Kato unitram

Dick’s been in touch – he has some plans for the kato unitram he has acquired:

“Okay, I have not progressed scenery wise, however; I have acquired a BLI Mikado with sound. It runs very nicely and is loud. I will need to tone it down.

Also acquired a complete Kato N scale Unitram layout with two sets of trams that will reside on the street level above the tracks in Chicago at the Union station.

Also received a huge castle that will sit up above the 4 track mainline going into the tunnel just before arriving in Denver.

3 more passenger stations have been added, a new one in Denver, one just before the tunnel on the U.P. and or Santa Fe line. That trackage actually deadends inside the tunnel and another station for the suburbs of Denver on the lower level.

Also have added some high rises along the beach by the Oakland passenger station.

The Kato unitram city scene will do double duty, being on street level in Chicago and also as our next Christmas tree layout for this coming Christmas season.

A new Kato passenger train will also run on the Christmas tree layout. It is a Christmas wrapped F40PH with 5 wrapped bi-level cars that were actually done in 2017 in chicago.

With my arm becoming more useful again, I hope to actually see some scenery progress.

Attachments include the latest track diagram of this big layout.


kato unitram

n scale

n scale

n scale

n scale

n scale station

n scale freight

kato unitram

n scale mountains

 n scale river gorge

A huge thanks to Dick for sharing his third layout. Can’t wait to see that kato unitram on Christmas duty.

If you missed the other two, they are here.

You can also see Dick’s earlier posts on his N scale here too.

That’s all for today folks.

Please do keep ’em coming.

And if today is the day you get started on your layout, the Beginner’s Guide is here.



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

PPS More N scale layouts here if that’s your thing.

22 Responses to Kato unitram

  1. Getting better each time Dick

  2. Robert Brady says:

    Dick ; Why didn’t you finish the murals on the wall before installing buildings ? Also with all that room you have why did you choose N scale over HO ?
    Over all it looks like it will be a busy railroad and a lot of labor intensive work putting down landscape in among the already established buildings and tracks.
    The Critic

  3. DJfromNJ says:

    Nice work, Dick. Can hardly wait to see this huge layout develop. Lots of potential (and work) ahead. Do keep us updated, please.

  4. Frank says:

    Wow, that a major sized layout and it look like once you’re done you will be running some long trains.

    Next time I’d like to know what you are using as the base. It looks like maybe MDF and foam insulation with a coat of brown paint.

    Look interesting.

    Frank in Orlando

  5. Erick says:

    Pretty neat. I wish i had more room.

  6. Gary M from Long Island says:

    Wow Dick….. a lot of progress and a lot going on. You have a lot of work ahead of you….enjoy it

  7. Rob McCrain says:

    Dick your layout has tremendous possibilities. It is an impressive track plan and seeing it at this stage it drips with potential. Best of luck with it. When you get further along it would be great to see it again. Rob McCrain – Farland Howe

  8. Ted Rothstein says:

    I used to use mirrors in long yard areas. Looked cool

  9. AJ Romano says:

    Ground floor I hope. That thing is going to be heavier than a grand piano.
    Fun for long consists. Good luck.

  10. Bad Bill says:

    Looks great! What are the overall dimensions of the layout?

  11. Calvin says:

    Looks great. I appreciate the layout drawing. I like the concept of a “busy” railroad layout.

  12. welder dave says:

    Thats the thing about N gauge long trains in a big space looks realistic !

  13. Christopher Clarkson says:

    i love your layout. it looks so realistic.

  14. Krish says:

    Hello Dick,
    Wow, this is a layout!
    May I know what flex track have you used with Kato?
    Krish from Northern Virginia

