Japan Train and Rail Blog

A website about trains and model railways and associated subjects in Japan and other countries.


Back in the increasingly dim and distant (well for me at least) 1980s, when diesels were blue and trains were still done properly (loco at one end hauling coaches or wagons), the Class 27s were very much a far and distant (from my Midlands perspective) Scottish class, rarely if ever sighted.

However as with many of the early "pilot scheme" classes, they started off life elsewhere, with quite a few being allocated to Cricklewood and Leicester during the 1960s. Though I've always been aware of that, they still seemed utterly unconnected with my main region of interest, the West Midlands, until I came across entirely by coinicidence a photograph of one topping the Lickey Bank at the head of a freight train.

Interest piqued, further research revealed more evidence of the class in the Birmingham area (though an awful lot of hits were false positives triggered by the the "B" in "BRCW", not the location of the photograph or sighting) - Quite a few seem to have made it west and south of the city. Following is a list of online references I've found, in rough chronological order.

Also of interest is this thread on RMweb: Leicester class 27's




Tuesday, April 17, 2018   9:27 AM

Lists of N scale (N gauge) models

One question which frequently comes up in various N scale forums and groups is "is there a list of all N gauge models ever made?"

To which the answer is "no", but there are a number of sites providing comprehensive lists of models for particular manufacturers, subject areas etc.. This is a (incomplete and work-in-progress) "meta" list of such sites:

Other useful links:




Thursday, July 20, 2017   9:15 PM

Lima N gauge Class 31 D5518 (220209G)

The Lima N Gauge Class 31 from the 1980 Lima catalogue.

Lima Class 31 D5518 (220209G)

A much more recent photo:

 Lima Class 31 D5518

The first and worst rendering in N gauge of the Class 31 (Brush Type 2), an early (and relatively long-lived) modernisation plan diesel with the unique (for the UK) A1A-A1A wheel arrangement.

Inside it's the classic Lima chassis design:

Lima N gauge Class 31 D5518 (220209G) - chassis

Diecast metal chassis with the motorized bogie on the right, pickup bogie on the left

 

Lima N gauge Class 31 D5518 (220209G) - pickup bogie (underside)

Mmmmh, lovely thick pizza cutter wheels. The pickup arrangements is actually not too bad, with what look like brass pickups pressing down on the axles, and held in place by a small rim on each side. The screw which holds the body in place visible on the right.

 

Lima N gauge Class 31 D5518 (220209G) - driving bogie (underside)

The motorized bogie; the way the motor is mounted seems to make it impractical to power more than two axles.

 

Lima N gauge Class 31 D5518 (220209G) - driving bogie (motor)

The motor; the brass (?) strips on each end, which the wires are soldered to, reach around the motor block (see next photo). Not entirely sure what the purpose of the oval copper (?) strip in the centre is, it serves no electrical purpose and doesn't hold anything in place.

 

Lima N gauge Class 31 D5518 (220209G) - driving bogie (motor, brushes)

Motor from the other side; the brass strips wrap around from the other side, and hold two copper springs in place, which in turn secure the brushes against the motor and provide electrical contact.

 




Friday, March 10, 2017  11:26 PM

Replacing Arnold couplings with Kato ones

I recently aqcuired a rake of Kato Taki 1000 oil tank wagons (set 10-1167) to go with my EH-200, and while they're perfectly decent wagons the default Arnold couples really do stand out and look clunkier than usual. Normally I'm not too bothered by Arnold couplings and can "unsee" them, but these had to go - replaced by the Kato coupler (part number 11-707). Mildly fiddly to assemble and put in place, but they make a huge difference:

Kato Taki 1000s with Kato coupler




Sunday, March 5, 2017   5:19 AM

Introducing Engelscher Markt

I lived in Berlin for many years, and spend an awful lot of time near or passing through the station now known as "Hackescher Markt". It's one of a string of stations on Berlin's Stadtbahn, a 4-track brick-built viaduct running roughtly east-west through the city centre and was originally constructed as part of a scheme to link some of the terminus stations which had been built haphazardly by various private companies during the mid 19th century.

