The trams “Centram/Portram” from Kato and Tomytec (“N” scale)

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A few months apart, Tomytec and Kato have released the same light tram model. We bought and tested both models.

Model Tomytec P/N TLR0601 or others (depending on colour).

This model is sold non-motorized at a fairly attractive price. It is necessary to buy the motorization in addition if you want the tram to be operational. The set costs between 25 and 45 £ depending on the source of purchase. The finishing is fine without super details. The installation of the motorization needs to remove the interior fitting. There are no front / rear or interior lightings.

Model Kato P/N 14-801-1 or others (depending on colour).

This model is sold motorized (2 motors) with reversible front and rear lighting and interior. It is more detailed than the Tomytec model (windscreen wipers, roof coupling between the two elements, etc …) The bogie wheels are probably to scale and smaller than on the Tomytec model

The real plus of this model is its truly miniature engine: 1 micro motor per bogie to keep an interior fitting visible. The gear ratio allows a very low speed and without untimely shutdown (the two bogies are current sensors). With the same supply voltage, the Kato model drives very smoothly while the Tomytec is almost a TGV. The Kato model costs quite more than the Tomytec model (# 70 to 110 £).

Our opinion: Both models are very interesting for their respective prices. The Kato is still more “upscale”. It is simply necessary to have the two models not running at the same time on the same track with the same supply voltage, because the speeds are too different.

The pictures below show both models. They were taken on a test bench and on the new tramway track of Tomix and which is very well designed (with radii 105 mm / 140 mm and above). For more information about those tramways, read also the blog „Comparison of N-scale Tramway Performance „

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