Thursday, June 14, 2018

New wiring for the Kaigan module

I have not forgotten about the new module I started in April.  With the module frame modified I moved on to working on the track and electrical wiring.

All of the old wiring was replaced and the underside was repainted.  All of the new connectors and a gap switch were mounted on a section of aluminum channel.  Throttle and turnout power are carried through the module.



There is a gap in the rails in the middle of the module to allow for a boundary between two different throttle zones.  If it is not needed the gap switch can close the gap. 

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Nice surprise in Kyoto

Part of our travels around Japan in May / June of 2017 was to return to Kyoto to visit an area of the city that we had always run out of time to see in past visits.

Our destination was the bamboo forests in the Arashiyama area of the city.  We had stayed the night before at the hotel inside the main Kyoto JR station and the next morning took the JR Sanin main line to Saga-Arashiyama station.


During the short walk to the forest entrance I spotted a building just a short distance from the station that had this sign out in front.

Of course this caught my attention so we decided to stop in on the way back from the forest.







The Diorama Kyoto turned out to be rail museum with an operating HO scale Japanese prototype layout.   It went though day / night lighting cycles.






This layout also had the largest suburban areas I have ever seen modeled on a layout with trams running in some of the streets.





Trains were running continuously on several lines but there were also a couple of lines available for visitors to run a train after inserting a 100 yen coin so I gave it a go.  Great fun !

Friday, May 4, 2018

The trams of Nagasaki

Our hotel in Nagasaki was near the Shiambashi tram stop on lines 1 and 4 and this is where I took the first 3 photos in this series.

Number 1702 running on line 1.  A more modern type tram in what appeared to be a standard color scheme for the more modern trams.
Number 1303 was also running on line 1 and appeared to be the same type of tram but in a bright yellow and green paint advertising scheme.  Many of the trams were custom painted for advertising.  The same is done at home on buses, trams, and even commuter train cars.


Number 377 is another one running on line 1.  It was an older type tram done up in a blue and white paint scheme advertising Suntory coffee.
Walking a few blocks took me to a new location where lines 2, 4, and 5 run.  Number 1205 is another modern tram in the modern standard color running on line 5.

Near this spot the tram tracks branched off from the street and crossed the river channel on a bridge of their own as number 1503 is doing here.  If I ever do a layout that includes trams it will have a scene like this.
Number 202 was running on line 2 and is an older style with a green and pale yellow paint scheme which seemed to be standard for the older trams that did not have an advertising paint scheme.


Next is number 366 in an all yellow paint advertising paint scheme running on line 5.
Last is number 504 in the green and yellow paint scheme running on line 2.

I got lots of tram photos but we also rode these trams to various places we visited while we were in Nagasaki.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

The trains of Kyushu

Last year Nona and I spent a month in Japan during May and June.  I took lots of train photos but have been busy with other things and had not had a chance to post any of them until now.  About half the time we were in Japan we were traveling by train throughout western Honshu and on Kyushu.  It was the first time either of us been to Kyushu and we wanted to see as much as possible so we mostly kept moving.

From Hakata station in Fukuoka we took a Kiha 185 "Yufu" to the town of Yufuin in the mountains.   We had wanted to get on the Kiha 72 Yufuin-no-mori but it was sold out.  After spending a night in Yufuin, the next day we continued on this same type of train in the same direction to reach Bepu.
The 883 Blue Sonic took us from Bepu on the eastern side of Kyushu around the northern coast  back to Hakata Station in Fukuoka.

We rode the Kyushu Shinkansen round trip the length of the island between Hakata and Kagoshima.  The trains we rode were 8 car consists of the 700 series.



The round trip between Hakata and Nagasaki was on the Kamome 885.

We spent a couple of nights  in Nagasaki and while we were there we rode on their excellent system of trams.  I got lots of photos of those that I will save for another post.



Of all of these trains the one I would like most to buy a model of is the Kiha 185 Yufu.  It would be perfect for the AsiaNrail layout.

These have been done by Micro Ace in 2 or 4 car sets a few times but are currently sold out.  Guess I will have to wait for the next release.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Joinerless joints for a quicker set up.

For display layouts made up of many small sections, installing the connecting tracks is one of the most time consuming and tedious jobs.  Back in the 2014 post "We don't need no stinkin rail joiners" I presented how the track connection between the Hot Springs Junction module and the small extension module was being made without using rail joiners. 

