop, even a widened one. Going deeper with your table width will mean getting access to thenback side of the layout as usually about 3’ is as deep as you can effectively reach to do stuff on the backside of the layout.

 

nice thing about your situation is it looks like you have enough track to just fiddle some to see what you can work in from your list or wants and needs. You can do this with track planning software, but many times it’s faster and a bit more easy to grok doing it on the table with track and just looking at it for a while and even running a train on it. Also track planning software you work on looking from above straight down usually and we don’t look at our layouts that way,mouths from various oblique angles so that can change things. Some track design programs let you rotate layouts in 3d to get s more real view, but it’s still not the same as seeing it with your own eyes and plunking down a few buildings as thus really speaks directly to your brain, not it having to evaluate a virtual view.

 

cheers

 

jeff

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tt0880

Happy, happy day!

 

Well, I finally mustered up the guts to drill a hole and just do something with my layout. Ever since then, I've been a lot more confident about the direction I want to go in. I'm trying to do a lot with just my simple 4x8 table and I am very excited with the results. So, I present to you, my layout! You'll barely recognize the thing!large.IMG_20180208_221942366.jpg.f72f59e7b2addf1b4b4abb2b61740d06.jpg

Here's what you see as soon as you walk into the train room. You'll notice a few things. Yes, the upper loop of elevated track isn't connected, I'll have to play with that a bit to get that how I want it, and that will probably involve a trip to my local train store :) But now the layout is, essentially, 3 loops. Yes, a bit boring, but hey, it's my first layout ever and with limited space. When I eventually move to a house (instead of a condo) later in life I'll have more room for a more exciting layout, but I've come to peace with what this is now and I'm pretty dang happy with it. Here are some more pics:

large.IMG_20180208_222223555.jpg.efe214b50c1b9184cad087fd21598ae6.jpg

This is the best attempt I had for an overview of the entire layout. You'll see it is going to be completely urban. Yes, the station area road plates don't match up with my Unitram roadplates, but I will have to make do. Even if it's not perfect, it's mine!  (You'll notice no wires coming out of the tram tracks... That's because they're actually under the table! 

large.IMG_20180208_222135261.jpg.e19ecd30a69ab3c974a52befd4fc105b.jpg

Another shot from the side. You'll see where the upper track can meet the bottom. It's a real tight squeeze and I'll probably have to change it a bit, but that's okay.

large.IMG_20180208_222107099.jpg.624af1108a1b769336200b7292eacda8.jpg

View from behind the main station. I have many more buildings, but I haven't put them on yet while I finalize everything.

 

large.IMG_20180208_222126224.jpg.64f71e475eb0db905c48ead953c35028.jpg

Yet another side shot! 

large.IMG_20180208_222026248.jpg.c89efc5b497e6f8dfc860552d91f42a8.jpg

And one last overhead view, just not as wide.

 

So here we are! The great part about getting all of these parts now is that I will easily be able to add them to my next layout in the future, as I can just pack them up and put them back on. But for now, I plan to do everything I can with this layout and I am having a blast.

 

Thoughts, comments? I know there are probably some easy modifications I could make to make it even better. And also, has anyone had experience meshing unitram road plates and the old diotown ones? I think it looks okay as is, so I wouldn't be heartbroken, but I am curious.

 

Thanks for joining me on this fun adventure, this community is so great.

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