  15. Richard Chapple Sr says:

    Thanks for all the comments and input guys. It really helps me stay motivated to improve and continue to enjoy our hobby.
    Hi Bad Bill: I have dimensions on the drawing put since I reduced the drawing the letters got pretty small. Outside dimensions are 10’8″ along the Chicago wall, 23′ 8″ along the back wall and 24′ along the long wall. The aisle is 18′ by 3′.
    J.L. and Frank: Hi guys, the whole layout is very light. I had built 24 tables for my portable G scale setup years ago to be strong, and light and all the same size. 3′ by 6′ and 4 tables 2′ by 8′. Legs are detachable and interchangeable. Table top is the 3 ply underlayment used for laying floors. All assembled with glue and screws. 1″ foam is laid on top of all tables. Mountain is all foam. Table frames are ripped 2 x 4’s. I do not setup my huge portable G scale layout anymore so these tables were repurposed.
    Bob Brady: Thanks for your excellent questions regarding HO rather than N. And doing the murals. My grandest of plans was to have a building to display layouts of every scale. I had gathered a lot of trains in every scale from Standard down to Z. The building never happened. So….since our basement is taken up by a G scale layout, the backyard in riding scale, the garage was really full of all scales. Initially I was going to use this space to do another G scale setup, so I sold all of the Standard, O27, S, On30, HO, and Z scale trains. I really liked the Kato passenger trains I already had, and after reading some mystery novels by Janet Dawson who knew everything about the California Zephyr and Zephyrettes inspired me to use the California Zephyr as the theme for this railroad. Now this was only going to be a 3′ by 6′ layout….hahahaha…right…next thing I knew after drawing tons of track plans, the layout turned into this monster. A wonderful layout in HO could indeed be made in this space too. I gave it a lot of thought. A main concern of mine was to be sure if needed, that a wheelchair can move about along the layout which is why I chose this table layout and set the height to be viewed nicely while seated.
    None of the buildings are fixed on the layout, so I will have no problems with doing scenery.
    The backdrops are all within easy reach with the exception of 6′ that will pretty much be all mountainous. I am still trying to decide how I want the backdrops to look.
    Right now I am very happy to be able run long passenger trains and freight trains forwards and backwards through all of the track free of derailments.
    I am inspired to try to achieve at least some realism that so many of you have done and are willing to share with us on Al’s site.
    If someone has a thought of what they would do on this layout that would improve any area please holler. This layout can stand tons of improvements for sure. I will never get finished I suppose but my imagination sure can fill in a lot of void as the layout progresses. This is all DCC NCE PRO cab with four divisions and four people could operate at the same time, one at each city.
    Oh yes, Bob B., I do have a small collection of HO that is SP&S RR specific, I will do a switching layout maybe 2′ by up to somewhere around 16 to 24′ centered around activity at possibly Wishram Washington. My Granddad was an engineer operating between Wishram Washington and Portland Oregon. So nothing gigantic on this one. I have a friend 5 blocks down the street from me that is building a wonderful HO layout based on an area served by the New Haven RR as he was an engineer for the New Haven. I can run my HO on his layout and he can run his N scale on mine.
    Hey everyone, let’s keep Al real busy.

  16. Richard Chapple Sr says:

    Hi Welder Dave: Agreed, another reason I went N as an HO train of 11 cats would be mighty long.
    Thank you Christopher, you’re very kind.
    Krish: I had a few sticks of Atlas so used them where needed.
    Rob: I do hope to get farther along and post progress.
    Thanks again for all for your comments.

  17. CARL ANGDAHL says:

    Loved the “explanations”. You really seemed to be more organized than most of us. What an undertaking you have there. Any idea of how much track (length) you have there? In the pictures the layout seems to be fairly level. Is that true? More to come I hope. Oh, and where are you located?

  18. Richard Chapple Sr says:

    Hi Carl: On track length yes: There is 600 actual feet of track on the layout, 58 number 6 turnouts, and two double crossovers. Each mainline track is 200 feet long. All told, just shy of 20 scale miles of track. I just noticed that a mainline return crossover is not shown in Chicago. Yes the layout is fairly flat. The mainlines climb out of Denver on the way to Salt Lake City then drops down coming into SLC. Then after it leaves SLC, it once again climbs up as it heads toward Oakland, then drops down into Oakland. Both climbs are only 2″ from ground zero.
    I do hope to have more to come. We live in a little town, Hardin Montana USA.

  19. Robert Brady says:

    Richard C SR. I can’t help but notice how kind and considerate and very informative you are and take all comments in stride.
    Can’t wait to see a video of this project
    The Critic

  20. i enjoyed seeing this site i love trains i have a n gage layout im working on iim in hooksett nh

  21. hello im larry i love trains ihave a n gage layout half done im working on it

  22. Colin Banks says:

    nice to see the track plan looks good and has given me something to help with my new attic layout i am about to start on nice to see the dimensions of the base board
    be nice if others did the same for people starting out and thinking about size of build space with a free running line / lines and a working area, the free running lines on this plan are well worked for a 6 train dcc system and has helped me get my head round the space i have to build on

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