Sony Microtrain

It is not commonly known that Sony once was a model railway manufacturer. In the early 1960's Sony made a train set, complete with a mat on which a proposed layout was printed, with the the contours and numbers of the sectional track pieces needed. A transformer was also included in the set. As far as I know, these train sets were only sold in Japan.

Sony's Microtrain train set. Click here for a large image (110kB).

As with many Japanese railway models, Sony's Microtrain runs on 9mm 'N' scale track, the scale of the models is approximately 1/150th scale. In the early 1960 very few manufacturers, even European HO were very accurate iun their scale. In those days miniature trains were toys and there was little demand for accurate models, that demand started later, and today Japanese manufacturers are among the world's best.





The locomotive from Sony's train set

Sony's models

Sony made only one type of locomotive and only one type of passenger car, along with them there was a sectional track system, a rerailing ramp, a transformer and the 'track mat'. All models are rather coarse to todays standards, but were state-of-the-art in the early 1960's. The loco is depicting a class ED75 Bo-Bo electric loco, then one of the latest developments in Japan, using 20kV AC electric traction from the overhead wires. This 20kV AC system was used for electrifiction of the lines to the North of Japan and on the West coast. The passenger car represents a 'Su Ha 43' type carriage, used on many main lines in Japan. A few have survived the years and now run on preserved railways behind steam locomotives, like on the Oigawa railway.

The loco is driven on four of its eight wheels, the inner wheels are driven from a central motor by worm and gears and mounted fixed in the frame, the outer wheels are built as pony trucks. The bogies are represented by long sideframes, extending inwards from the pony trucks. The motor is mounted very low, between the inner wheels. The wiring of the loco is by means of a printed circuit board; what else would you expect from a major electronics manufacturer!

As written before, detailing is rather coarse, have a look at the pictures, and compare with todays models.

Some details of the locomotive, clearly showing the construction of the mechanism.

The carriage that was made by Sony, the detailing is very simple, typical for early N-scale models.

All pictures of Sony's Microtrain are scanned from the 'N Gauge Catalogue', published by Neko Publishing, Japan 1995

Text & scans by: Mark Veneman

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