Jun 2010

Kato’s New Buildings

Kato’s four new tower buildings are available now in Japan, and mine just arrived. Although these aren’t modular (like Kato’s older towers), and the signs are all pre-attached, these are still very nice structures. Two very interesting details came to light once I had them.

Riverside Station Subway Foam

And finally, work begins on the Riverside Station scene in earnest. The initial focus will be on getting the Rapid/Shinkansen tracks operational. This is the outer loop, that crosses this scene in the front, running above the subway station at the right end of the scene. To do that, foam for the left portion needs to be shaped and painted, which is relatively simple (and was mostly done this weekend, although there’s still a bit of green to be added after some of the primer dries).

The real work will be getting the roof over the subway station built (and putting in the Subway station itself). This hasn’t been done yet, although the plan is final: a strip of foam will form the riverbank, and hold up one edge of a sheet of 0.080” (2mm) styrene that forms the roof of the station as well as the roadbed of the Rapid/Shinkansen tracks. The front edge will be held up by a half-inch strip of 1/8” aluminum supported on wooden posts, just over the cut-out “windows” that provide a view of the subway.

More Electrical Work

Rather than turning my attention immediately to the Riverside Station scene, I decided to get the electrical systems ready for the eventual use of the two “ground level” loops, which will require DCC. And that meant I needed to finalize my plans. And although most of them had been worked out last year, and revised (in my head if nowhere else) over the winter, there was still a bit of planning needed before I was ready to start cutting wire. This had to encompass the DCC systems (both power and the LocoNet control bus) as well as the various power strips to supply them, and some additional power supplies for eventual LED lighting. I’d started thinking more intensely about this while I was working on the wiring recently, but needed to bring that to conclusion and write down the results.

Subway First Run

Sunday, 13 June 2010 was an historic day for Sumida Crossing. After the track was all cleaned and re-installed, and the wiring completed, it was time for the trains to take a run. The actual first loop was done by a “maintenance of way” train (actually an old Atlas B23 I was willing to sacrifice if I’d made some horrible wiring error). That done, I broke out the East-i E Inspection Train, and had it take a run to check out the pantograph clearance and general track usability. And I recorded it and made a short video.

Subway Track Cleanup, Etc.

This weekend went largely to the beginning of the final (I hope) laying of the subway track, which has been in place, in whole or in part, through more than six months of construction. As a result, it has gotten a bit dirty. All track was pulled up, cleaned with isopropyl alcohol on a cotton pad, and relaid. At the same time, insulated unijoiners (black, in the photo above) were inserted to divide the track into electrical blocks (for power feeds and future occupancy detectors) and power feeds were wired up to terminal strips under the table. I didn’t get it all done, perhaps a bit more than half, but I should be able to finish it during the week and run trains by next weekend.

Inspection Train

One of the reasons I like to collect Japanese trains is that they have such a variety of forms. Although a few models, such as the E231 commuter trains, are commonplace, a plethora of different-looking trains can be seen in and around Tōkyō on a daily basis.

One of the more distinctive trains out there is known as “Doctor Yellow”, a bright-yellow Shinkansen (bullet train) used to inspect the high-speed lines. There are actually two Doctor Yellows in existence at present. These could be seen in Tōkyō, inspecting the Tōkaidō Shinkansen line. JR East also has it’s own inspection train, (although it is white rather than yellow, and is called “East-i”), which is used on the lines running north and north-west from Tōkyō. JR East’s train is based on the E3 Mini-Shinkansen, allowing it to inspect both Shinkansen and conventional lines converted to standard-gauge.