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to2leo

Kato Tram & Unitram - Preorder

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westfalen

They will roll stuff out through the year that is not in the catalog. most of the stuff in the 2010 catalog is stuff that was shipping jan 1 2010. even the unitram and portram which were shipping in 2009 is only in the opening supplement of new stuff, not in their proper catalog places! so maybe some fun surprises to come this year!

 

cheers

 

jeff

I agree. I think Kato keep future Japanese releases under wraps until they are almost ready to order like they do with their US items, there was nothing in the 2009 catalog about the trams coming late that year although they must have been well under development by then. Watching the Kato website and the new items pages of online dealers is probably the best bet.

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IST

Thank you for your complements, I didn't know that Kato releases its products in this way. Other model maker companies has more information about its forthcoming (and also never released...) models in their catalog, like Graham Farish, Fleischmann, etc.

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cteno4

Apparently the Unitrak and portrams were under development for 3 years! it sounds like there is some commitment there into going this direction with products, so hopefully we are in store for some treats this year!

 

Tomix, Kato, greenmax and MA release news of upcoming new models (and re-releases) every 1-3 months. They often make nice little posters of them even for hobby shops to display.

 

Tenorikuma has a nice list of links to the release pages here:

 

http://www.jnsforum.com/index.php/topic,1327.0.html

 

cheers

 

jeff

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cteno4

this was just posted over on the tram group. the train shop Top Hobby Trains has portram and unitram prices a bit below the current japanese street price and you can use domestic shipping (big savings on the unitram as that set costs about $50 to ship, to heavy for SAL cheaper shipping). They have these as Pre-Order prices for a March 2010 release so im thinking this is KatoUSA releasing these in the us!

 

http://www.tophobbytrains.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWSERIES&ManfID=3&SeriesID=383

 

cheers

 

jeff

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to2leo

OMG, the prices here are very competitive with some very famous US hobby shops and Japanese online site.  Thanks for introducing this to us.  I think my wallet will have to go on a diet plan AGAIN!  :cheesy

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Bernard

Jeff - Great find and I never heard of them. What I can't believe is they are located in Staten Island, NY!

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to2leo

Jeff - Great find and I never heard of them. What I can't believe is they are located in Staten Island, NY!

 

Now now.  Staten Island is just as amazing as other boroughs in NYC  :cheesy

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David

It's interesting that they are offering the track package and the trams, but not the track+power pack+tram starter set. It's not like Kato doesn't have North American power packs (in the starter set the power pack comes in the same green box as always, making it easy to substitute). Could it be that the start sets didn't show as much demand as the tram and track seperately (I can understand a lot in Japan already having all the Kato power packs they need)? Or maybe it's the cost to ship the much bigger box (there is a lot of wasted space in that box when compared to shipping the components seperately).

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to2leo

I got the starter set from Japan with Tram, Tracks and Transformer in it.  The transformer is rated at 100V vs. N. America 110V.  So I really don't see why can't Kato simply switch the plug and sell it to N. America or Europe.

 

I guess judging from their POV, there is no market in n scale tram o/s of Japan.  Come to think of it, the only n scale tram that I can think of in Canada and US are the toy-like Bachmann PCC and trolley.  In Europe, there are only the Kato's Hanover tram and the Hodl's Siemens Combino.

 

However, if the sudden focus into tram attracts an increase into the hobby in Japan, there just might be a Japanese market for foreign trams. 

 

I can image Tomytec will start first with the 'trams of the world' series.  What comes to mind are Hong Kong, San Francisco, Amsterdam, Melbourne and Madrid.

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disturbman

I can see why for Honk Kong & San Francisco but not for the other ones. The trams in Amsterdam don't have any landmark value. And Melbourne and Madrid?!  ???

 

If they start manufacturing trams from abroad they are going to have a lot to do. Their is so many of them. I was thinking that we are maybe going to see Tomytec release all the modern trams of Japan. There is allready more to do here than just the Portrams.

 

Anyway these new trams system are perfeft for urban t-tracks module and I think that was the market they were targeting. But, clearly, the trams are having a great effect on the hobby... here, in this forum. Everybody or allmost everybody are so fond of them.

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to2leo

Yeah, I am quite surprise too!  I thought it will be a small thing since a lot of the members did not grow up with trams, streetcars, LRT or LRV.  At least in N. America or Australia.

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bill937ca

I can image Tomytec will start first with the 'trams of the world' series.  What comes to mind are Hong Kong, San Francisco, Amsterdam, Melbourne and Madrid.

 

Why?  The Japanese tend to see themselves as the center of the  universe.  Tomytec hasn't even covered their own heritage trams.  Nagasaki alone has cars from Oji Electric Railway, Tokyo, Sendai, Fukuoka and Kumamoto. Kochi has cars from Portugal and  Norway among others.

 

There are other heritage cars in Japan that haven't been covered and with the future of the Hankai Tramway threatened interest in their cars would be heightened in Japan in that line.

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bill937ca

I got the starter set from Japan with Tram, Tracks and Transformer in it.  The transformer is rated at 100V vs. N. America 110V.  So I really don't see why can't Kato simply switch the plug and sell it to N. America or Europe.

 

It's one thing for you to do that.  But for a dealer or distributor to bring a power pack on Japanese voltage they would have to get standards approval (very pricey $$$$$) or risk product liability claims.