Originally I wasn't planning to do anything particularly German on my proposed layout, but a chance acquisition of some second-hand Faller viaduct sections during a visit to Berlin a while back got me thinking, and I realised I could sneak in a little viaduct station vaguely inspired by the Stadtbahn. The choice fell on Hackescher Markt because I'm familiar with it, moreover it has tramlines around it and I want trams on my layout anyway. However it won't be anything as grand as a proper model of the station - for a start there'll only be two tracks, not the two S-Bahn and 2 Fernbahn ones of the real version. The viaducts will be the relatively plain Faller ones, nothing like as fancy as the prototype, and I won't be attempting to model the rather handsome station hall either (partly as I want to actually see the trains and the layout behind the station).


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Sunday, March 5, 2017   4:24 AM

Models of Berlin's Stadtbahn

As previously mentioned I'm creating a station which is inspired by Berlin's Stadtbahn, and was wondering what models might already have been made of it.

The first obvious candidate is the layout at the former LOXX Berlin, which is centred around a somewhat compressed version of the Stadtbahn roughly between Zoo and Ostkreuz (which is happily captured in its original form). Some pictures in my Flickr album.

Also in Berlin is a model of the Stadtbahn between Marx-Engels-Platz and the former East Berlin Haupthbahnhof (now the Ostbahnhof), which pays particular attention to the tram system (YouTube video of this layout).

model shop in Weilheim (Upper Bavaria) presented these pictures of a customer's layout (shop sadly now closed and site unavailable, some pages in the Wayback Machine).

A German forum thread with some scratch-built structures: https://www.stummiforum.de/viewtopic.php?t=123403

And from the UK there's this blog with another (evidently never completed) take on the Stadtbahn, and this club layout under active development.

A British-built layout as a freelance depiction of part of Alexanderplatz Station and the Stadtbahn to the west of it: Youtube video (1); Youtube video (2).

Any other links or suggestions welcome.


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Saturday, January 14, 2017   1:50 AM

Dismantling a Tomix E1 power car (original tooling)

I recently acquired this very fine Tomix E1 Shinkansen, albeit as a 3 car set as part of a trainset pack ("SD Max 90010").

Tomix E1 Shinkansen (original livery)

Despite being around 20 years old, the set was in excellent condition - except one of the couplings on the power car was broken, and as it's an integral part of the bogie, not simple to repair.

Fortunately Tomix provide replacement bogies (part number 0494), so I hoped it would be a matter of removing the original bogie and installing the new one. Not being sure how the bogies were mounted I decided to strip it down as far as possible.

Step 1: remove body - it unclips fairly easily.

Step 1 - remove body

Step 2: remove grey undercarriage cover:

Step 2 - remove undercarriage

Step 3: remove interior/seating unit

Step 3 - remove interior/seating

This turned out not to be necessary, but we see the chassis is covered by a membrane strip (similar to MicroAce units) to protect the motor and electrically inslulate the monobloc chassis.

Having got this far, it became apparent that being a monobloc chassis, the bogies are designed to clip in place, and are held in position by the circular plastic "lip" at the top of the bogie tower. They can be removed with a bit of careful twiddling.

So far so good, but it turned out the the replacement bogie (lower left in the above picture) is of a subtly different design, presumably for a newer version of the tooling for the Tomix E1, and while it could be coerced into place, it didn't really fit and was clearly not suitable as an as-is replacement.

All was not lost, however - a bit of work with some nippers and a pin vise enabled me to bodge the new bogie's coupling attachment onto the old one, which looks ugly but isn't visible when the train is coupled.




Dan of The Farish Shed has, following a suggestion from my humble self, very kindly created a servicing guide for the Farish Poole-era class 25 (and class 33), an example of which I possess in a non-running state. I'm a bit stuck for time at the moment but I fully intend making use of it in the not too distant future. Meanwhile here's the locomotive in question:

poole-class-25-diesel-25326-catalogue-no-8305.jpg