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New and exciting UniTram switch news for 2012

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IST

I was in Stuttgart to see again the Modellbau Süd event (900 km drive from home) and look what I found at Kato:

post-248-13569929580442_thumb.jpg

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Hobby Dreamer

I must be missing something... IS the brown piece an upside-down switch/turnout??

 

Hopefully you are right... a switch and some individual track without the road, or at least just 2 lanes would be nice!!!

 

Rick

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bill937ca

You would expect that to show up first in Japan but there is no sign of it.  You sure its not an aftermarket product?

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IST

Of course it was not a real switch just a moulding which represented that they are working on it. It was in an official Kato pavilion, so we asked the staff about it. There was a guy who looked like Japanese and he answered that Kato is working on a switch which can be released in 4-5 month, this was represented by the moulding. He started to say a lot of things about the Unitram system, but I told him that I have already have one set. :-)

I asked him about trams, that it would be great if there will be another type. He said that a Combino type tram is on the list as it is operating different countries, so it would be sell well. It sounds wonderful, I hope they will make it.

In the pavilion there were showed a lot of Kato Shinkansens, I would post some (bad) photo as well, but we have just arrived to home.

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Webskipper

I was in Stuttgart to see again the Modellbau Süd event (900 km drive from home) and look what I found at Kato:

 

 

 

Oh those cruel bastards.  Knew they will release switches someday. Now I have to rethink my infant layout to allow replacement of the curves with switches for future layouts.  I can send trams anywhere now. A tram passing is a reality.

 

What did the Rep say about left hand Drive?

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IST

What did the Rep say about left hand Drive?

 

Nothing. :-( But if they are thinking about releasing European trams...

 

Small video from me:

 

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Hobby Dreamer

Thanks IST !

 

I guess I did not understand your first thread because I  did not realize there was a mold in the photo..

 

Did the Kato staff reveal anything else such as other track options (single track, 2-lane, tighter radii, individual track pieces etc)??

 

There is an obvious way to use this turnout but I wonder if there is enough track geometry to try something quite different?  I want a tram yard and having turnouts splice out to make one can work but the embedded road system may not allow for it seamlessly. Maybe use the Kato turnout  to get to the tram yard but then somehow switch to Tomix Tram track because their track is suited to a yard.

 

In any event, this is great news because it breaks the loops we now have... (and Kato was there first!)...

 

BTW, the link, below, is good for Kato and Tomix tram track ideas... You can see the obvious use for the turnout but I hope there will be more track of various lengths, for example, to accommodate different layouts..

 

http://jw_cad.fukurail.gozaru.jp/pattern/KATO/UNITRAM.html

 

Time to plan a layout!!!

 

Thanks again

Rick

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westfalen

Great news!

 

I also see one of the Y points in the background. Kato's track department must be working overtime. :grin

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bill937ca

It looks like this is the segment Kato will produce

 

DAWli.gif

 

You could have two corners of these and a 90 degree crossover at an intersection which should be sufficient.

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Webskipper

62mm Tram Tracks next to the Crossing! Many choices now.

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brill27mcb

It looks like this is the segment Kato will produce

 

DAWli.gif

 

You could have two corners of these and a 90 degree crossover at an intersection which should be sufficient.

 

No Bill, your image does not have the track centers widening from 25mm to 33mm at the 45-degree angle, like the Unitram curves have. Also, it looks like the sample at the show had the curve and straight routes ending symmetrically at the same point. The needed 90-degree double crossover is already in production -- it's the intersection shown in the right side of IST's photo.

 

A street turnout in the offing is great news!

 

Rich K.

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to2leo

IMHO in the ideal world, I think Kato should start selling single tram track or double tram tracks without the plates.  That way, it is much cheaper than it is now and more importantly be able for people to use it with Tomix's road track.  The turnout is difinitely good news but with existing V-series Unitram selling close to $100 US, I wonder if turnout would be selling for more than $100 USD.  A price point that is close to or beyond a level that many are willing to pay.

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Webskipper

It will be interesting to see how they package this.

 

The switches can be swapped with regular curves.

 

The switch package will most likely include one switch, one curve, and a 62mm straight piece like the current round about.

