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James-SNMB

Some Unitram and Wide Tram Questions

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James-SNMB

I had long been daydreaming about a getting a couple of colourful Kato portrams, and was pretty happy yesterday when I found one at a local store. I had been starting to think I had waited too long since it seems like the online supply of these trams has almost run dry, save for ebay where the few remaining have had the prices inflated somewhat. But I got one now for a good price, so that's the good news.

 

However, now I can't help but start pre-planning my tram layout. Realistically, I'm still a couple of years away from getting going on that portion, but I like to think way ahead. (Sometimes I think that's my favourite part of the hobby). I'm aware of the Kato Unitram and Tomytec Wide Tram offerings and I think I'm mostly aware of the advantages and limitations of each system, but I had a couple of questions:

 

1) Kato Unitram - Can the small portion of the street plate on the curved tracks be easily removed?

I think you probably understand what I'm referring to. It's the outside corner road plate piece on each curve piece you can buy: https://www.1999.co.jp/eng/10188994. I'm not interested in using the Kato road plates, so I'd prefer it to be gone. I had read other posts that suggested there were screws on the back of the Unitram pieces that allowed for disassembly, but after inspecting a piece at the local hobby shop, it didn't look to me like this road corner would just pop off. It looked fairly integral to the base of the track piece. Does anyone know if that piece can be removed without major surgery?

 

2) Tomytec Wide Tram - Can the road insert pieces by separated/removed from the track?

My thinking here is that I vastly prefer the narrower 25mm separation on the Kato track, but I also prefer the tighter curves offered by Tomytec. I guess I can cut the tomytec wide tram track narrower, and I've read there is a cut location pre-marked (not sure for what separation) but things are going to get trickier at the curves. If I can remove the inserts easily, I can just make my own pieces to go between the tracks. I can also use the inserts as templates to make my own out of cobblestone sheet, or whatever, for a varied appearance. This is decidedly a more involved path regardless, so I'll have to decide if I'm up for it. I know it was previously possible to buy the inserts separately for fine track pieces, but that no longer appears to  be the case.

 

Ultimately I may pick Kato or Tomytec, or mix them together. It's all TBD, but your insights are greatly appreciated to help my never-ending planning before I start spending actual money.

 

(I'm new, and not sure if maybe I should post this in the track systems sub forum, but I figured I'd start here.)

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bill937ca

Regarding the corner piece nothing is impossible, but I think it would be difficult. I believe those screws  on the underside give access to the rail cavity. I suspect the base moulding is one piece. I have never tried to remove the back.

 

 

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IMG_7983 1024 x 768.jpg

Edited by bill937ca
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bill937ca

For what it is worth here is my 2' x  3' Euro tram layout built on a garage shelf unit. The corners don't bother me as I don't look at them.  The track plan is simple and reliable.I have sanded the Japanese road markings off.  But  a layout like this does take a lot of accessories.  There are 15 buildings on the small layout, lots of cars, figures (most to come) and other details. It sits in my living room by my easy chairs.

 

I find Unitram works best in a small layout and this may be what Kato intended.

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IMG_7982 1024 x 768 cropped.jpg

Edited by bill937ca
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keiichi77

You could always cut the road part off,  I turned several Unitram 4 lane roads into 2 lane roads.
It cuts pretty easy with a sharp blade, Olfa of course 😉

 

As for the Tomix Wide Tram track the sections are all one piece, so you would have to cut them to get 25mm track centers. I haven't cut these myself but they are made of thin plastic compared to the Unitram plates so they should cut easily, keep in mind though, if you cut them you will be removing the clips to connect two parallel sections together.

 

 

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James-SNMB
21 hours ago, bill937ca said:

Regarding the corner piece nothing is impossible, but I think it would be difficult. I believe those screws  on the underside give access to the rail cavity. I suspect the base moulding is one piece. I have never tried to remove the back.

 

 

Thanks for the photo Bill, and you've confirmed what I suspected. I also found this thread here (http://www.jnsforum.com/community/topic/9196-unitram-track-bash/) where Velotrain has removed the screws and taken the pieces out on a straight section of track, and it is appears to be just as you say, for access to the rail cavity only. The portions outside of the rail did not come off, so I think I can expect it to be the same situation on a curve. So your eyes, my eyes, and this post suggest that road corner is attached. That's confirmation enough for me.

 

Quote

The corners don't bother me as I don't look at them.  The track plan is simple and reliable.I have sanded the Japanese road markings off. 

 

I'm so glad you shared your secret! I had gone through your thread earlier this week and noticed that there were no markings on the corner pieces. I thought maybe you had painted them and just done a super job of colour matching. I never would have thought to sand them! It turned out beautifully for you, and it looks like the plastic is cast in a nice uniform colour all the way through to help make that work out. I will definitely keep this on file as a good option.

 

Also, I really enjoy your layout thread. It gives me ideas about what could be done to make a cool urban layout without other mainline tracks/trains taking away space. I'll probably go through your thread again for more tips/inspiration, and I'll be following closely. Looking forward to the next update!

 

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James-SNMB
14 hours ago, keiichi77 said:

You could always cut the road part off,  I turned several Unitram 4 lane roads into 2 lane roads.
It cuts pretty easy with a sharp blade, Olfa of course 😉

 

As for the Tomix Wide Tram track the sections are all one piece, so you would have to cut them to get 25mm track centers. I haven't cut these myself but they are made of thin plastic compared to the Unitram plates so they should cut easily, keep in mind though, if you cut them you will be removing the clips to connect two parallel sections together.

 

Awesome! It's very reassuring to hear from someone who's already tackled a similar issue with success. That'll give me some confidence to pull out the knife if I choose to go that route. For me, one of the drawbacks of the street plates is that they do seem quite wide, and I'd really like to have a more dense looking scene. So I think we're on the same page there, and you've found a good solution.

 

Thanks for confirming the wide tram track will not be coming apart without a knife. I was not aware that there were clips to join parallel sections, but I guess that would just mean a little more care/glue/putty to make everything look nice and flush.

 

Between your response and Bill's, that answers what I needed to know. Both options will take a bit of work to achieve what I want, so I can go away and think on it for a bit before I spend some money. At least I have some idea of what I'm in for with either system.

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