Monday, June 28, 2010


And they are out! Tomytec's Tetsudou Collection CENTRAM model appears to be another gem. The motorized model is available for little under €50,-. A bargain for such a great running tram. The CENTRAM is available in white, silver and black.

Available on eBay through Plaza Japan.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A peach from Tomytec

A little package from Plaza Japan arrived today. It contained this beautiful model of the Okayama Railway 9200 series ´Momo´ (which means peach in Japanese) from the Tomytec Tetsudou Collection. Like the previously released PORTRAM´s, the tram body easily slides onto a TM/LRT01 chassis, making it an excellent runner. No problem at all with turnouts and tight curves.

The body is coloured light grey (a little metallic even, or is that just the light reflection?), making it, at least in my opinion, a more appealing model than the PORTRAM. It doesn't have such a clean look. I really like the livery it comes in, which was designed by the famous Japanse designer Eiji Mitooka. The biggest difference with the PORTRAM is the extra door at the rear end. This makes the tram more convincing for right-hand traffic.

I think the front also looks a lot better. I has many nice details. Especially the headlights stand out. Pantograph and roof details are identical to the PORTRAM.

I'm sure this model will be a real eye-catcher on any N scale tram layout. At least it will be on mine :)

Sunday, June 13, 2010

More doodling in AnyRail

A couple more designs for a 30x40 cm baseboard, using the Tomytec Mini and Super Mini range. That stuff is really useful!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

A tram with issues

The newest addition to my German tram fleet is this lovely little Kato model. I think it looks great next to the Arnold Düwag. Despite its looks the performances are... well disappointing. The model can't make it a single time around the layout without stalling. Adding some lead helped a little, but still it doesn't negotiate the turnouts gracefully. I think the solution will be to convert the tram to overhead power, but that will have to wait untill later. For now she just has to stand there and  be pretty :)

Saturday, June 5, 2010


And they keep coming, those Tomytec Tetsudou collection trams! To be released this month are three new 'CENTRAM' units, which, in real life, operate on a very short loop line in central Toyama. Available colours will be white, silver and black. Like other Tomytec trams, these come as display models, which can be motorized using the TN-LRT01 chassis.

Getting started

The track arrived today. A perfect fit for a IKEA Ribba 30x40 cm photo frame :) The little Arnold tram felt at home immediately.

Tram tracks

Untill recently, making your own tram track was really your only possiblity if you were modelling in N scale. Now the street track systems appear to pop up everywhere. An overview of the currently available options:

Tomix street car track kit
The easiest way to convert an existing layout (using Tomix mini and super mini track) into a paved tram layout, is to use a couple of these kits. All concrete-coloured parts slot into the underside of the tracks, except for the parts which fit in between the rails, these have to be glued in place. It's also possible to cover 90 degree crossings and points, although quite a lot of the points remains exposed. A set includes parts for 140mm straight track, and 103, 140 and 177R curves. Two sets are needed to make an oval. Apparently, a second set in asphalt colour will be released in 2010.
  • 3076 Street car track kit, concrete
  • 3079 Street car track kit, asphalt.

Kato UNITRAM system
This system, released in 2009, is made out of highly detailed double-track components which match Kato's Diotown scenery system. Big plus of the system is that it comes with catenary masts. As far as I know, only a base and a starter set is available at the moment. The base set includes a Unitram oval, (2x 124mm straight, 4x R180 curve), some UNITRAM road plates and an accessory set. Total dimensions: 682 x 620mm. The starter set also comes with an AC adapter and a red PORTRAM. Undoubtedly, track components will be available seperately in the future. Points and crossings are unavailable at the moment.
  • 40-900 UNITRAM starter set
  • 40-800 UNITRAM basic track set V50

Tomix wide tram track
The third option are the yet to be released wide tram tracks from Tomix. Measurements of the components are the same as the components made with the street car kit, but these have been pre-made.This system should be more flexible than the Kato one, as it also allows to make single or triple tracks. No easy way to attach catenary masts though. As with the Kato set, no points or crossings are available for the time being.
  • 91085 R103 oval set
  • 91086 R140 oval set
  • 1790 2x 70mm straight
  • 1791 2x 140mm straight
  • 1795 2x R103 60 degree curves and 2x R103 30 degree curves
  • 1796 2x R140 60 degree curves and 2x R140 30 degree curves
  • 1797 2x R177 60 degree curves and 2x R177 30 degree curves
  • 0113 connection pieces for normal Tomix track

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Bybanen - Bergen Light Rail

The Norwegian city of Bergen is building it's completely new light rail system, sceduled to be opened on june 22nd. The new line will link the city center with it's suburbs, as far a Nesttun. Check this photo blog for the day-to-day progress of the project. Very inspirational!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Designing a layout

I drew this design of a little layout, using Tomix Mini and Super Mini rails. It's designed to fit on a 30 x 40 cm baseboard. The layout allows me to run two trams, and still have some switching possibilities. The stub track can also be used for a short maintenance train. The right part will be a two-track terminus in a park, while the left side will be more urban. Watch this blog as the plans develop.
By the way, I used AnyRail for this, a great program, which is free to use for small layouts using less then 50 components. See