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Martijn Meerts

Tram track configurations

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Martijn Meerts

Tomix tram track is so right for modeling Enoden's short street running single track section, I sometimes wonder if that was the entire motivation behind bringing the tram track out.

 

That is very possible. Judging by the tram track accessory kits at least. In 1 kit you only get enough pieces to cover up 1 turnout. The straight and curved pieces fit just fine and cover up the tracks quite nicely.

 

I do wonder what their new tram track accessory kit(s) will be like though. We've seen a little of it, and it's very modular. But I do wonder if they'll be using the same system for the turnouts as the current kits, or if they're going for some closer track spacing options as well.

 

While nowhere near Japan, I've traveled a fair bit on trams in Oslo. They seem to have mixed pretty much everything you can image there. Double track, single track, return loops, terminal stations, tracks right next to each others, tracks far enough apart to allow for another tram to fit in between, various different types of tracks through the street, strange turnout configurations etc.. I guess you can get away with a lot of things ;)

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bill937ca

If you look carefully there are two items coming.  One is 3079 which will be comprised of the same pieces as the existing 3076 but with a different finish.  There must be a reason why they are doing this.  Presumably their Japanese market is satisfied with the existing product.

 

The second product is the modular tram track which judging by the sample we saw has a track number (1790 I think-without checking).  That track is part of motorized bus product. The modular track has reignited my interest in building a separate tram layout.  Separate because I want my trams up close, not in the center of a larger layout. The modular track has a S70 which is a new length. Sometime this year I hope.   :grin

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bill937ca

 

 

While nowhere near Japan, I've traveled a fair bit on trams in Oslo. They seem to have mixed pretty much everything you can image there. Double track, single track, return loops, terminal stations, tracks right next to each others, tracks far enough apart to allow for another tram to fit in between, various different types of tracks through the street, strange turnout configurations etc.. I guess you can get away with a lot of things ;)

 

There is an Olso tram in Japan on the Tosa Electric Railway in Kochi as part of a collection of foreign trams for special occasions.

 

001b.jpg

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Mudkip Orange

One is 3079 which will be comprised of the same pieces as the existing 3076 but with a different finish.  There must be a reason why they are doing this.

 

Since the tram inserts are just big pieces of plastic molded in a single color (NOT expensive), it would make sense that they'd eventually release different editions to match different tram lines (i.e. cobblestone, fieldstone, smooth concrete, etc)

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Hobby Dreamer
That easystreet stuff looks amazing, but I don't see how it would "work" in N-scale. Obviously you can lay the track with 9mm spacing, but wouldn't the track look far too big?

 

I was surprised that the developer claimed it was used successfully in N for the reason you sight but it would be easy to tape 1/2 of the top surface and paint the other to match the pavement made out of Spackle, or plastic, card etc. It would not be perfect but may offer some interesting variation in the layout.

 

When I look at model trains or trams or images/videos of the prototypes its things like turnouts, trains passing each other etc that I enjoy most. There are other aspects such as the high speed trains stirring up dust/snow that cannot be created in scale. And then there are curves and wiggles in the track, bridges etc that provide some interest.

 

The wiring part would scare me but one can always make a complicated intersection where the trams can only go one way, thus avoiding the complication yet yielding a cool looking track configuration. A lot of British layouts have  trains running east-west but a bit of track going north-south into a wall or towards the viewer.

 

Here is page of photos of easystreet with self-made (not mine) cobbles

http://www.proto87.com/bronx-terminal-comparisons.html

 

Here is another form a German site - ya gotta love that first picture - the guys is an artist or even an artiste!

http://www.modelltram.de/seite4a.htm'>http://www.modelltram.de/seite4a.htm

 

The second picture is what inspires tram barns.....Even if the wiring was not perfect and only one track worked the rest looks pretty cool!!

 

Its 2:00am and I just wolfed down way too much sugar but the http://www.modelltram.de

site is amazing!!! (If you like trams or appreciate skilled modelers..) Some of the track is easystreet but the rest is Orr Track (called Swede track as Richard Orr no longer make the track).  The Orr track turnouts are pre-made in HO but the rails can be bought but are not as nice as easystreet in look or scale..

