Z Scale Main Page

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Even though I have a G scale layout outdoors, I've also had the smaller scale bug all along. The goal here is operation closer to prototype, with longer track runs, more prototypical curves, etc.

About 20 years ago, I got involved in N scale, when it was just getting reliable for long trains. I helped work on the large N scale layout in the San Diego model railroad museum. We were scratch building switches with code 40 then!

Later I built a small Z layout using a pre-formed base, by Noch, which is cute, but the curves and grades are tight. It was more of a curiosity than anything else.

Recently, at the train shows I have attended, I have seen the Z scale people with modular layouts and I can see that the reliability, diversity of products, and DCC is all a reality now.

I've started on my Z scale modules with the help of Don Fedjur of the ZoCal group in Southern California. I have enough modules for a loop at home, and to participate with others that use the same module standards, started by Bill Kronenberg. The members call themselves a group because they hate the word club, they don't want officers and rules.

Unfortunately it is the lack of rules and "getting along" that causes things like modules not wired properly, poor trackwork, modules not lining up. Also often a few people do all the work and others just kind of come along for the ride. It was too difficult and frustrating to get things done unless I did all of them myself. Just getting people to properly wire or repair their modules was a mess.

I've got a one car garage to myself, so I have set it up several modules that can exist semi-permanently. Maybe some time in the future I can host a club/group/whatever that will have more cohesieveness.

Some demonstrations:

Here's a Micro-Trains GP35 pulling 47 cars:

Click here to see David Lancaster's Challenger pulling 50 PFE reefers

Where to go from here?

First you might want to decide what you want, a traditional home layout, or maybe a small briefcase layout, or a coffee table layout, or perhaps what I have done, make a number of personal Z scale modules, use that for my home layout and also to combine with others at shows and club meetings.

I sort of think this last idea is the best of all worlds in flexibility.

Second, you might want to decide if you want to run plain DC, or go to DCC.

Basically, start reading!


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