 

Total of two full curved plates with one switch each.

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cteno4

only issue about mixing and matching kato unitram with the tomix road track is the different spacing/geometries will require a lot of filling in to do and then remarking etc.

 

the unitram has started to work out to not be a cheap item, but a lot of that is the yen's doing this as well. trains that use to be $120 are now $200.

 

kato has liked the idea of doing the full road plate thing since before unitram came along, think they will hold onto this hard...

 

jeff

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bill937ca

 

IMHO in the ideal world, I think Kato should start selling single tram track or double tram tracks without the plates.  That way, it is much cheaper than it is now and more importantly be able for people to use it with Tomix's road track.  The turnout is definitely good news but with existing V-series Unitram selling close to $100 US, I wonder if turnout would be selling for more than $100 USD.  A price point that is close to or beyond a level that many are willing to pay.

 

I don`t think any tram track is really cheap. Tram lines are about junctions and switches.  Switches are always the most expensive piece of track. 

 

The cost and weight of Unitram packages remains a major obstacle for me, plus Unitram does not represent what appeals to me in trams.

 

This would have been different if Kato had started with double or single tram track with the adjoining pavement and sidewalks added as snap-on pieces.  At its most basic you could have a double track line with sidewalks on each side like many European streets.

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Hobby Dreamer
I don`t think any tram track is really cheap. Tram lines are about junctions and switches.  Switches are always the most expensive piece of track.

 

I feel the price of both the Kato and Tomix trams and track to be fair and realistic!

 

There is a huge price increase when one goes from flex track and cheap rail switches to the Japanese fixed rail counterparts, for rail collectors. Adding perfect track covers to make tram track, which means zero work for the modeller, has to have some value.

 

And that value is: looks; reliability; and the ability to completely change the layout over time because its fixed track!!!

 

Actually, when Kato came out with their whole Unitram system with roadbed it was to accommodate their structures as a complete package. It makes sense in hindsight.  Their mid-rise structures would not have looked good with a 2-lane street and had they not had the street then there would be modellers crying about how hard it is to customize a road. It does somewhat abandon their Dio-town system but its to accommodate the tram track.. Time moves on..

 

I have near zero hobby skills and making a roadbed or track covers for curves or crossovers or switches would be difficult! And one could have done this at anytime but you don't see that many N-scale tram layouts.. Because its tough to do!

 

For a long time I dreamed of one day having a tram layout.. It did not require much space and trams have all the "fun" aspects of model rail such as switches, curves and crossovers. I thought about how cool it would be to have great looking double track running down a boulevard..

 

The Kato product looks better than one could have hoped for and if one is on a budget you can cover flex track with card stock and go "mental" trying to cover curves etc..

 

I do agree that greater variety in track is needed because not every street is 4-lane. If Kato releases no more than this switch, its liveable!

 

Finally, if you are like me and not focused on a Japanese layout, the K & T trams look great and there are some trams from the US that also look great.. A Combino tram has me excited!!

 

Rick

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Hobby Dreamer
only issue about mixing and matching kato unitram with the tomix road track is the different spacing/geometries will require a lot

 

Way ahead of you....  and I agree 100%..

 

I HOPE THIS MAKES SENSE

 

I was thinking about a tram yard like this:

 

=====\============================/========

            \===========================/

 

using Kato track where the "/" represents a switch or curve (on the 2nd line)..

 

 

One could add Tomix track but not join it by using a structure or underpass..

 

=====\= XXX=========================XX/========

            \  XXX----------------------------------------------XX/

            \=XXX========================XX/

 

Where the X = structure and the "-" = Tomix track

 

The space between track pieces can be filled with vegetation or tram yard waste etc so any space or height differences can be hidden.. You don't really need the Kato track at the bottom and you can also get away without any switches

 

====== XXX=========================XXX========

              XXX----------------------------------------------XXX

              XXX----------------------------------------------XXX

 

I'd do the last thing first because I have a few non-working tram shells that would look great as scenery!

 

Over time, one could buy switches and incorporate more Kato product..

 

Hope it makes sense...

 

* But if I wanted to join Tomix and Kato track I would do it within the structure or overpass.. it would require a tram to rail to tram transition with maybe a bit of pushing!