 

Once my pancreas is back to normal I would be pleased to search that site and translate it, if there is interest... They discuss a lot about trams and track that is no longer made (all HO) and it was the site that gave me tram hope before Kato came along...

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Martijn Meerts

I should continue my diorama with the elevated station and tram track running below it. I bought 2 Tomix tram track accessory kits for that. Nothing special really, no turnouts or anything, but a good test to say what I can do with the tram accessory kits.

 

One major problem with those accessory kits is that they're fairly expensive, you definitely don't want to build a tram layout with large bits of paved track ;)

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bill937ca

 

Here is another form a German site - ya gotta love that first picture - the guys is an artist or even an artiste!

http://www.modelltram.de/seite4a.htm'>http://www.modelltram.de/seite4a.htm

 

The second picture is what inspires tram barns.....Even if the wiring was not perfect and only one track worked the rest looks pretty cool!!

 

Its 2:00am and I just wolfed down way too much sugar but the http://www.modelltram.de

site is amazing!!! (If you like trams or appreciate skilled modelers..) Some of the track is easystreet but the rest is Orr Track (called Swede track as Richard Orr no longer make the track).  The Orr track turnouts are pre-made in HO but the rails can be bought but are not as nice as easystreet in look or scale..

 

 

Tram barns like that are large and expensive.  It takes a lot of space, a lot of switches and a lot of soldering for the track and the overhead.  Orr track is only designed to be used on a layout with soldered track.  I know I started out with Orr track.  You also have to bend the track with the roller device shown.  Orr track apart from switches and crossover is just long straight pieces. You find and supply the electrical connection and the brass ties needed to complete the circuit. It gets costly for a small simple layout.

 

Custom Traxx holds the rights to Orr track now.  Everything is HO.  http://www.customtraxx.com/

 

http://www.trolleyville.com/customtraxx/V-Other/V-Other.html

 

There are instructions for using Orr track here.

 

http://www.trolleyville.com/school.shtml

 

This stuff is time consuming and complicated.  You will need a fair investment in tools also that's not needed with Japanese trams.  Also you will need benchwork and will probably have to drill every trolley pole through the benchwork.  Hope you are not in an apartment.

 

There' also Tramalan in the UK.

 

http://www.modeltrams.co.uk/trackwork.htm

 

Also note some of the European kits use white metal castings which have been outlawed by the EU because of health concerns.

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Martijn Meerts

For the adventurous, here's a VERY detailed tutorial on how to make your own turnouts in N-scale. There's 58 or so episodes of around 5 minutes each ;)

 

 

 

The guy actually has a big US layout, and quite a few tutorials on his youtube page. Lots of stuff about scenery and everything as well.

 

http://www.youtube.com/user/thebige61

 

 

Best thing is, he doesn't consider himself a pro, so he's not all high and mighty, nor does he use overly expensive tools etc =)

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Hobby Dreamer

Thanks Martijn for the link.. Nothing beats a video for helping to learn..

 

Tram barns like that are large and expensive.

 

Don't think I agree at all!! At best its relative. A huge tram barn could be made out of 4 Kato long engine house kits that would cost well under $60 US and not take up that much space and one could always make a structure out of card stock.

 

As for space, the current Kato tram track (and all ovals) leave a lot of dead space in the middle so its not like one has to buy a new table to add a structure. The problem is getting off the oval to a tram barn or to another street etc in the form of turnouts.

 

We have all been getting a bit off topic discussing HO track but there appears to be a consensus that we all want more tram track variety than what is now offered from Kato. A lot of us here have bought trams and are "itchy" to start building now, which inevitably leads to compromises such as using a variety of track from different vendors, hand laid track, using mixed materials such as Spackle (to transform rail track to street track) or exploring track from other scales.

 

Its pretty clear that Kato will be releasing a double turnout and double crossover and Tomix looks to be releasing track with several radii that can also be used in single, double or triple track. Tomix has released a turnout with their previous tram track cover so it may be they will do something similar. But some may want more flexibility so it make sense to explore our options. And who knows when these will be released?

 

Coal Car Track: I seem to recall 2 HO manufacturers made coal car track in N scale. I think one was Roco but I believe it was a static display in plastic so could not operate. The other (don't know if it was metal or not) had a turnout and a very tight curve.

