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Touch Rail? Taiwan N Scale?

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Somehow I came across a video of an N Scale layout featuring a wealth of locomotives that appeared different than any of the Japanese, European or American stuff that I'm accustomed to seeing.  It turns out the trains are from Taiwan and feature (as near as I can tell) Taiwanese prototypes.

http://www.touch-rail.com.tw/

 

The models seem really well done.  In fact, the packaging seems very similar to Japanese standards, which is interesting in terms of where their production is done....

 

I'm somewhat interested in some of their electric locomotives. I found one listing on ebay for an "E200" class that looks kind of cool. 

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=270702496902&ssPageName=ADME:B:SS:US:1123

If these remind you of the short lived E60 models produced by GE in the '70's (probably the last mainline electric locomotive made in the USA, right?) the resemblance is more than just a similarity as the prototypes were indeed produced by GE.

 

Does anyone have any knowledge about these models or Touch Rail?

 

Anyone know of any dealers that sell/ship to the USA?

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I picked up some Touch Rail trains including the electric locomotive at the Taiwan Railway Administration gift shop at Taipei Main Station in 2009, they are well detailed and run fairly good. I don't know where you'd get them outside Taiwan though.

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Hi!

I bought a couple of special/limited sets some years ago from the same seller that sold me the 700T on Ebay (Lifan Wu) but I lost her email after HDD failure (if someone know it...)

The quality is very good, similar to japanese products.

The last set Taroko is very beautifull, with tilting mechanism like Kato Sonic/Kamome, you can find this sometime on Yahoo auction (around 30000JPY)

Another one is Kibu; I bought directly to the factory, on her blog you can find info and email

http://www.wretch.cc/blog/kibu

(I need only the last Daikin version to complete the series), red and green version are very good, I don't like to much the tourism painted type because are only a sticker applied to the cars side (with blind windows).

Kibu used Greenmax chassis for motorized cars

I have only notice about another factory "Formosa Rail" but I've never found more info, only a couple of trains photo..

On Yahoo I also found brass etched kit to "upgrade" japanese steam loco to taiwanese loco (infact is the same loco whit minor difference)

 

ciao

Massimo

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OK, so what would you like to know? Since I model Taiwan N scale as my major interest, I have most of the Touch-Rail models, some Kibu and Ethertrain models, and the Kato 700T Taiwan High Speed rail set, so I think I can give you a fairly reliable evaluation of Taiwan models. I don't have any of the Formosa Rail models, so I can't tell you anything about them.

 

Nothing is regularly imported into the U.S. or Europe, as far as I know, but I have ordered directly from Taiwan with no problems. As Massimo mentioned, I also initially got my models via eBay through Lifan Wu - who also goes by the English name of Victor - and I actually met him and traveled around parts of Taiwan with him in the summer of 2009. He escorted me to several hobby shops is Taipei where I found some interesting stuff! Lifan completed his university course in transportation planning last year and is presently serving his 2-year required military service in the Taiwan army, so he's been a bit hard to reach this past year. I hope to go back to Taiwan next year and will certainly look him up again. I'll also let him know of the interest among members of this forum. He might actually show up at Blackpool, England someday as he is also a rather accomplished tango dancer! (I'll let the Brits on the Forum figure that one out!)

Lifan's email is <benson.secs@gmail.com>. At least, that's the latest one I have for him.

 

Regarding the various models:

The Touch-Rail stuff is excellent quality, comparable to Micro-Ace or even Kato in detail and smooth running. Scale is 1:150, same as Japanese N scale.

The E200 is the General Electric E42-C model, an export version similar to the E60 that Amtrak used here in the U.S.A. Taiwan also has E300 and E400 classes that are virtually the same in outward appearance. Thus, Touch-Rail offers their model with those class numbers as well. If anyone wants the prototype specifications, let me know. I have all that information, albeit some of it is in Mandarin!

The Touch-Rail models have reversing LED head- and taillights, but the pantographs on the electrics and their EMU sets are non-functional: They can be lifted up, but they don't pick up power.