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Hobby Dreamer
Come to think of it, the only n scale tram that I can think of in Canada and US are the toy-like Bachmann PCC and trolley.

 

Yipes.....

 

What a difference in quality to Kato/Tomix! I'm grateful everyday for finding this forum at the right time! For a millisecond I considered these Bachmann trams...

 

I suspect that Kato's track will inspire model trams to be made by various companies. Bachmann has already improved their HO scale trams with the release of Peter Witt trams (circa 1920s) in several liveries, and these have sparked interest and additional development in terms of PCC trams (1930s to current). I think trams, in any scale, have failed to take hold because of lack of track. Besides this, the problem that has been ride height (with the N.A. companies) so they always appeared toy-like with not much chance for improvement.

 

To me, model trams are like the Field of Dreams - if you build it they will come!!!

 

I have not been in this hobby long enough to know but it appears that no other releases have sparked as much interest as the Kato/Tomix trams/tracks.

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bill937ca

Before Kato/Tomix/Modemo do foreign trams they should Beer Trams or Decorated Trams, both of which are Japanese.  :grin :blob6:

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westfalen

Something I don't think anyone's touched on yet. If Kato are selling the Unitram sets in the U.S. will the road markings still be set up for driving on the left?

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to2leo

That's a good observation Westfalen, Kato did not actually market the Unitram system in N. America and Europe.  I haven't try it but I wonder if the road part of the system can be flipped to address the difference in driving position.

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bill937ca

That's a good observation Westfalen, Kato did not actually market the Unitram system in N. America and Europe.  I haven't try it but I wonder if the road part of the system can be flipped to address the difference in driving position.

 

 

Apparently it was announced by Kato USA last Friday.  Its not on their web site, but more than one dealer is taking reservations.  I suspect it hasn't been because road plates sold over here have the Japanese markings.

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bill937ca

 

I guess judging from their POV, there is no market in n scale tram o/s of Japan.  Come to think of it, the only n scale tram that I can think of in Canada and US are the toy-like Bachmann PCC and trolley.  In Europe, there are only the Kato's Hanover tram and the Hodl's Siemens Combino.

 

However, if the sudden focus into tram attracts an increase into the hobby in Japan, there just might be a Japanese market for foreign trams.  

 

I can image Tomytec will start first with the 'trams of the world' series.  What comes to mind are Hong Kong, San Francisco, Amsterdam, Melbourne and Madrid.

 

There are some N scale interurbans and streetcars available from Miniatures by Eric. You might also want to look at the HO trolleys. He has a Milan Peter Witt in HO and a Birney.  If you ask him he might do them in N scale.

 

http://www.miniaturesbyeric.com/itmidx2.htm

 

http://www.miniaturesbyeric.com/catalog.htm

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marknewton
...In Europe, there are only the Kato's Hanover tram and the Hodl's Siemens Combino...

 

Hödl also make a KSW motor and trailer set in N scale, and Z as well!

 

Cheers,

 

Mark.

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marknewton
I can see why for Honk Kong & San Francisco but not for the other ones. The trams in Amsterdam don't have any landmark value. And Melbourne and Madrid?

 

Vincent, I don't have any opinions about Madrid trams, but Melbourne trams definitely have "landmark value".  :grin

 

Apart from them appearing in just about every tourist promotion for Victoria imaginable, Melbourne tramcars also run in Sydney, Bendigo, Adelaide and Perth. Going further afield, there's Melbourne cars in running in New Zealand, the USA, and even Denmark! They're truly international trams.

 

(And among hard-core tramway fans, Amsterdam trams have a dedicated following. I love 'em!  :cheesy )

 

All the best,

 

Mark.

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marknewton
There are some N scale interurbans and streetcars available from Miniatures by Eric.

 

Good stuff! Thanks for posting those links, Bill.

 

Cheers,

 

Mark.

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marknewton
Yeah, I am quite surprise too!  I thought it will be a small thing since a lot of the members did not grow up with trams, streetcars, LRT or LRV.  At least in N. America or Australia.

 

I think there'd be a number of Australian members who grew up with trams. Melbourne has always had them, Adelaide retained the Glenelg line after the rest of the system closed, and Brisbane didn't close until 1969. As for Sydney, closure was in 1961, but the Sydney Tramway Museum opened in 1964, so even I've managed to grow up with them. And that explains a lot!  :grin

 

All the best,

 

Mark.

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to2leo

 

I think there'd be a number of Australian members who grew up with trams. Melbourne has always had them, Adelaide retained the Glenelg line after the rest of the system closed, and Brisbane didn't close until 1969. As for Sydney, closure was in 1961, but the Sydney Tramway Museum opened in 1964, so even I've managed to grow up with them. And that explains a lot!   :grin

 

All the best,

 

Mark.

 

That's why I included the Melbourne trams in knowing they are everywhere and captured many people's interest.

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to2leo

News Flash, Kato USA has made Unitram products available in N. America.

http://www.wig-wag-trains.com/KatoPages/Passenger/Unitram_page.dwt

 

V50 is selling for USD$152.00

Trams is selling for USD$100.00

 

I wonder if my enthusiasm talking with the Kato personnel at Kato HQ in Tokyo has anything to do with it ~ :cheesy

 

Seriously, I hope this is a step going into the LRT direction!

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