SIDE 1 - 'Edogawa' - Japan in the days of late steam. SIDE 2 - 'Enoshima' - modern Japan with Bullet trains.
The Concept - who is involved and how it started.
Module & train specifications
End of 'Setagaya' - commencement of construction & decision of the layout's names
Other pages you may be interested in ...
The model Japanese buildings I have built & used on my layouts
Tips for modelling realistic Japanese buildings
There are many types of modular group layout systems going around - 'N Trak' is known worldwide, and a new one called 'T Trak' (mainly running trams) has recently become more popular. There is also a group in Europe who have created a concept called 'J Module'. All of these have something in common - a standard configuration that each person who wants to join the group has to adhere to. What is being created here has ideas based on all of the above concepts, but is also different in the following ways :
Who is involved?
This concept was started in July 2003 by three people :
Originally, Phil Badger was also involved as a start-up member, however other commitments prevented his continuing involvement. The main impetus for this project came about after a discussion between Phil and Ed regarding layout building, and Ed's situation having no space to build a layout. Phil suggested that he look at a modular or bookshelf type arrangement. Phil had plans to build a Japanese steam layout and Doug's next layout was to be based on the Enoshima Railway. However he decided that rather than built a full stand alone layout based on the Enoden, the idea of incorporating it into the modular concept already planned by the other two made sense. With Setagaya still being used on the exhibition circuit, there was not enough room to keep two layouts in his house. So between all three, the idea was discussed, and the idea to incorporate all these plans into a modular layout grew to fruition. There is no time frame for any part of the project so far, but conservative estimates would indicate a showing in late 2006.
As already mentioned, there are no rigid standards, only factors that will ensure that all the modules can fit together. The length of the modules has been decided to be 1200mm long, as that is the size that will fit in Doug's layout trailer. The width of the modules will vary, depending on the owners requirements. Corner modules so far will be 800 x 1200mm. This will give a layout depth of 2400mm, which leaves enough space in the middle for operating. The layout length of course will depend on the number of modules involved. Currently Doug has indicated he will build 4, and Ed and Phil with do 2 each, therefore we have an initial layout length of 6.4m. Doug will also look after 2 of the corners, and Ed and Phil 1 each. Doug has worked out that he will need a module depth of around 650mm and the other guys are happy with 400mm. Each module will have around 75mm space behind the backboard for a double hidden track. Of course anyone else joining the project at a later date will have to match these specifications, depending on which side their module is placed. The track joins between modules does not have to be in a specific place, as long as it matches the one it has to connect to. With a small group of participants, we believe this 'loose' list of standards will not be a problem.
What will it look like?
Comments about Doug's 'Setagaya' layout usually included some reference to the absence of Japan's famous Bullet trains (they were added to 'Setagaya' in 2005 however!!!), so he decided that they should definitely be incorporated in this layout, even though the Bullet train line is not close to the location of the Enoshima railway. The length of the layout should give a good run to a full 16 car Bullet train at speed !!! Current plans for Doug's modules will have the Bullet train running along the back on elevated trackage, with the Enoden line weaving around the front of the layout (probably not on all 4 modules though). Phil wants to include a steam loco facility on his modules, complete with turntable and roundhouse on the corner module.
One of the more interesting innovations planned so far is that
the two layout sides (Doug's 4 modules and Ed and Phil's 2 each) will
not actually be connected by visible track. What this means is that
trains that run along one side will come around again via the back of
the modules on the other side, and
vice versa. This is mainly because Phil and Ed want to run steam era
rolling stock, and Doug wants to run modern era rolling stock,
including the Bullet train. This is where the project's title was
derived from - a layout with 2 sides, each one showing a different
aspect of Japanese railways. The two sets of lines will cross each
other on the end modules, but may or may not be visible together,
depending on the scenery treatment used.
12/09/2003 - Doug Coster's initial plans
After building 'Setagaya', based on the Modemo articulated Tokyu 300 type tram cars, they then started to bring out models of the Enoshima Railway's rolling stock, also 2 unit articulated 'trams'. I was thinking this would be a good excuse for the next layout, as it is an interesting area of Japan. When the other 2 guys started talking about building a modular layout, I realised that the concept would also suit my plans. Therefore the main feature of my modules will be the operation of the Enoshima Railway. The modules will also have a Bullet train train at the back, higher up in the hills or on a viaduct. Not strictly correct for the Enoshima area, but everyone want to see a bullet train (running fast!!!) and the length of the layout will give it a nice long visible run. The scenery at the end joining Ed's modules will be urban city type, gradually changing to suburban and then rural at the end joining Phil's modules. Rumours are that next year (2004) there will be N scale models available of several of Japan's monorails. While the one that connects with the Enoshima (the Shonan Monorail) is a 'hanging' one, and the two systems to be modelled are 'straddle' types (the Tokyo & Tama City Monorails), I believe it will be better to have the 'wrong' monorail, than none at all !!!