 

Anybody remember this?

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Welshbloke

Tram track always reminds me of the layouts we all designed as kids - the ones where track went in all directions, curves were stupidly tight, and the result looked like mad spaghetti!

 

On a serious note, did you know that there have been tramway systems without overhead wires? London operated a conduit-powered system for decades as it was felt that wires would look ugly in the centre, and I have a handful of OO scale model trams of that system that I converted from Corgi diecast models and Tower Trams plastic kits. Three are motorised, unfortunately it no longer seems possible to obtain the power bogies.

 

I would look at using a Euro/Japanese tram to power them but the bogies are usually too far apart. The London trams (in common with many British designs) had the bogies pretty much back to back with short wheelbases and small wheels. In model form this runs surprisingly well - both bogies are powered on one axle and wired together, combined with a heavy diecast tram body (or well-ballasted plastic one) it growls along reliably enough.

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disturbman
On a serious note, did you know that there have been tramway systems without overhead wires?

 

Do you know that there is some modern tramway system without overhead wires. The old version, like seen in London or Paris, with some sort of underground third rail was crap and very unreliable.

 

Today, Alstom designed a third rail pick up called the APS (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ground-level_power_supply). It had several problems at first but it seems to work just fine nowadays.

 

Tramway can also be equiped with on-board batteries for use on small stretches without overhead wires, like in Nice or Marseille.

 

The next level will be a tramway that could run without overhead wires or ground level electrical supply. It will be equiped with supra-conductors and be power up at stations. I don't if it will ever come true, but research is under way.

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Martijn Meerts

Hi!

this guy sell track for tram in N and Nm scale

http://www.finescale-und-mehr.de/Trambahngleis.html

 

ciao

Massimo

 

 

That is actually quite interesting, might be worth a try at some point. The regular track is interesting as well, you could make some really good looking tram layouts with it, although code 40 could prove to be a problem ;)

 

Also interesting is that it's a woman who's making all those things =)

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bill937ca

Here's another example of a wide Japanese tram track center.  This is on the Fukui Railway which still operates but with a modernized fleet.  This type of equipment has frequently been included in Tomytec Railway Collection releases.  Wide track centers are a fact of life with 3'6" track.  Los Angeles streetcars which were  the same gauge were also known for wide track centers.  You really only see it in  head end photos.

 

e44f598c51358a1236fad8f63ffb02b8.jpg

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Martijn Meerts

The trams in the prototype are twice as wide as the track though, which means that the trams look close together. In the model version, the trams aren't all that much wider than the track itself, so the gap between the trams is fairly wide, which makes the gap between the track look wider than it actually is.

 

It's not really a problem, much of it is personal preference, but I really like it when trains and trams pass each other with only a small gap between them. However, if it's just too much of a hassle to get such a small gap, I'm perfectly fine with a bigger gap ;)

 

That said, I've always been interested in hand laying track and turnouts, and maybe a modular, museum quality Japanese tram layout is just the thing. On the other hand, the Modemo trams have clearly visible motors, so the question is how much time you want to spend in making everything look realistic, and then have motors visible through the windows of the rolling stock =)

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Welshbloke

wires?

 

Do you know that there is some modern tramway system without overhead wires. The old version, like seen in London or Paris, with some sort of underground third rail was crap and very unreliable.

 

 

Not very fair - the conduit system used in London worked very well providing it was properly maintained. It did require more work than conventional overhead wires but I don't think breakdowns were any more common than on a major city tram network using overhead wiring.

 

It was actually more like an underground 3rd and 4th rail. A conduit between the running rails carried both live feed and return, trams had a wooden "plow" that hung down into the slot with copper contacts to pick up from the power feed and return. Obviously it was at risk from debris finding its way into the slot, but the heavy usage of the system tended to keep it working properly. I know most of the problems I've read about were with individual trams rather than the system itself.

 

There was a rather more unreliable system using metal contact plates between the rails that were supposed to be made live as a tram passed, then go dead again after. The slight problem was that if maintenance wasn't kept up then the mechanism would often keep the plate live...

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disturbman

Thanks for the explanation. I allways heard that those system were totally useless once it rained and I also heard that debris were quite problematic. Maybe the Parisian version of this was worse than the Londonian.

