Monday, July 2, 2018

The JR Ome line

Here is another post from our trip to Japan last year.  While in Tokyo we made a day trip to a sake brewery in Sawai which is about 40 miles west of central Tokyo.  To get there we took the Tokyu-Meguro line to Musashi-Kosugi, then the JR Nambu line to Tachikawa and then from there we took the JR Ome line.   We had been on the Ome line before but had always gotten off at either Fussa or Hamura to meet some of Nona's family who live in that area.  This time we would be going almost to the end of the line.

The current trains on the Ome line are the same as on the JR Chuo line, 10 car consists of E233 series with an orange stripe.   The train stops in Ome where the line goes from double track to single track with passing sidings at the stations.

At Ome station, 6 of the 10 cars are removed from the train with 4 cars continuing.  I had always noticed the Chuo trains were made up of a 4 car consist plus a 6 car consist and now I know why.
Now here is something you don't see in Japan very often.  Between Ome and Sawai we were the only passengers left in our car.  Nice break from the packed trains in Tokyo.



Looking west from the platform in Sawai.   The line continues for several more stations climbing into the mountains.  At the end of the line there are some quarries.
At Sawai we got off the train and walked about 1 km down hill to the Sake brewery.  After visiting the brewery we walked back up the hill with several bottles of sake.






The Ome station looked quite old and in fact Nona mentioned that it looked the same as it did in the 1960's when she was a kid visiting her uncle who lived in Ome at that time.








Another view of the old shelter on the platform at Ome station.  I am glad to have visited this line when we did because I recently read that some of the stations on the Ome line are going to be rebuilt soon.









This view is looking east from the Ome platform.  We returned the way we came but with a stop in Tachikawa and dinner with family who live there.  We arrived back in Musashi-Koyama around 10:00pm.  It was a long day but a lot of fun.


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.