Yamato Shinrin Tetsudō

Published by Martijn Meerts on

Yamato Shinrin Tetsudō (大和森林鉄道) is a fictional Japanese network of forest and mining railways. While the line itself is fictional, the rolling stock, scenery and operations are based on, and inspired by actual forest and mining railways in Japan, such as the Kiso Forest Railway, Yanase Forest Railway, and the Horonai Railway. The time period this line is set in would be around 1950-1960.

While the forest railways were usually privately owned, the Yamato Shinrin Tetsudō exists in a sort of alternate reality, and is state owned.

Other than the mountains and forest, the main piece for this project is the transfer station. This is where the narrow gauge line (Yamato Shinrin Tetsudō) and branch line (JNR) come together, and where goods are transferred between the 2 lines. Furthermore, there will be various small stops along the way with branches going further up and into the mountains.

Rolling stock

Rolling stock is mostly a mix of interesting models from actual forest and mining railways. Some examples would be the Baldwin 0-4-2T steam locomotive from the Kiso Forest Railway, the Hokutan #2 from the Horonai Railway. The JNR branch line will use mostly steam locomotives such as the SL9600 and C55. Pretty much all rolling stock are hand built brass kits from brands such as World Kougei and IMON. All of the non-JNR rolling stock will be somewhat customised to give them their own identity.


I’ll hand lay all the track using the Fast Tracks tools. It uses actual wooden sleepers and spikes to keep the rail in place. All the turnouts are also hand built using the same tools.

Scenery and structures

For the scenery, I’m going for an autumn setting. This being a mostly forest railway, there will be a lot of trees, so the autumn colours should add a lot to the layout.

Most of the buildings will also be scratch built using scale lumber based on actual buildings and blueprints.

This is definitely a very ambitious and long term project.


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