The Enoshima Railway (Enoden)
As one of the main features of my layout side, an explanation of this interesting line is warranted. The Enoshima Electric Railway (Enoden) is a 1067mm gauge 10km long single track line in Kanagawa prefecture (south west of Tokyo) that runs from Fujisaka on the JR Tokaido line to Kamakura on the JR Yokosuka line. There are 15 stations (Fujisawa, Ishigami, Yanagikoji, Kukenuma, Shonan-Kaigankôen, Enoshima, Kongoe, Kamakura-Kokomae, Shichiragahama, Inamuragasaki, Gokurakuji, Hase, Yuigahama, Wadazuka, Kamakura) with passing loops at Kukenuma, Enoshima, between Kamakura-Kokomae and Shichiragahama, Inamuragasaki and Hase. The company's workshops are at Gokurakuji and there are also some storage sidings at Enoshima. Rolling stock consists of two car articulated units that are more like trams than trains. Most trains are 4 cars i.e. two sets coupled together.
For those not familiar with the Enoshima Railway, here are some more pictures of the actual locations I would like to try and include.
The line leaves Fujisawa station with a short elevated section. At times the line runs between two roads or alongside one road, and at other times just in a narrow section between the backs of buildings. At Kongo, the line curves out onto a small section of street running to Enoshima, as well as many street and foot crossings. Also at Enoshima is the terminus of the Shonan Monorail (which runs from Ofuna, also on the JR Tokaido line), and nearby is the terminus of the Odakyu Enoshima line (which runs from Shinjuku in Tokyo) .There is also quite a long section along side the edge of the seaside, between Kongoe & Inamuragasaki. The line is single track with passing loops at every third or fourth station. Some stations are single platform (the line is quite popular during school hours!!!), some are island and others on the outside. At Enoshima, there is a small yard, as well as the main maintenance facility at Gokurakuji. To round out the variety, there is even a short tunnel between Gokurakuji & Hase. Hase is also the location of the Great Buddha (Daibutsu - one of the worlds largest and oldest bronze statues, built in 1252).
With new rolling stock models being released by Modemo
recently, it is an interesting line to base a layout on. I plan to
include features like the street section, seaside, statue and tunnel on
my modules. As mentioned above, it has not got to a track plan degree
yet, and also under consideration is the interchange with a JR station
at one end of the line. Like the prototype, the line will be single
track with possibly a passing loop, and there will be storage tracks at
each end of the line to allow several trains to automatically swap over
as they run up and back.
19/09/2003 - Ed Leong's initial plans
This will my very first layout that I'm building after a few
years of collecting Japanese rolling stock.
After my recent travels to Tokyo to
gain first hand experience of the train service and the areas
surrounding area the stations that I enter and exit,
I plan to put everything together (trains and
travels) on a layout. After visiting a Model Railway exhibition in
Ginza during July 2003, some sections of the layouts that
were on display
gave me ideas for parts of my modules. I plan to have a small suburban
with passing tracks, as well as possibly a separate branch line or
A meeting today further expanded the concept, but also changed some of the original ideas. It was decided that rather than the hidden return loop storage tracks being positioned behind the modules on the other side of the layout, they should be on a small island inside the middle of the layout. This means an extra end module will need to be inserted at the ends, to allow sufficient operator space on each side. The middle modules at the end and the storage island modules will normally be joined together, but will be built with the ability to be split in half. The tracks on the modules each side will loop around to the middle island, and therefore each person's 'half' of the layout can be self contained if they want to run it by themselves i.e. at home or at an exhibition without the other members being involved. It also means that the two 'halves' can also be placed side-by-side to form a long narrow layout rather than a large rectangular one, if this is better depending on the hall size/shape at an exhibition.
So far it is envisaged that the end joining Doug & Phil's modules will be a tall mountain range, and the other end will be a continuous suburban/city scene. In either case, at the same time you will not be able to see the tracks from the two sides looping around on the storage island.
The sizes of each module was determined, such that efficient use of Doug's trailer would only need a minimum number of modules to be transported in the other member's cars.
Doug's modules - 1200mm long x 600mm wide.
Ed/Phil's modules - 1200mm long x 400mm wide.
end modules - 900mm long x 1200mm wide (middle module can be split in two sections).
storage island modules - 1200mm long x 600mm wide (all can be split in half).
