My SCARM Track Plans for Kato Unitrack

Learning Kato’s naming conventions for its track is easy once you realize it’s all in millimeters. SCARM gives you information on each of the track parts in the library including part numbers. Every single item on the KatoUSA site’s UniTrack section was part of SCARM’s UniTrack library, so it gave me tremendous control over the planning process.

Early 4×8 N Scale plan with Kato Unitrack

This early plan still divided tracks into separate DC and DCC parts. I tried to use most of my M2+V2 packs into the design. I abandoned some of the goofiness of my early EZ Track plans in favor of straightaways, different curve radii and continuous tracks.

Later plan with Elevated S-Curve and multiple bridges (and rerailers!)

In this version, I changed the elevated viaduct in the back in favor of an elevated viaduct S-curve that traverses front and center (sort of) across the layout. True, I would need to purchase additional viaduct and I was glad to do so. This element has become a hallmark of my layout and it’s a significant moment for me when I created it. I had one red truss bridge from my V2 and I added 2 more red girder bridges to the layout, creating a unique look, as well as a challenge in finding a creative way to connect these bridges with water under them when it came time to develop scenery around the layout.

This version also marks the origin of my love for rerailers. I envisioned them at the time as just a lot of railroad crossing grades. I discovered later that rerailers also do a fantastic job of actually rerailing your train on the track! I’ll be discussing rerailers in its own separate post sometime–they deserve recognition as an important feature of my layout.

What about those separate tracks? That changes in this next version:

Later plan introducing a crossover to combine inner and outer tracks

Yes, I discovered the Kato double-crossover and I fell in love with that, too. By combining my separate inner and outer tracks with the crossover, I created an all-DCC, two-mainline, completely continuous N scale layout. There were a few refinements after this, after the track was laid and tested, and I’ll show you those updates later. For now, in early December 2021, this is the plan I wanted to build. It’s 780 inches, or 65 feet of track! The F#’s in the pic show where I planned to incorporate feeders.

With my new all-DCC track, I had no use for DC controllers–as controllers, that is. And the Bachmann EZ Command DCC controller did not produce the power or the functionality I wanted for this layout. I needed a new DCC controller— one that could power more trains at once, allow full programming on a separate track and complete control of all 28 functions, as well as all the CVs. But which DCC controller was right for me?

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