Touch-Rail's passenger coaches and freight rolling stock are also superb. The coaches feature full interiors, close coupling and are already set up for LED lighting sets that Touch-rail has available. One interesting item: They have models of the older blue "ordinary" non-air-conditioned coaches that are the only stock where you can open the windows (on the prototype, not the models!). To allow for more variety in the window arrangements, Touch-Rail sell a set of replacement window strips with the windows in different positions from those in the RTR models. These are easily exchanged and thus offer variety when operating longer trains. All coaches are offered with different car numbers as well and, it seems, they change these when they make a new run. They also do this on the locomotives, so you can have a fleet with different numbers.

 

Massimo mentioned some tourist train models from Kibu that were just done with vinyl overlays. I agree with him that these are not the best quality models. However, Touch-Rail offers an set of the train featuring the images of the Dao tribe who live on the "Orchid Isle" of Lanyu off the southeast coast of Taiwan. The tribe is known for its canoes and these, along with people dressed in native costume, are featured on a very colorful 5-coach "Oriental Beauty" train from Touch-Rail. This is a real tourist train and Touch-Rail have done a superb job reproducing it with pad-printed decoration. It can be properly run with their R100 Diesels or the electric and the Ethertrain power car (see below) can be correctly added to the consist as well!

 

I also got the Kibu push-pull train set that Massimo mentioned. Mine came with a Tomix chassis but, after I filled out the consist to eleven units - two end power cabs plus nine coaches - it couldn't pull the train and burned up the wimpy Tomix motor! I replaced this with a Kato motor, added a bit of weight to the power car, and everything runs very smoothly now - and at a somewhat slower, more prototypical speed!

 

I got the Ethertrain etched brass detail pilot (cowcatcher) sets for my CT270 (Japanese C57) and DT 650 (Japanese D51) models, but haven't yet gotten around to installing them. These are designed for the corresponding Kato models. I understand that there will also be others coming out for the CT150 (Japanese 8620 class, available from Micro-Ace) and DT580 (Japanese 9600).

 

Ethertrain also does some excellent brass models of railcars, passenger stock, freight cars (in May 2011, they released some fantastic models of bogie covered vans!), and even sugar cane cars! These aren't cheap, but the quality is unmatched.

As an example, I've got models of the class 1000 Diesel railcars that operate on several TRA lines in various configurations. I got a 3-unit set to operate on the Pingsi branch that I'm modeling. These models have an underfloor power chassis in the center unit, full, painted interior seats in the end units, crisply done painting, lining and lettering on the stainless steel-painted bodies, and superdetailed etches for all the "machinery" on the roofs. The set also has close coupling. When I ordered them, they asked what car numbers I wanted! So, I was able to choose the exact ones that run on the line I'm modeling! Now, THAT's customer service!

Ethertrain also have the power car to match the Touch-rail Chu Kuang orange and cream coaches, though the orange paint on mine was a somewhat lighter hue than Touch-rail's. But, then, when I visited Taiwan, I noted that the prototype had some variation as well! Orange and red are not stable colors in the tropical sun!

 

Tracking down structures is somewhat challenging. There is (was?) a company called Arthur Models that offered cast resin models of the Taipei North gate (I got it!), a Taiwan traditional house, and the Hsinchu station (Taiwan's oldest). However, when I found these in a small specialist shop in Taipei, they would only sell me the city gate, saying that the others were no longer available and that they wanted to keep those they had on display in the shop window. However, I've since seen that the company has shown additional models on the <wretch> website that Massimo noted, so I'll keep trying. They really are rather nice, highly detailed models.

 

There are quite a few videos on YouTube showing Taiwan model railway layouts. Several, such as "Railway Model Movie " and some from the Taipei N scale club, "xn model railroader club", of their exhibition layouts, are well done. Others, by a Mr. Kim, are videos of his personal layout. One of these includes a repowered Del Prado Chinese DF4D "Chairman Mao" Diesel model that he powered with an American Kato SD40 chassis. I'm doing this as well - a rather easy conversion, as the chassis is spot-on in wheelbase and bogie length and easily fits inside the Del Prado body. I'm also investigating Del Prado's Shao Shan Bo-Bo electric that I think will fit on a small American or European Diesel chassis.

