Building Scenes and Adding Details

Building scenes is almost as fun as running trolleys. The track is Tomix Wide Tram. Under the buildings there is a 3/16 balsa and styrene base. Sidewalks are Smalltown USA (HO) cut in half.

Fire hydrant is part of the Model Power 1339 Park Scenes set. For this small diorama I have two sets. In each set there are three fire hydrants, 3 green trash cans, 3 blue mail boxes, 4 park benches, a telephone booth and seated figures.

Vehicles are from chucktheprinter on eBay.

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Tomytec Berlin BVG GT6N #1036

During December Tomytec released their first non-Japanese tram model.  This is a N gauge model of the first modern 100% low floor tram, the Adtranz GT6N.  It is available in either Berlin or Munich livery. Initially you receive a static model and have to purchase a Tomytec power chassis separately to create an operating model.

Tomytec Adtranz GT6N

This tram uses the Tomytec TM-LRT04 power chassis to create an operating model.  The static model has a full interior, an interior that will be taken up by the power chassis.  The tram comes with destination signs for 12 Mitte, a current Berlin tram destination.

It is a long tram taking up almost a full 186mm Unitram track section.  At this time it is available from Japanese sources and from European sources but at a substantial premium.


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Tomytec TM-LRT04 Power Chassis

Today we have a look at the Tomytec TM-LRT04 power chassis.  This is the power chassis for the new GT6N Munich and Berlin articulated trams.

Tomytec TM-LRT04 power chassis used under the GT6N tram Berlin and Munich bodies.

Turned over the chassis has 3 conventional bogies unlike the prototypes which have wheels without axles. Bogies provide more conventional guidance around curves and through turnouts.

Underside of the TM-LRT04 power chassis.

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Kato 20-016 Open Pit Track

Inside car houses pit tracks, a dug out open space between the rails,  are used to work on underbody of a tram. The raised roadbed in Unitrack allows Kato to offer a open pit track piece which is 186mm long.

Kato 20-016 Open pit track

Stairs lead down to the floor beneath track level.

Tomytec Hankai Tramway 166 on the open pit track.


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Kato 14-501-2 Chicken Ramen Character Streetcar

Character trains (trains decorated with images of anime and other popular culture characters)  are popular in Japan. What we have here is reissue of a freelance Kato Pocket Line streetcar and trailer set with a Nissin Food Products Chicken ramen character wrap.  There have been prototype trams in Japan with similar wraps.

Chicken Ramen Streetcar

It is a compact and inexpensive 2 car train.  Kato advises  headlight / taillight will not light up.  Also the interior light can not be installed either.

I obtained my set from a dealer in Japan. These may or may not get imported elsewhere by dealers.   It is an inexpensive and neat addition to my collection.

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Simple Block Control for Unitram

One of the features I want to add to my new Euro themed Unitram layout is automatic blocks at a central plaza.

Simple automatic blocks can be created with off-the-shelf, plug-and-play Kato components. On the selected track piece, I replaced the normal Unitram Unijoiners with the black 24-816 Insulated Unijoiners and added a 44-847 Tram Feeder Power Cable under the selected track piece. The feeder is plugged into a 24-850 Kato Power Feed Control Switch which clips onto the side of a Kato power controller just like a Switch Selector. When the power switch is turned OFF the car always stops at the selected location. When the power switch is turned ON the car continues on through the block or if stopped already begins running.

The 24-850 Kato Power Feed Control is then plugged into a Kato 24-827 3-Way Extension Cord, along with two other feeders on this particular track loop and plugged into the Kato Controller power feed.

Simple block control can be set up with off the shelf Kato components.

I plan to have a junction with trams coming into a station from four directions like many the tram stops at many European train stations.   Two blocks are installed now before the intersection and two more will installed later at the actual tram stop.

With this automatic block system, the operators function is more like that of a tower operator.  Throw the turnout switch and set the block to proceed and the tram moves on along the line.

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Kitbashing an Accessible Tram Safety Island

Existing N gauge tram safety islands (in street loading platforms) from Kato, Tomix and Greenmax reflect old school tram safety islands that have been around since the time of large scale auto traffic on city streets.

Today’s accessible safety islands can be 5 metres or more wide and easily up to 40 metres or more long considering the length of today’s low floor trams. Many European accessible safety islands are surprisingly barren but often include shelters on the safety island. Trams run fairly often in Europe by North American standards.

My safety island is made from a couple of large craft sticks from the dollar store, similar to an old fashioned popsicle stick but longer and wider.

First step was to cut off the curved ends at one end of each craft stick with a razor saw. Second step was to glue the two pieces together with white glue. Third step is paint.

This gives my layout a safety island 265 mm long by 18mm wide. At 1/150 typical of Japanese model railroad offerings from Kato, Tomix and Greenmax this scales out to a 39.75 metre long by 2.7 metre prototype.

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