Seibu Shinjuku

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This large layout was built by Mr. Anthony Mc. Diarmid in about 1990 and became a catalist in the founding of the Japanese Railway Society. It was on display at several model railway exhibitions in England, mainly in the greater London area. Now the layout has been scrapped, only the Seibu terminus is salvaged. It is now stored for some future use.

The layout is some 13 by 8 feet in size, the baseboards being arranged into an 'L' shape. The layout is double-decked design, on the lower level there are 3 storage yards and some parts are visible to simulate through tracks. Everything gets clear when you see the track plan of the layout.

A Seibu Railway commuter train on its way through Tokyo.

The layout depicts part of central Tokyo, the capital of Japan. The city is filled with a dense network of railways, both (formerly) state-owned and private lines, all routes can be on ground level, underground and elevated on viaducts. Construction of both elevated and underground line is very expennsive in Japan, due to the high risk of earthquakes. All elevated and underground structures need special measures to resist the forces of an earthquake. On the layout there are 2 lines of the national system (JR East) and one private (Seibu railway) line. Both systems meet at Shinjuku, a cluster of stations in a south-western ward of Tokyo. Only the Seibu terminus is depicted in the model, as JR-Shinjuku is too large to model. JR-Shinjuku is the busiest station in the world!

A wide variety of Japanese trains run through a densely populated Japanese city area.

During operating sessions not only Seibu Railway trains are run but also trains of JR-East and JNR (predecessor to JR-East), Odakyu Railway and even Kintetsu are run. The owner of the layout likes to run attractive, colourful trains, even if they are not prototypical or representative for the the area, railway or period modelled. A wide variety of commuter trains, expresses, freight trains and Joyful trains can be seen on operating sessions. Joyful trains are typically Japanese trains, normally used for special occasions and luxury travel. These trains are equipped with bars, video equipment, karaoke equipment and usually have individulaay designed interiors, ranging from traditional Japanese rooms, with tatami covering the floors, to high-tech interiors and everything between. These Joyful trains are usually converted from older multiple-units or loco-hauled coaching stock.

A JR-East 485 class EMU leaves Shinjuku station on an express service to the west coast.

The scenery on the layout depicts a modern Japanese city, with a mixture of high-rising office bloks, appartment blocks, some older quarters, a park with a Shinto shrine and even a few detached houses. There are no mountains, wide rivers, ravines etc. on this layout, the landscape is completely man-made with motorways, streets and, of course, railways.

A busy station scene, the EMU depot can be seen in the background.

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