The layout is being built with the following ideas in mind :-
The current plan (see below) will make the layout more like the mainlines running south from Tokyo. I wanted to give the impression of busy suburban services, as well as express and freight trains passing a minor stopping station. So it will have SEVEN sets (three more than last time!) of double track main lines, those being from front to back of the layout ...
1/ JR Freight line,
which will deviate away from the main line parallel to the Yamanote line (like
2/ Keikyu private railway company line.
3/ JR Yokosuka Suburban line (blue/cream 113, silver/blue/cream E217 and 253 N'EX series). This line will dive into a tunnel towards the LH end of the layout, like the line does at Shinagawa on its way to Tokyo station and the connection to the Sobu line heading for Chiba (and Narita Airport).
4/ JR Tokaido Main line (anything else that runs west of Tokyo (113, 211, 215, 165, 185, 251, 583), including some JR Central (285, 373), private line (IzuKyuko 'Resort 21') and also the 'Blue' sleeper trains to Osaka and beyond eg 'Asakaze' & 'Sakura')
5/ JR Keihin Tohoku Suburban line (blue 103 and silver/blue 209 series)
6/ JR Yamanote Suburban line (green 103 and silver/green 205 series). Part way along the layout, this line will turn away from the other main lines, like at Shinagawa.
7/ JR Tokaido/Sanyo Shinkansen (all JR West and Central rolling stock - 0, 100, 300, 500, 700 series). This line will disappear into a tunnel near the RH end.
Because most exhibitions last for two days, for variety I will also run the layout as if it was the main lines heading NORTH from Tokyo, so that I can run the JR East Bullet trains. In this case the lines will be as follows ...
JR Freight line, which will deviate away from the main line parallel to the
Yamanote line (like at Tabata).
2/ Odakyu or Tobu private railway companies line.
3/ JR Joban Suburban line (emerald green 103, blue and white 415, silver/green E501 series and the 651 'Super Hitachi', 485 'Hitachi' and E653 'Fresh Hitachi' expresses). This line will dive into a tunnel near the LH end of the layout (not prototypical).
4/ JR Utsunomiya Main line (anything else that runs north of Tokyo (E231, 115, 165, 185, 485, 489), including the sleeper trains to Hokkaido eg. 'Hokutosei' and 'Cassiopeia')
5/ JR Keihin Tohoku Suburban line (blue 103 and silver/blue 209 series)
6/ JR Yamanote Suburban line (green 103 and silver/green 205 series). Part way along the layout, this line will turn away from the other main lines, like at Tabata.
7/ JR Tohoku, Joetsu, Yamagata, Akita and Nagano Shinkansen (all JR East rolling stock - 200, 400, E1, E2, E3, E4 series). This line will disappear into a tunnel at the RH end, like at Nippori.
are also three day exhibitions, and in those cases I will run the layout on the
third day like the lines around Osaka, so that JR West rolling stock (207, 221,
223 etc) gets a chance to be seen. Of course, that means that you have to
come to the exhibition 3 days in a row to see all the variations of rolling
stock, and people who visit for one day will only see a small proportion. But it
keeps the operators from getting bored :-)
See pictures of the models I will use for these lines here ... you can also see pictures of the areas and and maps of the lines mentioned above, that have given me ideas or inspiration (before I actually saw them in real life) !!!!
The two JR suburban lines will have station platforms (Shin Yamanote), partly hidden by an overhead city area similar to the previous version of the layout. The lines run in parallel here the same way as they do between Shinagawa and Tabata, so you can cross the platform to change from an all-stations Yamanote train to an express Keihin Tohoku train. The private line will have a fully visible (only needing to be 8 cars long) overhead type station (Kouenmae). The Shinkansen will also have a partly visible 4 track station (Takamigaoka), using the new Tomix Overhead station components. This will be like many stations where the platforms are on the outside and the middle lines are used by through trains continuing at full speed. The tracks on the right hand end will disappear into tunnels, under bridges or behind buildings; I have not worked that part out yet! (by the way, all these names come from the stickers with the various Tomix station building and platforms, and you can get 3-4 station names that follow in sequence).
So as you can see - there will be lots of action. I have decided to learn from my mistakes from the first effort and have decided that there will be ...
Here is the plan I did for Version 1.
After discussion with fellow modellers, and some rethinking, I have scrapped the idea of a Bullet train station, and included a larger suburban station for the private line, so that express and local trains can be served. Unfortunately most stations have island platforms, so that travellers can change from the local to express trains, but I did find one station on the Keikyu line that has a through express line with no platform (Minami-Oota). I have also changed the direction of the way the freight line loops around from the front to the back.
Here is the plan of Version 2.
Can you believe it - now we are up to version 3 !!! But it is better to get straight what you want to build before construction has already commenced ...
The layout will now be all around viewing, but the space in the middle will be for access only. Operation will be done from the outside - mainly at the ends where there is no visible track. This gives me a chance to do two different scenes. There is also two alternatives for one side that I haven't decided between yet )either side of the big black line).