 

Besides ordering from Lifan, or directly from the makers, there are some hobby shops in Taipei that might be able to accommodate overseas orders.  I have a short list of shops, if anyone wants it. One of them, M. J. Model Railroad, is a railway model specialist. The owner, Heng-Li Lin, who is a member of the xn club, speaks English and has relatives here in California, so would probably be quite capable of supplying models. I visited his shop in 2009 and he has since moved to a larger location, so he seems to be doing well. His own personal interest is Shay locomotives. Website: <http://www.mjmodelrailroad.com>

 

So, all in all, I'm finding Taiwan N scale to be a satisfying pursuit. I just had a very well received outing of the AsiaNRail modular layout at the national convention of the NMRA in Sacramento in July. This included the first showing of my Shihfen Taiwanese modules. I've really got to get my act together and post some photos for you all, so, keep prodding me, if you're interested! And please do ask about anything for which you'd like to have more details.

 

- Paul Ingraham

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Wow Paul! Thanks for all the great information!  I think I'm primarily interested in any of the versions of the C42 electrics....I don't suppose they are DCC ready by any chance?

 

I actually got clued onto the Taiwan N Scale scene through the YouTube video you mentioned as well.  In fact, here it is for those who are interested:

 

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No, I'm afraid that, like most Japanese N scale (except some of the newest Kato [since they have a deal with Digitrax]), the Taiwan N scale isn't DCC equipped or ready - at least not yet. However, some of the xn-club members have converted models to DCC, some even using the new super small sound decoders. I think there might be some photos showing step-by-step postings on how they did this somewhere on the <wretch> blog, but I can't tell you exactly where to look and neither xn's nor Ethertrain's photo albums are categorized for easy access. You just have to jump in and surf them - which will turn up some interesting things for you anyway!

 

DCC conversions should be fairly straightforward on the EMU and DMU sets, as there's plenty of space inside for the decoder. The electrics are fairly large as well - rather like a North American SD-7/9 unit - so they should be doable, although space is limited. The R100 Diesels are like GP-9's in size so space could likely be made in them as well.

 

As for steam, all the prototypes are Japanese, so, if you can find information on converting the corresponding Kato or Micro-Ace models, it would be the exact same procedure for the Taiwan ones.

 

I haven't gone DCC myself because I'm modeling the little 12.9 KM Pingsi branchline and I usually operate "one engine in steam". If I do have a second loco or the Diesel railcars operating, I just park one engine behind a turnout (I use Peco code 55 track [or handlaid 55 in some configurations] with live frog turnouts, so this is easy), make the meet or pass, and send one or the other train into the next block. The Pingsi branchline still operates on the token system and I'm working on a system to replicate that kind of working on my modules.

 

If you're thinking about doing any coupler conversions, I do have a step-by-step photo clinic on how to put Micro-Trains couplers on the R100 Diesel. One of the xn-club members posted it on the xn-blog site and I copied off the photos. I just need to add some simple captions, but, even without them, it's pretty easy to follow. The E42 electric is similar.

I like Micro-Trains couplers because I do a lot of switching operations, but I keep the very reliable Touch-Rail couplers within my passenger consists and just change the end couplers of the set. EMU/DMU stock doesn't get changed.

The Touch-Rail engines and rolling stock all come equipped with their proprietary coupler installed, but also with a Rapido in the box that can be substituted, if you prefer those. The Rapidos for the passenger cars are designed to maintain the close coupling function as well, although "close" with Rapidos is a matter of opinion.

 

- Paul

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Their products are ok compare with Kato/tomix/ma, but motor is not. E200 is not dcc friendly, and almost no space for decoder. I made one, but it's not running well. It's also expensive because the market. Btw, the passagers car used their owned coupler or rapid coupler.

