Kato Unitrack N Scale Track Discussion

Hardcoaler Jul 6, 2017

  1. bremner

    bremner Staff Member

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    Ok, I have to ask, anyone have real pictures of the Unitram stuff? I am afraid to shell out $200 on an oval
     
  2. RBrodzinsky

    RBrodzinsky Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    I don't have any, but do a Google Images search on Kato Unitram Layouts.
     
  3. bremner

    bremner Staff Member

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    I have, all that I see are the Japanese version...was hoping for the American version
     
  4. NorsemanJack

    NorsemanJack TrainBoard Member

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    I think don't think they've ever been imported by KatoUSA. You can find them on ebay from sellers in Japan. Also, check those same sellers' "storefronts."
     
  5. bremner

    bremner Staff Member

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  6. DrMb

    DrMb TrainBoard Member

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    Any idea if Kato has plans to release a cobblestone version of the unitram system?
     
  7. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

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    I'd love to see single-track Unitram lengths, as they'd be perfect for street track in an urban scene. In any case though, it's a cool product line.
     
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  8. RBrodzinsky

    RBrodzinsky Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    My thought, exactly. Also, even light rail systems sometimes split to single track per street, especially on one-way streets. Of course, isn't THAT difficult to "pave" single track Unitrack.
     
  9. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

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    Looking at product photos, I'm wondering if it'd be possible to carefully sever a double-track piece down the middle to yield two single track straight sections. The perfect flange pathways would remain intact, though a bit of restoration with Plastruct strip might be required along the cut line.

    [​IMG]
     
  10. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

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    As I mess with my trackplan, I'm faced with two poor choices for my reverse loop (which is essential to the design):
    • A mostly straight shorter grade of 3.5% out in the open
    • A 9-3/4" radius curve of 180 Deg. with a longer grade of 2.5% hidden in an (accessible) tunnel
    I feel like a 1:1 Scale Railroad Surveyor. Which poison would you choose? :sick: I'm running 40 FT and 50 FT equipment with mu'd 1960s and 1970s era diesels with train lengths of a dozen cars. The reverse loop can be run via either direction, upgrade and downgrade, so perhaps the gradient doesn't matter other than appearance. Thoughts? I'm staring at my track plan trying to find a third choice ......
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2017
  11. RBrodzinsky

    RBrodzinsky Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    The key to planning a reverse section is to figure out your longest possible train, and make sure it fits. As soon as you have something towards the rear which needs power (passenger car, lighted caboose, helper engine) you need to ensure you do not bridge both ends of the section simultaneously.

    Neither of those grades are optimal, the steeper worst.
     
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  12. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

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    Good point on the maximum train length Rick -- I haven't taken a close look at that. I think my longest train will fit with either choice, but the short straight track/steep grade option wouldn't allow much leeway.
     
  13. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

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    I measured things and it's as I guessed -- my average train would fit on the short straight track/steep grade route, but without any extra capacity for even one more car. I may also use the reverse loop as an ersatz siding. I think my best choice is the longer/tight radius curve/low grade route. Rick, thanks for helping me to think this through.
     
  14. Maletrain

    Maletrain TrainBoard Member

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    Actually, all you need is metal wheels on a car somewhere back in the train to bridge the other gap while your engine hits the forward gap. Sometimes, when trying to make compact layouts, it is hard to make the reversing section long enough. And, wyes can be especially difficult to make long enough.

    My solution has been to use manual reversing on a section of track that is long enough to contain all of my locomotives on a single train. The trick is to surround that section with 2 other sections, each of which is either dead track or live with the polarity that matches the reversing section (and thus also matches the track on its other side, too). The "surround" sections need only to be long enough to contain my longest car. I can then stop my engine(s) on the reversing section and manually throw a quad-pole-double-throw switch that reverses polarity on the center section and kills power to the section the locos arrived on while energizing the section they will leave on. That way, no electrical short circuits can occur. This also has the advanage that the train will stop at the deaed section if you forget to do the reverse operation manually. But, this is not going to work if you have locos with large "keep-alive" capacitors in them and you forget to do the reversing operation manually.

    It is not a convenient solution if you have sound-equipped locos that go through a start-up routine where they stand still and make noise for a while before moving whenever power is lost and restored. And, it is not convenient when trying to do continuous running on a loop-to-loop layout. But, I find it great for making compact yard and staging areas where I need to reverse whole trains manually.
     
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  15. railnut49

    railnut49 TrainBoard Member

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    How does Bachman track compare to Kato's unitrak? Also what is the cost difference? I've built a T trak layout that sits on a hollow core door. As there are no
    Other folks into T trak here i was wondering about the bachman track.
     
  16. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

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  17. railtwister

    railtwister TrainBoard Member

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    Bachmann's track is OK for the most part, but the "hooks" that hold the pieces together are not replaceable, plus they stick out more, so are likely to get broken off, especially during transport. They aren't so cheaply priced and don't have the variety Kato offers. Stick with the Kato, you won't save enough using Bachmann to be worth it.

    Bill in FtL
     
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  18. railnut49

    railnut49 TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks for the great advice. You saved me a lot of trouble.

    Railnut
     

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