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Mudkip Orange

DC once had an extensive conduit streetcar system (can't have overhead wires fouling the views of all those federal buildings), and it was very reliable even in ice and snow. Other systems got dismantled in the 40's and 50's, DC had an all-PCC fleet that lasted up until 1962. They even had short, German-style "subways" under major intersections. IIRC there's still a couple of platforms buried underneath Dupont Circle.

post-161-13569924060537_thumb.jpg

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marknewton
Thanks for the explanation. I allways heard that those system were totally useless once it rained and I also heard that debris were quite problematic. Maybe the Parisian version of this was worse than the Londonian.

 

Vincent, the conduit system in Paris was essentially identical to that used in London, and Nice for that matter - all the equipment was from the one manufacturer. It was quite reliable, providing it was operated and maintained properly.

 

All the best,

 

Mark.

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Martijn Meerts

Martin, here's a module similar to your idea. It's a figure eight streetcar line where one of the reversing loops ducks under a railway line.  Photos in these blogs were taken at the 2009 Matsuya Ginza model train show in Tokyo.

 

http://tetumo-dcc06.at.webry.info/200907/article_13.html

 

http://casco.blog.so-net.ne.jp/2009-07-23-2

 

 

 

Some really nice pictures there. Looks like they've custom built a couple of track pieces though. 2nd picture from the top for example, you can see the 2 parallel turnouts and the crossing. 1 line of the crossing is straight, while the other is curved. A sectional track piece like that doesn't exist ;)

 

Also, I doubt those turnouts are operational, but since the straight track are all dead ends, they don't have to be.

 

Another interesting bit is the picture in the background, the one placed on top of the viaduct showing the wiring etc. Those 8 white devices to the left look a lot like Lenz DCC items, which would mean the trams are running on DCC.

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bill937ca

 

http://tetumo-dcc06.at.webry.info/200907/article_13.html

 

http://casco.blog.so-net.ne.jp/2009-07-23-2

 

Some really nice pictures there. Looks like they've custom built a couple of track pieces though. 2nd picture from the top for example, you can see the 2 parallel turnouts and the crossing. 1 line of the crossing is straight, while the other is curved. A sectional track piece like that doesn't exist ;)

 

Also, I doubt those turnouts are operational, but since the straight track are all dead ends, they don't have to be.

 

 

Yes that's a very good piece of work.  Before posted the photos, I looked closely to see if the switch curves were fakes where the rail just comes up to the frog.  I've seen turnouts like that in museum layouts sometimes.  Most people won't notice. But someone has gone to the trouble of making a custom casting. Because that is the Matsuya Ginza show which is only open industry exhibitors, I assume this is a professionally built layout.

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Hobby Dreamer
do you know about Eurobahn Ottawa?

 

Thanks Bill,

 

Met Charles in the mid-nineties (in your town of Belleville at the rail show - one of the best shows as you got to see everything for as long as you liked). I was thinking trams back then but this was really before the internet so Eurobahn seemed a better source than the LHS. (I got some N-scale Arnold trams from him).

 

Back then a lot of N scale product looked crappy mostly because one never really saw the good stuff in stores or shows, but Kato viaducts sure stood out!! I liked Kato track in N but the variety of structures, vehicles, figures etc still pointed to HO more than N. I did get some Hartel tram track (they went belly-up) and was certain that was going to be the core of the hobby.

 

So, lack of trams or track, or trams and track at the same time led to frustration and to other hobbies. That is why I seemed so pumped up when Kato/Tomix brought out their offerings in track and trams.

 

I mean, light years ... friggin light years ahead. And their products are something you can be proud of.. I can say as a fact that Arnold trams were the top-drawer of N-scale that you saw in the 1990s but next to Kato/Tomix Portrams they just look a bit pale. And that is not considering the Kato interior and lighting!!!

 

Thankfully I did not buy N-scale Bachmann PCC cars or my posts here would be videos of rail disasters with real flames!!! (But I actually would enjoy that ..  hmmmm...)

 

Thanks for the link...

 

* not 100% European but heading that way.. only because I like the structures and am a bit more familiar with Europe..

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