Hiroshima tram station – plan in N scale

I know I’ve mentioned this tram station before. I’m still really fascinated with this really cool tram terminal and it remains very high on my list of layouts I’d like to build some day.

Since Thursday, I’ve been sick with one of the worst cases of a flu I’ve ever had. I’ve had a lot of time, in and around the couch, to reflect on layouts, life and just about everything. Since I’ve been having so much fun with these micro layouts lately I figured I’d have a go at actually seeing how well it would fit into a micro layout space in N scale. I’m not really sure what scale I’d actually build my version in. I still have a massive collection of traction equipment in N scale but sometimes I think a copy in G might be really fun and could easily be done using LGB switches and crossings. Anyway, here’s a screenshot of the N scale version I drew:
In most of the smaller scales I think the biggest challenge will be building the diamond within the double-crossover. In particular, in N scale, this is some really finicky trackwork. Here’s a snapshot of the diamond to show all those finicky pieces of rail you’d need to cut and fit.
Of course, I’ve been looking around for an excuse to buy some of the tramway track that Andy Reichert has in his Easy Street track system. This stuff looks really cool on the website and would be much simpler, for me at least, than trying to fabricate all this from raw rail. For more info on Andy’s system, check out the website here:


Newcastle Tram Terminal mock-up

Yup. Couldn’t resist. I printed out the PDF of the tram turnouts and taped it to my 6×24″ base “just to see”. Here’s how it looks with my prized Model Power 4-wheelers putting in a cameo.

Newcastle Haymarket Tram Terminal turnouts PDF

Click on the image to download a full scale plan for the turnouts section

Newcastle Haymarket – N scale tram terminal

It’s been a very crazy (i.e. stressful) day at the office and I just needed something to occupy my mind. Not that I really wanted another reason to spend more time in front of a keyboard but I did figure maybe I could just sit in front of the machine long enough to do something in AutoCAD. I find drafting really therapeutic which is nice when I just need something to do.

Since I’m still musing about Ian Futers-style of layout planning and I had my N scale tram track templates already done I figured I’d try out a minimum space version of his Newcastle Haymarket as a tram terminal. I did need to create a block for a wye turnout and I’m not sure how to design the point blades – any ideas?

Here’s what I have with some basic dimensions. Not sure where the overhead goes on this plan. Minimum spacing between the tracks is 1-1/2″. If you’d like, just leave a Comment below and I’ll post a full scale PDF of the plan you could print out. While I did draw this to build my own trackwork you could easily replicate most of this using Tomix’s Fine Track range for a minimal cost.

Tramway Trails – check it out

I was just checking my email and I saw a note in there from WordPress notifying me of a comment on a blog post. I think it’s neat that you can track a comment back to it’s author and ultimately to their own blog in some cases. This evening’s comment is just such an event.

I thought I’d take a look at Tramway Trails and add a link to the blog over on my own links list for future reference. I see he’s just started playing around with the new Tomytec bus system and it looks, to me, like another vote to order some parts of the system for my own collection. I’m really looking forward to seeing how he gets along with the bus system and reading more of his observations. Why am I so fascinated with this system? I think it best to quote from his blog post on the system:

Once I’d figured out how to put the automatic stop together, it added a whole new dimension. The bus can be set to run automatically, stopping each lap for about 10 seconds, then moving off again. This left me to drive the tram, stopping to connect with the bus, reversing every so often – a good old fashioned play in other words!

Funny how afraid we are of that word “play” but I can’t think of many ways to enjoy the hobby that would be more fun than the scenario he’s described and that kind of joy is something we should all be experiencing in this hobby. Looks like it’s time to pop over to ebay.ca or Hobby World Japan to see if they have any bus system parts in stock. Perhaps I’ll just order a power unit and try fitting it inside a diecast bus from my own collection.

Thanks Jim.

First Tram Turnout

I sat down today and did some drafting based on my first turnout idea. This is based on the same theory I’ve been playing around with for straight and curved track and per the photos and samples I’ve been posting here already.

