As I don’t have enough room at home to make a permanent layout and I’m sometimes frustrated by not being able to work on scenery, I thought working on a mini tram layout would be a good idea! So… I needed a tram! A gift from my girlfriend for my birthday!
It’s an articulated tram manufactured by Kato. It has front, tail and internal lights and can run on Finetrack’s shortest radius: 103mm. Which makes my planned mini-layout only 27cm wide.
This tram runs in the city of Toyama, Toyama prefecture, Japan since december 2009 and is operated by Chitetsu. It comes in many liveries (White, Silver and Black) and runs on one of the three light rail lines of Chitetsu inside Toyama city.image credit: Wikimedia Commons
I have to admit I’m not “related” at all to this tram: I’ve never seen it in real and never even set a foot in Toyama. But I needed a tram for a mini layout and I thought it looked really nice, especially in silver.
Kato seemed to have a nice success with it’s tram tracks and the Portram model. But I was not a huge fan of the color scheme of the Portram. This one combines silver and black and light green-tinted windows.
I enjoyed a lot the articulated “accordion” part in the middle. It seems not particularly fragile as you could think it would be. And it allows the tram to negotiate the tightest Tomix radius: 103mm.Here on the 103mm curves. It looks like it could negotiate an even tighter curve.
I was surpirised to see the internal lights when I ran it for the first time. It’s perfect for this kind of rolling stock but as usual with internal lights: it looks a bit sad with nobody inside… Adding N scale people inside could be a trouble as the floor is really high because you know: they have to but the mechanics somewhere. I’ll probably give it a try someday, but it’s not a priority… At least as long as the layout is not completed!
Because it is a tram, I wasn’t expecting it to run fast: it does not. But it sure runs perfectly. Smooth, silent and really stable. A real pleasure to see it slide on the rails.
It’s definitely a nice model even if it’s not a breathtaking one (nothing to do with the excitation of a new Shinkansen ;-) ). I’d really love to finish or at least progress a little bit on my layout to see this one running in the decor, entering a tunnel and running an a miniature city!
What I like:
- Cute short tram
- Internal lighting
- Accordion :-)
What I don’t like
- not much…
- doesn’t have the charm of older more rustic tramways
- Operated by: Chitetsu (Toyama Chihō Railway)
- Country: Japan
- Type: Tramway
- Service started: December 23rd, 2009
- Operating speed: 40km/h