Following the success of that single track connection, I then added a double track version of this when I built the 2 Meter module to extend the Musashi-Koyama module set.  This has now been used a few times with continued success.

Prior to our most recent layout Paul had also changed the interface between the 2 sections of his Shifen Station module set.  This interface has 3 tracks and again we had good success with it.   That area is shown here before the interface was modified.
We decided at this show that we are now ready to take the next step of modifying all of the module track interfaces to joiner-less.  As I am laying new track on the Kaigan module it was laid right to the edge of the module.

I built this small module to use as a standard to align both the length of the rails and the alignment.
I placed 2 tracks on my standards module with the tracks spaced 25.5mm apart which is the AsiaNrail standard for double track.

In this photo the blue arrows point out the right hand rail on each track.   Hopefully we can have these all done before our next layout setup.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Concept for the new curved module

With the Musashi-Koyama modules and my American Prototype home layout being ongoing projects it would seem like starting another module is crazy.   Sometimes for me having something small to work on and actually completing is needed to get re-focused on the bigger projects.

I have had several ideas for this pair of skinny modules with 45 degree curved tracks but decided to use the ones that would take advantage of the depth of the module frames.

On this first one I wanted to create a scene of a rail line that closely follows the coast line.  The geography of Japan requires that many of the coastal rail lines do this.  This will be simple, with a single track and no structures.  I am calling this the Kaigan module which in Japanese means shore or coast.

In this photo I have cut away a section on the inside of the curve and added a new bottom from a scrap of Masonite.  This will be an area where there has perhaps been some erosion or landslides so will get some tetra-pods and rock to prevent future problems.
New Masonite fascias have been added to both sides.  The one on the inside of the curve is to allow for a bit of a lip to hold the Envriotex I am using to simulate the water and on the outside of the curve is a higher profile to support the hillsides the will be built up there.


The legs have received a coat of black semi-gloss enamel and the module frame a coat of primer.  New cork roadbed has also been installed.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Starting a new AsiaNrail module

With the 9 day long Hiller exhibit now behind us, I have started on a new module project.  This is not exactly a "new" module and is actually quite old, let me explain.

Back in the 1970's Jim Fitzgerald, Paul Ingraham, and a few others here in the SF Bay area had a modular layout standard they called "Interail".  The dimensions were metric, and Paul's AsiaNrail module standards that we are currently using borrow some parts of the Interail standard.   From Paul's memory they had set up this Interail layout about 10 or 12 times including at the NMRA National Train Shows in Calgary in 1979 and in San Mateo in 1981.

A few of Paul's current AsiaNrail modules had originally been Interail modules and he had a pair of old Interail modules that had originally been built by Jim that he gave to me.

This is one of Jim's old Interail modules.  The modules are in metric dimensions.  They have a 22.5 degree angle on each end and if put together can make a 90 degree turn.



The first order of business to bring these old modules back to life was to give them legs.  These legs would need to adjust in height between the two heights we use on the AsiaNrail layout.  I had not made legs for this narrow of a module before but had some experience with legs for narrow modules from helping Paul set up his modules.

I decided on a design that uses pairs of 2 inch wide strips of cabinet grade plywood that are held together by 1/4-20 bolts.  The upper sections have 2 holes with Tee nuts set 8 inches apart while the lower sections have 3 holes set 8 inches apart.  To raise or lower the legs, different holes on the lower sections are used.
The first photo showed the legs at the 43.125 inch height.  This second photo shows the same set of legs raised to support the module at a 51 inch height which is the normal for AsiaNrail.  The cross supports on the top and bottom are bolted to the legs with 1/4-20 bolts into Tee nuts that are on 1/2 inch thick plywood wings that are attached to the leg sections.

For leveling and fine height adjustments, there are four 5/16-18 bolts on the bottom feet.
When not set up the pieces are re-assembled into a storage configuration with the leg sections being sandwiched between the cross supports.
Here is the module up on it's new legs.  There is not much on either of these modules except for code 80 track and lots of old ground foam scenery.  I have some plans for these that will be much more interesting and with the differences in type of track and wiring I am going to completely strip these down to the wood structure.

So being satisfied with the legs, the next step will be to paint them and then move on to the module itself.