New Train


I’ve been a bit quiet of late. That is, hopefully, changing and I intend to resume my weekly schedule of postings.

I have a new train for the layout, the first since last December. This is an outer-commuter version of the E233, the Tōkaidō Line E233-3000. It’s actually two trains, as I bought both the 10-car (Kato 10-1114 & 10-1115) and 5-car (10-1116) sets, and the two both include motors. I haven’t had mine apart yet, but it supports DCC and the new “version 2” interior LED lighting according to the documentation. Or does it?

Both Kato’s website and the supplied documentation reference the new lights. But the interior posts molded into the floor that supports the lights lack the “pin” that last year’s subway cars had. I won’t know for sure what impact that has until I install lighting, but that just moved to the head of my to-do list. Also, the included data sheet only mentions the FR11 (interior lighting) and FL12 (cab car headlight) decoders, where past manuals have mentioned the EM13 (motor) decoder as well. A DCC conversion is also at the head of my to-do list now.

As with other recent commuter train models, the destination signs are pre-applied rather than being stickers. It comes with a couple of sets of signboards for the cab cars, allowing these to be swapped out. But the side signs (visible in the photo above just below the air conditioner) are fixed and can’t be swapped.

And, to break in the train, I finally restored my outer loop of track to DC operation (the bus connected to the feeders has been apart for months as I slowly work through rewiring it). Adding DCC to this will be easy (all the parts are in place except for one circuit breaker, which I can omit for now) so I’ll be able to test the train after conversion with minor work. Needless to say, that’s heading up my list too.

After getting the track cleared off (models had been stacked on it in places) I wiped it all down with cotton pads soaked in 70% isopropyl alcohol (this is dangerous, as it can leave fine fibers on the track; I did a careful visual inspection before running a train). Then I cleared off the dust that remained using a can of “canned air”. And then I ran my Tomix vacuum-cleaner car around, and it still found a bunch of dust. I’m really glad I bought that. The Tomix car was pushed by a “disposable” loco I bought on a bargain-bin table, just in case there was any debris I missed or a wiring problem anywhere. When all was done, I finally was able to break in my new train. And just for fun, I also ran the E233-5000 Keiyo Line train I’d bought last year and never photographed. Both of these have been added to the Roster Photo Album (and the main Collection page).

Note: the track-cleaning car I have (model 6421, in blue) is presently sold out at Hobby Search. However, Tomix makes several versions of this (6431 a set with a loco, 6442 in red, and 6492 in “Dr. Yellow” livery, all sold out, and finally an updated set of a brown one with a brown ED61 loco, #6432, which is due sometime this month); the same car is sold by Atlas in the U.S. (#32551 in gray lettered MOW, or #32550, a yellow version). In addition to the vacuum, it has a fitting for a rotating wet pad, which I really ought to make use of in place of my cotton-pad approach.

Clearly, having a model that’s captured my eye is good for motivating me to work on the layout. I think that’s a good thing, although I could really do with fewer mysteries.