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Ken Ford

Researching Kyoto's "Randen" tram (Keifuku Electric Railway)

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I've taken a real shine to the Randen, especially the Kitano line. The setting is very appealing and I like the cars - the older green and cream paint scheme reminds me of home (Chicago's CTA), and the newer purple livery is quite striking.

 

I'm having a difficult time researching detailed information about the line, though. For example, for the life of me I can't find a roster. I have read that six Mobo101 cars remain, and that they have 28 trams in total - but no other details. I assume the majority of the rest are Mobo621s, but you know what they say about assumptions.

 

Is anyone aware of any Japanese language websites I can use to research the Randen? Google doesn't return much of use.

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The Japan Randen site is alot better than the English site.  The English one is really just for us toursits.  The Japanese site has so much more info and even has their maintenence vehicle in a pic also.

 

Plus get on youtube, there is 1000s of videos.  I will be riding the Keifuku in October, so I have been showing the kids what we will be riding.  Lots of cab front view videos, which would make it very easy to model.

 

Very similar railway to Enoden.

Edited by katoftw
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The good thing is, at busier times, they mix all the trams together.  So if you cannot find a motor car of one type, but can get the trailer.  Just hook 'em up in whatever configuation you like and go phototypical.

 

Heaps on ebay.  And look in the for sale section here.  Someone was selling the Yuko-go tram recently too.

Edited by katoftw
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Thank you for the link, Bill!  I had found their English site and looked at parts of their Japanese site, but surfing the local version is a bit of "hold my beer and watch this" - random clicking on links.  I hadn't stumbled on the roster page, that's a huge help.

 

From the roster you linked, it looks like these are the trams currently running:

 

101-106 (Modemo Mobo101) - a few are in purple, two are still in Yuko-Go (?) and one was or is decorated for Kyotsukemono forest.  Are any still in green and cream?  Picture search time!

 

301-302 - they seem to be visually the same as 101-106.  I'll start looking for photos.

 

501-502 - it sounds like these two are on crush service only, which is good because I don't believe there has been a model of them.

 

611-616, 621-625, 631-633 (Modemo Mobo621) - there may be some minor detail differences between the three production runs but I suspect I can use the Modemo model for all of these as is with no issues.  631 is or was painted in Enoden colors.

 

26-27 - heritage cars in brown.  No model that I'm aware of, but I wouldn't be at all surprised if they are the subject of a future release.

 

2001-2002 - very similar in basic appearance to the 600 series cars, but with added windows in the motorman compartments.  Newest cars on the system, so possibly a future model will be produced.  They might be a good kitbashing subject, too.

 

1000 - a great little work motor!  Would be rough to model it powered, though.

 

So, a total of 28 pax and one company service vehicle by my count.

 

I've been watching many Randen clips on YouTube - I was very happy to find end-to-end cab ride videos on both of the lines.

 

The Shijo-Omiya to Arashiyama double track main line in three parts:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BYmjI0C_Wo4

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

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0buhEDUsSLI

 

And the Kitano branch line in two parts:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fyWlDcOgsc4

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BAfz08zVhLk

 

The mixture of private right of way and street running on the Arashiyama main is great, and the Kitano branch gives a whole other feel.  Between the two I could find a lifetime of modeling inspiration.

 

I'd love to do an interpretation of Katabiranotsuji station and build from there in three directions!

 

 

 

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The good thing is, at busier times, they mix all the trams together.  So if you cannot find a motor car of one type, but can get the trailer.  Just hook 'em up in whatever configuation you like and go phototypical.

 

Heaps on ebay.  And look in the for sale section here.  Someone was selling the Yuko-go tram recently too.

 

It also appears that both the older 101 series "baldy" cars and the newer Mobo621s come unnumbered with transfers which makes life easier.  I find the newer Mobo621s to be the most attractive of the bunch, but the Mobo101s are growing on me.

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Aha! I found a back door into Japanese Wiki pages on the various series of cars via Wikicommons photos.

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It also appears that both the older 101 series "baldy" cars and the newer Mobo621s come unnumbered with transfers which makes life easier.  I find the newer Mobo621s to be the most attractive of the bunch, but the Mobo101s are growing on me.

I think the trailer cars come numbered with transfers.  But that is from reading badly translated descriptions on Hobby Search.

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I see you are buying up all the Randen models.  A few places I've been watching have gone out of stock in the past 48 hours. I was gonna wait until I return from Japan in October before I buy up big.

