N Scale Easy Trolley Layout

Discussion in 'Traction Thoroughfare' started by bill937ca, Jun 9, 2007.

  1. bill937ca

    bill937ca Member

    In mid-April I started ordering items to build a new layout in N scale with Japanese 1:150th N scale products from Tomix, Kato, Modemo and Green Max. My interest grew out reading about the of the work of some East Penn Traction club members who created a table top 2-rail trolley layout that they called an Easy Trolley. They had been looking for a way to attract people to the hobby without needing carpentry, soldering, rail-spiking or other advanced modeling skills. My HO layout seemed to be an endless stream of soldering, painting and other chores that kept pushing operation further into the future. My hobby is traction not soldering!

    Tomix has offered a range of tight curves in sectional track suitable for street trackage for a couple of years now. Street track is easily created with Tomix’s snap together covers that turn roadbed track into street track. Both Tomix and Kato offer elevated viaduct sectional track off the shelf. Modemo offers a wide range of current although foreign electric cars (this includes streetcars, high platform interurban cars and suburban cars which are often similar to subway cars). These have a good reputation although production runs are very limited like most other Japanese model railroad items (and in fact most consumer items in Japan).

    Most trains in Japan (and seven streetcar lines) operate on a track gauge of 1067 mm (3ft6in). Over 86% of today’s lines in Japan are 3ft6in gauge. The next most common gauge is 1435 mm (4ft 8½in). This gauge is used for Shinkansen high-speed trains and these trains are modeled at 1:160 in Japan. Japanese model makers have however chosen to use the normal N scale track gauge of 9 mm for all models between 1067 mm and 1435mm (Tokyo streetcars were 1372mm or 4ft6in).

    Although many of the products are drawn from Japan, my layout is not exclusively Japanese. I operate my cars on the right (traffic in Japan move on the left) and my streetcar lines end at loops (in Japan crossovers and double ended streetcars are the rule).

    The layout is located on a 30" x 60" hobby table originally intended to be an extension of my still a building (?) HO layout. At this point I have a double track line with three loops, one at each end and one near the middle. There are three separate unconnected sections of Tomix Easy Track including one 90 degree curve. Further work on the Tomix Easy Track will await investment in more switches and track.

    As of this week I have operated for the first time on my layout. The layout is about 50% complete. I am planning to add a car barn with two or three tracks, a single track cutback from the top loop to the double track line across the bottom of the table and a single track interurban line with high platforms and gentle curves across the middle and top back of the table to a rural terminal.

    I was hoping to put an elevated line behind the tall buildings, but I do not believe I have enough space for the 9 3/4 inch radius curves. A single track elevated line maybe possible, but this requires further investigation.

    Attached Files:

  2. bill937ca

    bill937ca Member

    Another photo but with a Modemo Tokyu 300 series LRV at the Green Max 46-1 safety island.

    Attached Files:

  3. bill937ca

    bill937ca Member

    The Japanese do not model overhead. Model railroad manufacturers like Kato, Tomix and Green Max offer plastic catenary poles. Obviously, these are not suitable for overhead operation.

    Japan is about the only industrial country that does not try to put overhead wires underground. Here's a couple of prototype photos. There are often so many wires you can't tell which wires are which.

    Hiroshima Railway

    79440493.JPG on Flickr - Photo Sharing!

    79440485.JPG on Flickr - Photo Sharing!

    79440488 on Flickr - Photo Sharing!

    79440489 on Flickr - Photo Sharing!

    79440535 on Flickr - Photo Sharing!

    79440542 on Flickr - Photo Sharing!

    This should be simple. The car is at a terminal or station, but still there are so many wires it is hard to tell where the catenary is located.

    FH020019 on Flickr - Photo Sharing!

    FH020025 on Flickr - Photo Sharing!

    FH020028 on Flickr - Photo Sharing!

    Private railway interurban and JR overhead can be worse than any of the above:

    0704301020Kuwana.jpg @ Fotopic.Net

    0501241031Kanda.jpg :: Chuo line 201 series EMU @ Fotopic.Net

    0705091534d.jpg @ Fotopic.Net

    0705041532.jpg @ Fotopic.Net

    Here's another great shot under the overhead!

    0704281126Gifu.jpg @ Fotopic.Net

    So no overhead!
  4. TrainNut

    TrainNut Ditat Deus

    I love it. That's some neat stuff. I've got two Japanese trains that I like running. 1. is known as the Japanese love train because it is popular with the honeymooners leaving Tokyo. It's articulated and takes very tight radii up in the mountains. The other one is the 90's model bullet train.
  5. wickman

    wickman Member

    Really cool pics I'd love to goto Japan to see it in person :wave:

    COMBAT Member

    WOW, That is neat! I like to see the different styles of stuff. :)
  7. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

    Looks like a really good solution for limited space.
  8. bill937ca

    bill937ca Member

    Another photo: A Bachmann PCC and the 6 story Kato 23-433B department store.

    Attached Files:


    COMBAT Member

    What is that building???? Do they make that for HO too? I need stuff like that!! :)
  10. bill937ca

    bill937ca Member

    It's one of a series of Japanese buildings offered by Kato. There are a few suppliers here, but I ordered mine from Japan. Here's a web site with more info on the building:

    Metro Series 6 Floor Department Store (Ivory) - Kato 23-433B - NewhallStation.com - High Quality Japanese Model Trains and Products

    Lee's Trains also carries these buildings


    As for HO, I checked the Kato USA web site and I do not see any buildings offered. But N scale is 95% of the market in Japan. Due to space limitations permanent layouts are rare, even for clubs. N scale is the market leader.
  11. one of these days, I'm going to model the Galaxy Express 999, which is a model C62 4-6-4 steam engine pulling 12 passenger cars
  12. COMBAT

    COMBAT Member

    Thats to bad about that building, I really like it. Thanks for looking! :)
  13. bill937ca

    bill937ca Member

    More info has been posted on this concept including a tutorial on setting up a layout and a photo gallery.

    Setting up a Tomix EasyTrolley Layout

    There is more information on setting up this type of layout in the picture gallery including creating a power lead section.

    Tomix EasyTrolley Picture Gallery

    This is a 30" x 72" layout on a folding table creating a big city look with buildings over 3 stories tall and a grid of streetcar track.




    Something for the traction fan who can't have a permanent layout.
  14. jesso

    jesso Member

    Cool layout! I just bought (haven't gotten it yet) a Tokyu 300 LVR and going to paint it up to look like a UTA Trax train. I need to build a few stations so that I have lots of places to stop along the line.
  15. bill937ca

    bill937ca Member

    Great stuff. :thumb: Kato makes a Bus Stop shelter which has a modern look that may work for you. It's Kato # 23-216.


    Green Max also offers tram stops, but these are more Japanese in design.


    It's Greenmax # 46-2.
  16. railohio

    railohio Active Member

    Neat stuff indeed. I've looked in to traction modeling before but until modern North American light rail vehicles or streetcars are available I guess I'll save my money.


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