Here is a rough plan showing the way the
modules will be
joined together to form a large rectangular layout.
In this arrangement, the layout will have viewing from all four sides, and will be 6.6 x 3.6m in size.
Here is a rough plan showing the way the
modules will be
joined together to form a long narrow layout.
In this arrangement, the layout will have viewing from the front only, and will be 13.2 x 2.0m in size.
The connection between Doug & Ed's modules will not be apparent by both using country/mountain scenery that blends together.
... or it could be put together this
way, and look like a
completely different layout,
again with the connection between Doug & Ed's modules will not be apparent by both using city scenery that blends together !!!
This version is probably more likely, as it is planned to have the controllers at the end, and under the mountain scenery.
A meeting held today cleared up some more details, so that construction of the framework can commence soon. We will be using 90x19mm treated pine for the module frames and the baseboard height will be 1200mm from the floor. Legs will probably be folding and attached to the frame, but the final design is not decided yet. The amount of timber for each person's module is being calculated and each member's track plan is also to be finalised. Phil presented a nice idea taken from pictures in some Japanese railway infrastructure books, so that the tracks on his module would curve away over a bridge into a valley that would disappear into the storage area. Phil & Ed decided that they would not be using overhead electric wires, so therefore they will be running steam & diesel only. Doug then definitely said that he would like to include one or more electric lines, as well as the Shinkansen and Enoden lines. Modemo have announced the 2000 series articulated set, in powered and dummy versions, so they will be added to Doug's Enoden roster.
Don't know what happened to this year ??? Earlier in the year, Phil was ready to commence construction, but Ed did not have any plans ready. By the time we were all ready to start, Phil had too many other things on his plate :-(
With the life of 'Setagaya' coming to a close soon, definite plans are now being formulated. Over the last year, Phil has still been so busy with many other projects that he has not had time to be involved, and Ed will probably take over his part of the layout. After the Castle Hill exhibition at the end of July, we will hope to get something started !!!
October 2005 - something is happening !!!
We have good news and bad news ....... first the bad news - Phil still does not have time to put towards the layout, so it will be just Doug and Ed. This is very unfortunate, as Phil's modelling skills and contacts would have been very useful. So it looks like Doug will be looking after the 'modern' side, and Ed will be looking after the full 'period' side. Here is the first draft plan of Doug's side ....
But the goods news is that the project will finally be kicked off, two years after the initial concept was created. We will hopefully get some other interested people to come aboard as well. Doug and Ed have been working on their track plans, and Doug has used full size boards to work out how to make the most of the new Tomix super-size 539mm curved double track slab sections. He has also been collecting more Enoden models - here is the fleet so far ...
Tomix have just released an Automatic Train Controller, and this has been test for use as power for the Enoden line. This amazing gadget has 10 different functions, as can be seen in the diagram below ... most of them can be worked out from the graphics, however Mode 9 is a random function, and Mode 10 is a bypass mode. The unit can control 2 sections of track, 2 points, and receive input from up to 4 sensors. Doug will be using Mode 5 to allow automatic selection of multiple trains, and Mode 8 to perform passing manoeuvres at the stations.
Here are some videos showing trains going though all the configurations ...
Mode 1 - up & back - MOVIE
Mode 2 - up & back - station loop - alternate sides - MOVIE (48.8Mb)
Mode 3 - zig zag - up & back - MOVIE (51.6Mb)
Mode 4 - double crossover - up & back - MOVIE (27.5Mb)
Mode 5 - three trains alternate up & back - MOVIE (40.6Mb)
Mode 6 - station stop in loop - MOVIE (18.5Mb)
Mode 7 - two trains alternate - station stop in loop - same direction - MOVIE (27.5Mb)
Mode 8 -two trains alternate - station stop in loop - opposite direction - MOVIE (25.3Mb)
Timber for the baseboards has been purchased (6mm MDF) and has been cut to size for all the modules. The final sizes ended up being ...
The size of Doug's section is 6.6m x 1.875m and Ed's is 6.6m x 1.725m. This means that the overall layout size with the 2 sections back to back is 6.6m x 3.6m or if the 2 sections are put end to end it is 13.2m x 1.875m.
It was also decided to 'reverse' the plan, so that the city and country ends would be swapped around. This was mainly to suit the Enoden line and make the geographical feature being depicted in the the same order as in the prototype. The plan above has been modified to reflect the latest idea.