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Thanks Foxhsu!  Its funny how really difficult it is to find TouchRail  (outside of Taiwan apparently).  I've had success finding (though I haven't purchased much) trains from just about everywhere, but Touchrail seems particularly challenging!

 

I need to watch my budget for now, but I hope someday to get one of those E60 knock-offs....they were always a favorite of mine in the US (even though they apparently weren't very succesful - at least the passenger versions for Amtrack, I don't know how the version for the Blake Lake and Mesa or BC rail worked out, but I think all of them are out of service now) and represented the most modern attempts in the US for electric motive power. 

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In google I found out that sometimes they pop up on Yahoo Auctions Taiwan but I guess you can't buy international from there: https://tw.bid.yahoo.com/

If you search for the item numbers from the official website mentioned in the first post of this topic you can find some.

Edited by Densha

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I really like the touch-rail models, but they are very difficult to find for sale and I really wish someone would stock these on a website which is easier to buy from.

I have visited Taiwan a few times and always try and pick up a few models during my visit. I am looking forward to their release of the TRA EMU 700.

 

post-766-0-38316300-1397677158_thumb.jpg

post-766-0-68012100-1397677721_thumb.jpg

Edited by dabsan

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Well, I usually ship items between US and Taiwan. If someone really interested, I could preorder and get some with my stuff.

 

Fox

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I was just introduced to Touch Rail Taiwanese trains at the Planes and Trains Exhibit at the Hiller Aviation Museum in San Carlos, California as Paul was displaying is AsiaNrail layout with his Taiwanese trains.  I'm awaiting the arrival of my first Touch Rail train - TEMU 1000 Taroko Express thanks to Paul and his friend.  

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After almost a year after getting it - it's finally getting some attention.  :)

 

post-2776-0-78768400-1459316976_thumb.jpgpost-2776-0-58882300-1459316992_thumb.jpgpost-2776-0-73373600-1459317007_thumb.jpgpost-2776-0-86001000-1459317019_thumb.jpgpost-2776-0-10628600-1459317033_thumb.jpgpost-2776-0-67483900-1459317046_thumb.jpgpost-2776-0-81368700-1459317067_thumb.jpg

Edited by serotta1972
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More fun on the desk than a plain old stapler! Desk toy!

 

Jeff

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On 3/30/2016 at 7:43 AM, serotta1972 said:

After almost a year after getting it - it's finally getting some attention.  :)

Sorry to resurrect an old thread, but I am just curious, what kind of interior lighting brackets are in this train? Is it compatible with TOMIX/MicroAce/KATO interior lights?

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Hi Yavianice,

 

I will check them out and take pictures of the interior for you and then hopefully you or others can determine if it's compatible or not when I get back from my trip.

 

-Junior

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On 2/8/2018 at 2:15 AM, serotta1972 said:

Hi Yavianice,

 

I will check them out and take pictures of the interior for you and then hopefully you or others can determine if it's compatible or not when I get back from my trip.

 

-Junior

 

Thanks! After some more googling I have found my answer and I have found a retailer in Japan that sells Taiwanese models. 

 

http://haruya-railmodel.com/

 

It seems that the Taiwanese trains use some kind of special interior lighting set that does not seem to be compatible with Japanese manufacturered internal lighting. Meh.

 

http://haruya-railmodel.com/?pid=96503610

 

Besides Taiwanese models, they also sell chinese Mainland N Gauge and Korean HO Gauge. Might be interesting for people interested in those kind of trains as well.

Edited by Yavianice
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Hey Yavianice,

 

Sorry I never got back to you, glad you found the answer.  

 

Those are pretty high prices for those TRA trains - I got mine through another forum member when he went to Taiwan and paid $250.  

 

-Junior

 

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3 hours ago, serotta1972 said:

Those are pretty high prices for those TRA trains - I got mine through another forum member when he went to Taiwan and paid $250.  

Meanwhile, I got in touch with a Taiwanese model train store, and they quoted me the official prices. It's slightly lower than the Japanese importer I found, but the trains remain expensive. The "OH!Bear" train is a limited edition and comes with a hefty pricetag. I'll think about it.

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