The top side view is like around the area on the Keihin Kyuko line at Kagetsuenmae and Namamugi where that line runs next to the JR Tokaido, Keihin Yohoku and Yokosuka lines. There is also a freight line the branches in two directions - one into a tunnel heading north, and the other heading south via an overpass. The Keihin Tohoku line changes places with the Tokaido line, as at Yokohama (just down the line) it heads off to the south as the Negishi line. The direction to the right is towards Tokyo.
The bottom side view is like around Shinagawa, and there are two options :-
The upper option is the northern side of the station with the left side going towards Tokyo. This gives a chance to fit in a yard for the Tokaido line trains (I need 12 tracks), so they do not have to be hidden under the layout or behind the backboard. Other highlights are where the Yokosuka line dives underground on it's way to Tokyo and the connection to the Sobu line. Also there is the flyover for the northbound Keihin Tohoku track, so the it's line runs next to the Yamanote in the same direction at the platforms all the way to Tabata.
The lower option is the southern side of the station with the right side going towards Tokyo. This is where the Yamanote line turns off to the north to Shinjuku, and the Tokaido Shinkansen and Yokosuka lines head off together in another direction.
The large yellow arrows relate to views of the prototype as seen on the models & inspiration page.
The framework is built from 90x19mm pine with corners being strengthened by 42x42mm blocks and triangular 19mm gussets. Cross bearers at around 300mm intervals is from 42x19mm pine. The legs are a rectangular frame from 42x19mm pine with a triangular brace. The legs are attached to the main frame with hinges, one at the outside end of each module. Support in the middle is with a collapsible A-frame with locating guides to help position the modules together. Connection is by bolts with T-nuts, and there are metal locating guides on the sides to align the modules precisely.
Risers are from 42x19mm pine and the baseboards are from 12mm craftwood, which is sealed to prevent warping. Track is laid on cork roadbed and will be Peco Finescale code-55 concrete sleeper for visible tracks and 'el-cheapo' brand code-80 for storage tracks. Large radius points are used for all visible tracks and also the bullet train storage tracks and medium radius points for all other storage tracks. A lot of the track components will also use the new Tomix 'gray' sleeper track, particularly for the overhead sections and the variable joiners used between layout boards.
Control will be by a matrix system for each storage yard, so that only one train can be run at once. There are 8 bullet train storage tracks, 12 mainline tracks, 6 various suburban/subway tracks, 4 private railway tracks and 4 freight storage tracks. With this many trains to control, a system will be devised to automatically run trains in and out of each yard in sequence so that there is not the boring continuous circling of one train that is often seen at exhibitions. The C/MRI system, as seen in Model Railroader, is being investigated as the control system. Also, most trains will be programmed to stop at the station, unless overridden.
Scenery will be medical plaster bandage material (which I acquired a box of for free!) covering a cardboard framework, covered with the usual scatter material. A lot of the layout will be the city area with just streets and buildings on a fairly flat base. Structures will be of Japanese design of course, from Tomix and Greenmax mostly, with a little Kato. The buildings will kind of dominate the trains, which is usually the case in a big city, with one building being around 600mm high!
The beginning of this project was the previous Nihon Mokei Tetsudo layout, which is described on another page. I always wanted to get more trains running and also space for longer trains or a longer visible run. So I have used all the boards from the previous layout and joined them end to end for a NINE metre layout. It will not fit in the layout room, except in two halves!!! I have been doing paper planning since January (2000) and now have settled on a track plan, which is being laid out in stages with Tomix track on the floor to see how it fits together. Luckily the January 2000 issue of Railway Journal had an in-depth article on both the Yamanote line and the Tokaido line, so that gave me a lot of background material to get the track configurations looking like various areas around Shinagawa and also Nippori. I wanted sections to look like the main line sections running south of Tokyo where you have the Shinkansen, Tokaido, Yamanote and Keihin Tohoku lines running parallel, and also further south just before Yokohama where you have the Tokaido, Yokosuka, Keihin Tohoku and Keihin Kyuko lines running parallel.
There is no rush to finish this time, and I will not be taking exhibition bookings until it is finished !!! There was too much stress and things not done properly last time in the panic to get to each exhibition (I did six in an 18 month period with Nihon Mokei Tetsudo).
18th February 2001
Finally shelved the idea of "Inaka" being the next layout, and switched back to "Shin-Yamanote". So the room has been cleared of old layouts and souvenirs from Japan, ready for construction to commence.
24th August 2001
Today is the day that settlement occurs on my new house (with train room), so progress will commence very soon !!!
31st August 2001
Moving in has finally been finished - now I am too tired to start building a layout !!!! Seriously, until the 'train' room has been cleared of all the boxes of stuff (it seems to have volunteered to house everything that we didn't know where to put first), there will be no construction. However I have also been having other ideas about the track plan, so it is better to get that settled first.
Here is the picture of the new house during construction. The front door is just to the left of the garages, and the room to the left of that all the way across is the train room. Here is a plan of the house, so you can see the shape of the room. It is 'L' shaped, so the layout will have to be built with a temporary join between two of the modules.
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Details current at 01/02/04.