 

Cheers

Rick

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101 Local

I have noticed that many are criticizing Kato for not producing single track unitram plates, hasn't anyone noticed that you can in fact pull the track section out of the current unitram plates.  All Kato need do is produce single track sections in the unitram mold and you can have single track right of way.  Just as they have not yet produced left hand drive or turnouts for unitram it is only a matter of time before they do.

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linkey

I believe KATO knows about this and will be doing a single track later in the future. At the moment they want to see how well the Unitram market sells before going for bigger steps. So just keep watching KATO's website or here when they do make them.

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Webskipper

You know a switch to go from the double track to single track would absolutely mirror the Tucson Tram project plans.

 

Also a Unitram V15 street set would be a neat idea as well.

 

Remember folks, you can use 50-60% of a coupler spring under the high voltage wires to level out your Kato Trams. Add some prototypical articulation.

 

Fight the sagging mid section.

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Hobby Dreamer
many are criticizing Kato for not producing single track unitram plates

 

I don't think its criticism as much as eagerness. Until recently one had to buy a whole loop from Kato so the track layouts were limited; everybody with a clone layout. And it could also be expensive both for the track and structures etc... if you expanded.

 

"linkey" is perfectly correct.. Kato will deliver because they invested considerably in the trams and track system so far.

 

But if they only release the switch, its more than one could have hoped for. There is a lot that can be done except maybe a few "filler" sizes of track - for non-traditional configuration geometries.

 

But it would be amazing to have single track, or just 2-lane street plates for side streets for less urban layouts. And smaller radii would be cool too..

 

Right now, there is no real good way for having an East-bound tram loop onto the same double track but to go West-bound. Having single loops and straights would allow that. And having a single track switch opens up the layout to other interesting combinations..

 

From about 2 years ago to today both Kato and Tomix have released a ton of tram-related products, so its hard to complain but having an unique layout would also be cool!!

 

Rick

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Mudkip Orange

These would be priced fairly... at 110 JPY to 1 USD!

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rpierce000

The biggest thing they have done at the moment is eliminated the two hardest things in MR, coupling and electrical reversals. You cannot build a reversing loop in UniTram track (without adding UniTrack) and trams do not couple together. This allows them penetration into a market that does not know about or WANT to know about these things. All they want to do is be able to put it all together in a short period of time, make it run in a semi prototypical fashion and then it is easy to put away again. This allows for younger users, users with less space (very important in Japan), and users not interested in the trains as much as the buildings and details.

 

They will add to the system, but they will be very careful not to alienate this expanded user base, so things like switches may have automatic reverse loop systems in them, or at least a plug in location, despite the cost. UniTram will stay simple, they have spent too much on making it their flagship for that market.

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bill937ca

Most Modemo trams have couplers.  Never heard of the Keifuku Electric Railway? Two-car tram trains still operate. Enoden is legally considered a tramway and has two car trains. The Tosa Electric Railway had train operation until the late 1980s and the Gifu 600v lines were a beehive of tram train operation until March 2005. 

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eoVN7WKKp54

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W9DIdSccP3A&feature=related

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KenS

Well yes, but you don't have to couple them up for them to look "real".  One tram on a street looks just as natural as a two-car set, which isn't something you can say about an EMU/DMU or freight.

 

I think the point makes sense: Kato wants to have a "entry level" train for older modelers, and Unitram fits that bill.  It has all the "build a city" aspects of kids play sets, but for "kids" who are teens or older (perhaps serving as a bridge from B-Trains or Pla-Rail), and it's a gateway to the full range of Unitrack and holds appeal for adult modelers as well. And if it's not as rich as Tomix's offerrings, well that hasn't seemed to bother them with ordinary Unitrack.

 

Kato's never been known to rush when it comes to introducing new models (although the original intro of Unitram seemed like a bit of a rush for them, likely to get some share of market from Tomix).  I wouldn't be surprised if it takes a long time for single-track Unitram street track to show up as there's plenty for them to do to enhance the sets without it (switches, for one).  I also wouldn't be surprised if it turned up tomorrow. I gave up trying to predict Kato some time ago.

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