The new Tomix Slabtrack system, with a LARGE 539mm radius curve, has just been released and will form the basis of the elevated Shinkansen line on Doug's modules. When the track arrives, it will be used as a template to plan the track layout 'full-size' on the boards.
Here are the boards laid out on the garage floor.
Doug is also trying to work out how to fit enough yard tracks for storage with the two mainline loops. One will be like the Tokaido line, and will need 6-8 tracks, and the other will be more like suburban line, like the Keihin Tohoku or Yokosuka lines, and needs at least 4 tracks. With a width available of 300mm, there will need to be overlapping loops to fit all this on 4x 1200mm sections. The maximum train length on the suburban and main line will be 10-15 cars, but there is a need to have at least one longer track to allow for a 24 car container train. The Bullet train yard above it will be OK with 8 tracks. Trains available & suitable to run on this lines are ...
Doug thought he would layout out all the boards and plan where the tracks would go. He was surprised to see actually how big it is - not even able to fit in his garage - when his wife saw it, she wanted to know where the hell it was going to be setup/stored !!!
this is just a standard single car garage space
Doug has now taken better photos of each of the boards with the track plan drawings on them. Each of them can be seen in detail as below, as well as a composite showing the whole layout, with some explanations. Click on each of the photos or links to see a larger version ...
|click here||click here||(Bullet tracks on top level)||click here|
|click here||click here||click here||click here|
|click here||click here|
|click here||click here||click here|
It has also been decided on which trains will be running on each of the tracks, based on the list of what is available as seen above. Each of these tracks will be under the control of a Tomix Automatic Train Controller (using Mode 7), which allows the selection of alternate trains on two tracks, and each of these two tracks will also have an extra loop attached for manual selection of another train. So this gives a selection of 4 trains on each track - two automatically appearing one after the other, and another two that can be run manually. This concept will apply to the Bullet and Main loops. The Suburban loop is handled a little differently, because he wanted to also use the Tomix unit for a station stop, as well as the selection of trains. He didn't want the expense of two units for each track (one to do the swapping and one for the station stop), so he came up with the idea of an 'extended' loop, so that the visible part of the loop for the 'local' trains to stop will be at the station, and the place where the 'express' trains stop will be in the hidden track at the back. So what you will see will be two trains alternating - a local that stops at the station and an express that appears to pass thru. In this way the controller has been 'tricked' into performing two functions at once. Also on this loop, he has added a longer manually activated track for the storage of a long passenger (15 cars + loco) and/or freight (24 cars + 2 locos) train. He have taken the liberty of doing this, as sometime these trains are sent down the Yokosuka line rather than the Tokaido line, and there was no more space for hidden storage in the Main line loop area.
The Enoden line will be handled by 3 of the Tomix Automatic Train Controllers - one to let trains pass each other at a loop in the middle of the layout (using Mode 8), and the another 2 to allow selection of 3 different trains at each end of the line (using Mode 5). One end of the line will have a manually selectable track added to each automatic one, for a total of 6 different trains; the other end will use the 3 different selectable tracks to cater for 2 tracks at the terminal station, and another on at the intermediate workshops (as well as an extra manually selectable track). So what you will see will be a train appearing from the tunnel at one end of the layout, waiting at the loop for another train to pass, and then going into either one of the station tracks or the workshop track. Another train will be doing exactly the same thing, but in the opposite direction.
The main reason behind the expense of using all the Tomix Automatic Train Controllers is that quite often you see an exhibition layout with storage yards full of lots of different trains, but the operators are just talking to each other, or even talking to the public, and without any operator intervention all you see is the same train just going around and around and around and etc etc etc. What you will see on this layout is a different train on each track sequentially (ie the same train will never do more than one loop at a time). If the operator has time, he can then also manually select a different train for each track to take the place of the automatic one, giving a variety of 4 different trains without the operator having to be so attentive to change the train each loop - probably the best compromise, particularly cost-wise, between nothing happening and fully automatic operation. Also the delay built in when the trains change over will mean that you do not see any train appearing so quickly after the last one has gone past, so the layout does not look like just a circle of track - different trains appear to come from somewhere and to be going somewhere else !!!
Setagaya has now been demolished (see here) and now it is time to start doing something in earnest !!! First the train room has to be cleared out, so that there is room to set up the base boards, and start making the frames and legs.
The layout's names
As construction is about to commence we had to decide on names for the two sides of the layout - just in case they appeared somewhere separately :-) Also each side would be written up individually in an exhibitions program guide.
Ed has finally made some definite plans for his side of the layout, and it includes the following features ...
To Japanese-Trains.com homepage
Whole page contents and images2008 Doug Coster.
Details current at 18/10/2008.