Kato Unitrack poor quality

Robert Owen Mar 4, 2021

  1. Robert Owen

    Robert Owen TrainBoard Member

    Today I bought some Kato to make a siding, two turnouts (20-220 and 20-221) and some straight track (20-010). The track pieces were as specified on the katouk.com web page. when I connect them together the track needs to be bent slightly for them to fit. As shown in the picture, if the straight portion of the track is held against a straight edge, gaps appear on the turn out connections. If I let the curved portion of the track take its natural shape, the straight portion of the track bends. This should not happen. It seems to me that Kato track, the first I have ever purchased, is not well made.

    Attached Files:

  2. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

    My first guess is that you chose curved pieces of an incorrect radius. Kato's #4 Turnouts include the Turnout, 1 Ea 481mm Radius Curve 15 Degree Track, 1Ea 64mm Straight Track, 1 Ea Left 60mm Straight Beveled Track and 1 Ea Right 60mm Straight Beveled Track. You must use these to correctly set up the geometry for connecting tracks such as your passing siding. This will assure gap-free connections.

    There are others here who know much more than I do about this and will be better able to explain it.
    BNSF FAN and MK like this.
  3. MK

    MK TrainBoard Member

    (Oops, Hardcoaler snuck in but I'm going to let my post stand.)

    What's on the left side of the first picture that is out of view, the other turnout? Are you trying to build a siding? Do you have a picture of the overall setup?

    I suspect this is a geometry issue due to incorrect track selection and not anything wrong with the tracks.
    BNSF FAN and Hardcoaler like this.

    BNSF FAN TrainBoard Supporter

    I tend to agree with Hardcoaler and MK on what the issue might be. I use Kato Unitrack and have been very pleased with how well it works for me at least.
    MK likes this.
  5. RBrodzinsky

    RBrodzinsky Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    It is easy to mix up the 60mm, 62mm and 64mm pieces The bulge in your photos look as if this may be the issue. Make sure none of those are in the mix.

    Also, don't mix #6 and #4 turnouts on opposite ends of that type of siding (not shown, but might be the issue).
    BNSF FAN and MK like this.
  6. Robert Owen

    Robert Owen TrainBoard Member

    Thanks for the replies. I purchased three packs today from a shop owner who has been modelling for 30 years. I assume he knows what he is selling. The two turn-outs are matched pairs with the same radius, so should fit. I also bought a pack of 4 long straight pieces, two of which I used, 20-010. I tried all sorts of combinations but unable to get them to fit.

    Attached Files:

  7. Robert Owen

    Robert Owen TrainBoard Member

    The photo that shows my siding. When I place the bottom track against a straight edge, notice the gap in the (top) middle of the siding.
  8. Robert Owen

    Robert Owen TrainBoard Member

    Thanks guys. Problem solved. I had not noticed that of the three short pieces that came with each turn-out, one was longer than the other two.
    Thanks for your suggestions.

    Attached Files:

    mtntrainman likes this.
  9. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

    Looks like your problem has been resolved. Still some thoughts from the for what it's worth department.

    Okay, Robert. :sick:

    None of us wants to say this can happen. Not with Kato, track or switches. :whistle: The truth is it can happen. Just a flaw that occurres during manufacturing. :unsure:

    Now use your track gauge and see if the track is still in gauge. If it is you can get by with this. :confused:

    I did notice a gap in the rails. You might want to try shoving the rail toward the gap and see what that does for you.;)
  10. BigJake

    BigJake TrainBoard Member

    The standard length increment is 62mm (x2 = 124, x3 = 186 & x4 = 248, the standard longer lengths).

    64mm @ 15 degrees spans a horizontal 62mm, so you use 64's @ 15 degrees, to stay even with the straight track.

    The #4 turnouts had to be extended past the standard 2x=124mm length to allow the unijoiners between the two diverging routes to clear each other, hence to get back on a 62mm length multiple, the the trimmed, 60mm piece is provided.

    A #4 turnout and a 481mm radius curve provides the standard 33mm parallel track spacing.

    You can also replicate that standard spacing with a #6 turnout and a 315mm radius curve, but the 315mm curve needs to be on the through route, to avoid a severe S* curve between it and the 718mm radius of the turnout's diverging route. A combination of 29mm and 45.5mm straight pieces on the diverging route stops even with the end of the 315mm curve on the through route.

    * the severity of the S transition is roughly the same as a transition between straight and a 218mm radius curve.

    I use XTrkCad, a free model railroad layout app, which has the complete N scale Unitrack sectional library, for accurately experimenting with different track arrangements on a laptop from your easy chair...
    Onizukachan and mtntrainman like this.

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