Not really having any preference regarding radius I went with 140mm to match Tomix’s Fine Track range. This works out to about 5-1/2″ radius and should accomodate Bachmann’s Peter Witt trolley and Green Max’s Green Mover Max. I hatched in the single point blade almost exactly as I’ve built them before and placed the single blade on the inside of the curve. My one area of concern is around the frog and I wonder if I should open that area up a little more? The image posted below is not to scale. I have a PDF of this that I can email to you or just post to the blog if you’re interested in printing the drawing out to play around with. Let me know what you think. Thanks!

not to scale - Comment below or email if you'd like a PDF of this

Brick scribing template

To go in and around the rails of my street track I thought I’d create a quick template. The idea here being to tape the template down to my work surface then tape a sheet of styrene smaller than the template to the template itself. Then I’d be able to use a the lines from the template to help me to line up the steel straight edge I scribe against. Looking at shots of brick/cobble-paved trackage in Halifax and Nova Scotia it sure looks, to me, like they fit about 5 full bricks between the rails. It seems that in N scale we always make things a little larger so I tried scaling that dimension up about 20% and find that they do in fact, to my eyes at least, look better.

Click on the image below to download a PDF copy of the template if you’d like to try it out.

the square in the bottom left corner should be 1" square when the sheet is printed

Installing resin tram track – the idea

Here’s how I think I’d install this trackage on a layout:

  1. Prepare a finished baseboard surface. Ideally this should be reasonably smooth – something like MDF would be superb if the weight were acceptable.
  2. Mark out on the layout surface the track plan. I think I’ll make up a pile of printable PDF templates and just paste them to the layout’s surface. Each template (pattern) would show the footprint for one casting.
  3. Attach the castings to the layout surface using something like contact adhesive.
  4. Once all the castings are in place the rails and feeder wires can be added in as required. Use the longest lengths of rails possible to reduce the number of rail joints

Since the panels are simple resin castings they can be easily cut and shaped to match custom locations (e.g. “What if I only need a half-length?”) The goal here is to produce something more homogeneous than I can do with a bucket of plaster and a glass of beer. In many ways I think this will work much like the sectional track systems, including Tomix’s, that we are already quite familiar with. The advantage, to me, here is that this paving is already in place and there is no challenge to fill in the spike/tie area as these castings have a continuous flangeway cast in place (no air gap under the “between the rails” paved area).

Some dimensions – resin tram track

In my previous two posts I should have included some basic dimensions that I’ve been using in that first model. Here goes:

  • Designed to accept rail from Atlas flex track. Would accept any code 80 rail with a rail base of no more than 1.5mm
  • Flangeway width is 1.0mm
  • Flangeway depth is 1.5mm

In the SketchUp! drawing shown in the previous post you can clearly see the inside faces of the flangeway protruding above the top surface of the paved area. I did this to provide enough depth to permit the addition of  a paving surface. I’ll be scribing some 0.5mm styrene with a cobble-like surface. Once glued into place these two raised strips will be almost flush with the actual top surface of the paving area leaving a 0.5mm gap between the top of the paving and the top of the rails – hopefully this is sufficient to clear most gearboxes, etc. This depth should also permit enough clearance so when the rails are being polished you aren’t accidentally removing paint, etc. from the paving area.

On either side of the rails I’ve provided 5.0mm space to extend the paving over. I’ll be adding cobbles here too.

The production version explained

Further to the pictures I’ve just posted online I thought I’d work up another sketch using Sketch-Up to help illustrate how I see this idea working and to help with my explanation of what I’ve made.

In essence this is a street trackage adaptation of the theory that Peco applied in the design of their 2mm “finescale” track series. Peco was able to use the taller code 80 and simply buried deeper into the sleepers so the exposed amount appeared to be code 55 rail. My motivation is borne as much from a finescale desire as it is to make better use of what materials I can get here on PEI. N scale is really hard to get but you can usually get code 80 Atlas flex track so my “system” is designed around that. In the drawing about the rail’s base rests in the red area. The flangeway is shaded in blue above. The shallower trough for the rails controls the gauge of the track and was measured using my NMRA standards gauge as my guide.

Since my intent is to cast the sections I’ll need for my layout in resin I figure I’ll just cast a bunch and glue them onto the layout’s surface. Once they’re all in place I’ll just come along with lengths of rail and glue that rail into place as I go. Tonight I made my first test piece of straight track, next I’ll work on getting some representation of paving onto a straight section. Once I’m content with that I’ll cast a test piece. Next up will be a curved section and finally a turnout. I have sketches of how to go about those sections as well so all I need is the time.

I think I’ve got something here. Now to get on with it.


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