It’s been a while, but I have been spending some time here and there with the Railroad. I got my hands on a box of casting material (mesh fabric with plaster worked into it), used wire mesh to shape the landscape, draped the casting material over it and sprayed it with water to set it. So far, I have rock hard terrain with a nice amount of randomness and its fairly lightweight.
Also, I invested in a box full of Kato Unitrack, an additional pair of switches, and a Passenger Station!
The Unitrack runs as smooth as butter, and its switches are equally nice. the Atlas track that makes up the upper section and the white arch bridge is not near as dependable. Someday I hope to go ahead and upgrade that to Unitrack as well. Two engines pulling together are able to move that load up the hill, but it does slow it down significantly. I guess that makes it more realistic. For now the spur line that runs on the inboard side of the passenger station has no power, I cut the power feed to it in preparation to install a cut off switch at that position. I want to be able to park a passenger train there while the freight train is operating.
This passenger station is also made by Kato. It is quite similar to stations that I saw while visiting Japan. The passenger service on this layout will be based on those commuter lines running in the Kobe – Kyoto area that I rode on on those visits. Hopefully I can also get my hands on a Shinkansen (bullet train) though I don’t think I want the whole 16 car set. Tomix and Kato both sell Shinkansen sets of 3 or 4 cars, capable of plenty of speed! Interestingly, those sets don’t use a powered locomotive. Instead the center car is the one with the motor, and the others are simply weighted for balance and speed.