Apr 2011

Kato Passenger Platforms and V15 Track Set

Passenger trains are boarded from areas alongside the track called “platforms”. As the name implies, these are often elevated structures at the height of the interior of the passenger car. Although “ground level” platforms, usually roughly level with the top of the rail, are fairly common on light-rail systems and North American commuter and rural stations, in Japan the “high level” platforms at car-floor height are nearly universal.

Kato makes a number of high-level platform elements that go along with their Unitrack and various station models. These are broadly divided into side platforms, where the platform is beside one track, and island platforms, where the platform is sandwiched between two tracks. These are all based around the standard Unitrack length of 248mm (9 3/4 inches), although the ends come in varying length. And the width of 41mm is designed to allow the island platforms to work with either Kato’s #4 or #6 switches, which widen track out to a 66mm center-to-center spacing between main line and siding when used with the correct track. For a list of all of these platform elements, diagrams of the track configurations used with them, and photographs of the platform types, see my Passenger Platforms page.

Kato E5 Shinkansen

My newest train is the new Kato model of the E5 “Hyabusa” Shinkansen (bullet train). This is, or more accurately will be, Japan’s fastest train. It began operating in March of 2011 on the Tōhoku Shinkansen line in northern Japan at speeds up to 300 kph (186 mph), and has a top speed of 320 kph (199 mph), which it will start using in 2013. The train operates a limited-stop service under the name Hyabusa (which means Perigrine Falcon), linking Tōkyō to the very northern tip of Japan’s main island of Honshu, a distance of 675 km (419 miles) in just 3 hours and ten minutes. That’s an average speed of 213 km/hr (132 mph) including station stops.

Miscellany and March 2011 Status

March was another of those “not much obvious happened” months. I did manage to get the layout back together, with two of the circuit-breaker/block-occupancy-detector systems wired up. And I installed some lighting in the Subway Station as a test. But I still don’t have the track back together and operational (I’m waiting on some more DCC electronics on order). In the meantime, I’ve amused myself with several things and some work on the website as I plan my next moves.

First, I’ve taken more photographs of the Overhead Transit Station (photo above) and the associated platforms I’m using on the Urban Station scene, and updated my pages for it and for the Unitrack platforms. The photos were also added to the Stations photo album. Once I get the Riverside Station track operational, I’m going to be turning my attention to the Urban Station for a time (and as noted last time I’ve added a page about the Urban Station itself). I have some new track (Kato’s new V15 20-874 set and 20-875 single-track concrete-tie track) on order for that, about which more after it arrives. I really like the combination of the Overhead Station (and expansion for a second platform), the new platforms, and the V15 set; this makes for a really nice modern-looking station.

I’ve also done some more testing of DC power packs, checking out the behavior of pulsed power on motor temperatures (no effect that I could measure) and examining yet another power pack. The notes on both have been added to the DC Power Pack page. Photos were added to the Electronics photo album.

And I built another of Don’s LOLBoosters, and ran some tests for him. Not much to say on that, but I added a couple of photos and some text to my page on it.