Jump to content

New Year New Layout: Hakone Tozan Line


Recommended Posts

Hi all,

 

I've built a few model railways over the years but haven't touched any of them for quite a while. One that I started but never finished was a model of the Enoden so I have a bit of history with Japanese N gauge and the bug appears to have bitten again.

 

I'm in the planning/experimentation stage for a model of the Hakone Tozan Mountain Climbing Railway. It's extraordinarily pretty:

 

Hakone Tozan Railway

Link to photo on Flickr by rainbow_bread

 

It also has several interesting switchbacks and a very close distance between adjacent tracks. I don't know exactly what I'm doing plan-wise but I'm pretty keen to have one of the switchbacks (and maybe just that?) So the first thing was to figure out how that would work.

 

None of the commercial track systems have pointwork that fits together so closely, but Peco's small radius turnouts are about right in curvature. I thought I'd see if I could modify them as the idea of laying my own track is way too scary.

 

I cut the rail with an etched saw, which was very neat but quite hard on the saw teeth. I had to re-cut them with a file after each turnout!

 

49354502673_215c73f333_b.jpg

49354502873_f49bc2cd61_b.jpg


With the rail out of the way it was easy to saw and clip away the sleeper web, although a bit mind-mangling thinking about how the mirror image cuts would fit together.

 

49355167917_7a4c7087d6_b.jpg

49355168122_b1ffdfdd6c_b.jpg

 

Then repeat all the steps and use a file to true up the edges so the turnouts fit together into a crossover.

 

49354953671_ce500a01df_b.jpg

49355168522_35ca5137b0_b.jpg

 

Makes quite a big difference compared to the unmodified crossover!

 

49354187592_f5306bb0dd_b.jpg

 

and my Tomix EMU negotiates it happily enough :)

 

49354182202_29d8a121f9_b.jpg

 

I've made up both crossovers now, so have enough for one switchback. But I'll need to trim them back at the other ends when I figure out how long they actually need to be :)

 

Hopefully some more interesting/less technical stuff to come, i.e. scenics, but I've got a fair bit to do first. Track plan is probably the big one, I need to decide between a single module, potential future modules, or something that captures more features of the real thing but is a bit more caricatured? 

 

Cheers,

 

Will

 

  • Like 9
Link to post
Share on other sites

   Hello Will... Ive never been to Japan, someday though as it is on the Bucket list. However I am familiar with the rail line your building, from travel programs and documentaries. I agree it is quite unique and some great background scenery. Im going to follow if you don't mind ? 
 

Dennis

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, Corsairfoxfouruncle said:

   Hello Will... Ive never been to Japan, someday though as it is on the Bucket list. 

Neither have I (apart from a stopover in an airport hotel twenty years ago!) and it's definitely on my bucket list too. No. 1 daughter has started learning Japanese at school so we may have a handy translator in a year or two :)

 

Follow away, I would be insane to mind! Hopefully I can keep progress going (I've been trimming the ugly bits off the points, but I need to make some replacement timbers.)

 

W

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I did the other half of the crossover, and have been removing some of the "Peco cruft" from around the tie bars.

 

49366042817_26e099bba4_b.jpg

 

I need to add some replacement sleepers between the rails where I've removed the Peco locking spring housings - these are moulded in a sort of mechanical box which doesn't have much relationship to reality. When you remove the spring you can clip it away, but there's not a sleeper moulded there so it looks a bit weird otherwise.


49365827426_e8fd4b548c_b.jpg

 

At the same time I cut away about a cm from the toes of the facing points, which gives six sleepers between the facing tie bars. This seems to match the prototype (see above) but it might be possible to shorten by another sleeper? It's hard to count them as all the pictures I've found are from low angles.

 

There's a bit more to do on the cleaning up - like filling in the notches in the timbers on either side of the tiebar - and then I can look at wiring/soldering up the complete crossover unit. Because I've removed the springs I'll need to use turnout motors or some other locking mechanism to replace them. The plan at the moment is some kind of micro-servo system so I can automate things. I've used Tortoise motors before and they're excellent, but they're really too big for this layout.

 

Cheers,

 

Will 

  • Like 5
Link to post
Share on other sites

Cheers Andy, I think they look a bit heavy in the picture but they'll improve dramatically when painted and ballasted. the Hakone ballast is pretty much flush with the tops of the sleepers which will help disguise the rather unsubtle code 55 track.

 

W

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I’ll pull up a chair too if you don’t mind Will?  I’m fortunate enough to have travelled on Japan’s railways many times though not this particular one.  I have to say that everything you hear about their punctuality is true - it is a quite remarkable transport system.  Really tidy work with that point work!

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 weeks later...

Sorry about the gap, I tend to have a bit of a modelling slump in January anyway, and I'm still debating about the Hakone track plan.

 

49457939641_84f3cb35c1_b.jpg

 

This is quite close to a (compressed) version of reality. In real life, the downhill (lower) line from the switchback turns CW to meet the bridge roughly parallel to the switchback itself. Having it descend ACW inside a tunnel makes it easier to open the angle between the bridge and switchback which should help with fitting what is in real life a *massive* gorge onto a two-foot wide baseboard without it being horribly caricatured.

 

In other news I sprained my thumb (hopefully just sprained) crossing a ditch at an orienteering training camp so some of the more physical aspects of modelling (scraping and sanding) are a bit painful at the moment.

 

I suspect the thing to do is to make my mind up about point control and get an order in. I don't want to use Tortoises as while they're really good, they're also enormous. Tam Valley in the US has a nice setup using SG90 micro servos with mounts and a controller board, that might be the way to go. I could roll my own but I suspect it'll end up costing almost as much and probably not work as well as a bought one!

 

Cheers,

 

Will

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

Signing up to follow this one. I rode the Tozan in 2015 and will look forward to seeing it in miniature.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 month later...

Sorry there hasn't been much happening here, the place I get my timber from closed since the last time I did a layout and I need to find an alternative. Most DIY stores have the right things but terrible cutting services 😕

 

W

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 months later...

Hi, I took this train a number of times when I lived in Tokyo in the 1990's so I'll follow its development. Good luck. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 7 months later...

That's really cool to hear. I think it's out of commission at the moment following a bad storm/landslide but not completely sure.

 

I have acquired some baseboard materials and now need to figure out how to drive the points. The Tortoise motors used to be easy to get locally but have completely dried up with COVID shortages, so maybe I need to try micro servos as I can at least get hold of those?

 

Cheers,

 

Will

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...