Bus System

Mocking Up the Hilltop

It’s very pink, but with a bit of imagination you can see the forested hill rising behind the houses, which will have a small Shinto shrine tucked in amongst the trees, with a stairway down to street level, a very typically Japanese scene. This mock-up was part of my final refinement of the design for the Hilltop Scene. I’m not quite done, but I’m beginning to accept that I have a sound idea for what I want to do.

Bus Models for Japan

Jerry’s recent post on Quintopia about cars and the arrival of my order for four N-scale Tomytec bus models have me thinking about road vehicles.

One of the hardest parts of modeling a contemporary model railroad is the lack of contemporary road vehicles. By far the majority of what is available seem to be things not seen on roadways for half a century. And an urban railroad needs a LOT of model vehicles to look even slightly realistic. And they can’t all look exactly alike either.

As Jerry noted, Tomytec’s collections of cars, trucks, and busses (links are to Japanese pages) are a very good way of acquiring fairly detailed models in bulk at reasonable costs. A typical car collection bought from Japan runs US$67 before shipping and contains twelve boxes, each containing (typically) two vehicles. Even with shipping, that’s likely less than $5 per vehicle. Not as cheap as the low-quality Chinese models available off Ebay, which are suitable for filling in back streets, parking garages, and other places where the car is more glimpsed than seen. But a good price for a detailed model, and about a third of what European models go for.

Shipping from Japan isn’t cheap. I use EMS (express mail), and shipping my order of four busses cost me $15, about 50% of the cost of the busses themselves. But I’m impatient, and EMS gets the package to me in about five days. If you can wait weeks (or sometimes months), shipping SAL (standby air) will be a lot cheaper for small, lightweight, models like these. But it’s still going to be a significant part of the total cost. If you want to order these, see the websites of the Japan-based hobby stores listed on my Suppliers page for more specific information.

An EMU for the Tram Layout

I haven’t been working on my tram layout all summer. I’ve run the tram around a bit, but the bus roadway had a gap in it as I’d run out of parts before finishing the loop, and I didn’t have a commuter car for the outer loop of track, which was a lack I keenly felt. I also had only one power pack to move between the two tracks (unless I wanted to cut up one of my Tomix feeders and connect it to a Kato pack, which I didn’t). So all I could do with it was run one of my Modemo Setagaya line trams at a time. Which was nice, but a bit less than what I wanted. That’s all changed recently (or will shortly). Read More...

A Tomix Bus/Tram Coffee-Table Layout

I have a number of two-car articulated light-rail vehicles, aka., trams, mostly from the Tōkyū Setagaya Line of western Tōkyō. These, like the new Tomytec bus system, were bought to be used in Sumida Crossing’s Urban Station scene, as small details to make the station more than just a place to park trains. However, because the viaduct station is in the front of this scene, these would both be behind and below it, and largely out of sight. That’s bothered me for some time, but with the addition of the bus I really wanted to be able to run these where I could see them. And there really isn’t any place on the big layout suitable for that. And so, I’m building a small tram layout.

April 2011 Status, Subway Station Planning and a Bus System

April sped by rather quickly, as least in part because I had some non-railroad distractions that took me away from the layout. Not much was done in concrete terms, but planning for the Riverside Crossing Subway Station made good progress. Mostly I acquired parts for some more power management wiring (PM42 circuit breakers, BDL168 occupancy detectors, and RX4 transponding sensors, as well as wire, terminal strips, and miscellaneous connectors). I also painted several sheets of cut-to-size plywood with primer, to which I’ll attach all the electronics and wiring. Then I’ll hang the plywood under the layout, where it can be easily wired to terminal strips, but remain far enough away from the track and bus wires to avoid interference with the transponding sensors. I’ll have more on this after I’ve built the first of these.