 

I think the Randen would be magical to model.  It goes through narrow alleyways between buildings.  Cross bridges.  Through cuttings surrounded by Cherry Trees.  Up the centre of a busy street.  Past level crossings.  And Finishes in a massive bamboo gardens and temples.  It be a huge project to get it all in though.

Edited by katoftw

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It appears some come with transfers - the purple and the cream and green 621s, for example - while others come numbered like the purple 101s and the Enoden Go 631. I think the latter ones are numbered because they are very specific cars, whereas the run of the mill 621s are fleet trams. That's my theory at the moment!

 

I have several purple 621s on the way right now - I'll find out for certain shortly.

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I see you are buying up all the Randen models. A few places I've been watching have gone out of stock in the past 48 hours. I was gonna wait until I return from Japan in October before I buy up big.

 

I think the Randen would be magical to model. It goes through narrow alleyways between buildings. Cross bridges. Through cuttings surrounded by Cherry Trees. Up the centre of a busy street. Past level crossings. And Finishes in a massive bamboo gardens and temples. It be a huge project to get it all in though.

Only three - not all of them! As a matter of fact I see Plaza Japan listed another purple 621 on eBay today. I'm still looking for a cream and green 621, and then maybe a few 101s.

 

I'm trying to determine which car types can MU - specifically, can a 101 run with a 621? I'm going to be looking at photos to tell.

 

(Edit) From the first video Bill linked above it appears that a 101 will MU with a 501, so there may be some flexibility.

Edited by Ken Ford

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I think the couplers on the Modemo models are all the same. And I video a saw a pink 101 coupled to a 500. And a green/creem 101 coupled to a green/cream 621. And the old wooden trams have been coupled to every tram possible.

 

I dont think you need to worry too much. If you wanna run a configuation, just do it. Cos it seems it has been done in real life before.

Edited by katoftw

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Okay, just had a good look into it.

 

NT94+95 and NT124+125 come with transfers.

 

NT141+142, NT129, NT87+88 and NT117 all numbered from factory.

Edited by katoftw

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I think the couplers on the Modemo models are all the same. And I video a saw a pink 101 coupled to a 500. And a green/creem 101 coupled to a green/cream 621. And the old wooden trams have been coupled to every tram possible.I dont think you need to worry too much. If you wanna run a configuation, just do it. Cos it seems it has been done in real life before.

I was thinking about here in Chicago where for years there were classes of L cars with incompatible controls that couldn't be consisted. From the photos I'm finding now I don't think that will be much of a concern with the Randen.

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I think the Randen would be magical to model.  It goes through narrow alleyways between buildings.  Cross bridges.  Through cuttings surrounded by Cherry Trees.  Up the centre of a busy street.  Past level crossings.  And Finishes in a massive bamboo gardens and temples.  It be a huge project to get it all in though.

I didn't address this earlier, apologies.

 

I agree! Everything I'm discovering about the Randen is ideal - double track/single track, private ROW/street running, urban/natural settings - you name it. Toss in two standard liveries that I find attractive.

 

It checks all the boxes for me!

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True - but there may be other examples, I'll continue researching. The Japanese Wiki pages are a gold mine.

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One problem I'm running into is determining what paint scheme is currently applied to each tram. I'd like to use the Sakura season in 2014 for a timeframe to model, but I also want to have at least one 6xx series car in original cream and green (not the special Enoden paint applied to 631.) I thought 616 was still in green as of this spring based on a photo I had found on the web, but today I found photos dated last year showing 616 in purple. I may need to move back to 2013 or even 2012 to get at least one cream and green 6xx.

 

This research is proving to be very challenging!

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You are pushing this.  Its very hard to have real time info unless you know a railfan operator. A normal person might just go home and not pay any attention. :dontknow:  You can search for Randen 2014 or 嵐電2014 in Google images.  I found one post dated 2.2.2014 that shows 631 in Enoden green and cream.

Edited by bill937ca

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I'm trying to set parameters for myself - I realize that I may never know everything I would like to know, but I want to make the effort first. I've been searching for images by date using English, but not in Kanji - thank you for giving me a search term I can use. These are the perils of being a long-time prototype modeler, the same techniques carry over to this too.

 

If all else fails, I'll invoke Rule 1, pick a number or two at random and drive on. I just prefer to try and find out the information first.

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