New to Z, former N scaler here

Dieselfan101 Aug 19, 2022

  1. Dieselfan101

    Dieselfan101 New Member

    Just dipping my toes in the water.
    Been out of Model Railroading for about 4 years and want to go Z this time.
    As with some of you I started in the 70s with a 4x8 HO layout.
    6 layouts later I had a garage sized N scale empire. I had to tear it down in 2018 because I needed my garage back.
    Fast forward to now. I'm thinking about a HCD sized Z layout.
    Micro trains track. Modern..
    More scenery than track. Realistic.
    That's my requirements.
    A few questions out of the gate.
    I want to use Micro trains track with as large of radius as possible. How big is a half circle of this 490mm 13°
    Do you guys superelevate curves?
    Are you cool buying used rolling stock?
    Here's a few pics from my last N scale empire. [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    Sent from my SM-G991U using Tapatalk
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2022
    MMR283, gmorider, Kurt Moose and 6 others like this.
  2. IronMan1963

    IronMan1963 TrainBoard Member

    Nice Layout. The 490mm radius track is going to work out to be about 40 inches wide. Gonna need to be smaller radius to fit a HCD, or under 457mm radius or bump up a bit on the width.
    Later Richard
  3. ztrack

    ztrack TrainBoard Supporter Advertiser

    Welcome to Z! Your N scale layout is impressive!!! What is fun is that you can do the same in Z scale today... trains included! I am bias so keep that in mind. But you should look at Rokuhan track. It has a much wider variety of track options, including super elevated curves. The ties aren't as good looking as MTL's track. But the Rokuhan turnouts are much better than MTL.

    I sell a lot of 2nd hand Z scale. Check out our Ztrack Resale site ( I have to tell you, look for items with excellent condition. You will not be disappointed. And we guarantee all our used equipment we sell!

    You are off on a great journey. I love Z scale and the potential!

    StevenWoodwardNJ likes this.
  4. CNE1899

    CNE1899 TrainBoard Member

    Nice N layout. A lot of open space.
    Welcome to Z.

  5. Zscaleplanet

    Zscaleplanet TrainBoard Supporter

    Welcome to the dark side…..Well at least according to all those that run the larger scales.

    Regarding the width of MTL’s 13° roadbed track, here are a few pics. I estimate 43” diameter give or take as you can see by the tape measure. And in the case of my layout I have about 1” to 1.5” of play on each side of the platform.

    For a room size perspective this layout is in a 10’ x 12’ room.

    I plan on running both passengers and freight runs on my layout and wanted the bulk of the curves to have a realistic appearance, specifically for the longer passenger cars. Now granted in a few areas I do have some tighter radius curves, but I am simply living with them based on the nature of the overall layout.

    You’ll also notice I’m running three tracks within that 43 inch diameter. I had to modify the inside tracks a bit in order to get them to space properly between themselves.

    Regarding track, I am still torn as to whether or not I should’ve gone with Atlas flex track and their switches. However I was heavily invested in MTL’s roadbed product and am simply proceeding forward. I don’t necessarily regret the decision either.

    As for used rolling stock, absolutely. I would say that 90% of what’s in my yard is used. In fact I just took delivery today of three PENNZEE Wilson Co. boxcars. No problems.
    I am frugal too though and try and find the best prices whenever I can. Be it ZTRACK RESALE(as Rob mentioned) eBay, ZSCALE HOBO, or some other avenue such as advertiser on this site.

    As for buildings, use the same resources above for some products. Also there are some 3-D printed buildings on eBay, but the step lines are heavy in my opinion. Plus there are some new arrivals on eBay that are so-so in quality.

    Shoot me a PM and I will give you my phone number and we can chat further. I’ll give you my opinion(s), and like bellybuttons everybody has one.

    I am Z-scale diehard, and want to ensure anybody new that it is jumping in, has the most rewarding experience possible. You’ll find many others on this forum to be the same.
    gmorider and CNE1899 like this.
  6. JoeS

    JoeS TrainBoard Member

    I actually slightly elevated my curves on my extension layout. Not for visual but just to make sure no derailment went out as I got a drop.

    I use MT track. I incorporated sone marklin and rokuhan.

    Used is fine for anything really. The ztrack resale is pretty good

    I use HCD but I cut mine. They are about 2x4 each. Trim them out. Thinking about building anoyher 5CF73C66-F115-4DD8-BD3C-DAE9F22F63B5.jpeg
    gmorider, Kurt Moose, CNE1899 and 3 others like this.
  7. SJ Z-man

    SJ Z-man TrainBoard Member

    Superelevation is designed for Proto for friction reduction and safety (runaways). For Z scale, the issue is the high center of gravity (couplers are quite high) and truck bolster pins are sloppy. So the cars tend to over-lean. But the big danger: clothesline. If a far back car derails and drag with enough, it can tumble a LOT of cars.

    if you use molded track, you can’t ‘physically’ do it (there will be gaps at the top). For proto, 2-4”, you only need .010 ~ .015”. Again, put a couple of sections and start lifting it up, you begin to feel ‘facets’.
    CNE1899 likes this.
  8. SJ Z-man

    SJ Z-man TrainBoard Member

    Joe ! That’s a really nice modular layout !
  9. rray

    rray Staff Member

    I am the oddball here as I prefer Atlas and MTL flextrack, and Atlas or handmade turnouts, then ballast myself with Arizona N Scale ballast. I feel track is a model too, so I want it to look as close to prototype as possible.

    BNSF FAN, MMR283, gmorider and 4 others like this.
  10. CNE1899

    CNE1899 TrainBoard Member

    Nice curves!;) Interesting bench work. I see those track tools on the layout.
    I really like your layout, nice to see it again.
    Thanks for sharing more good info.

  11. Zscaleplanet

    Zscaleplanet TrainBoard Supporter

    I’ll reveal a little bit more of the layout as time progresses and more work is done. Right now it’s just a lot of flat work and I have only recently started putting in elevation. But like everybody else in the northern quadrant, we have to get our outside tasks and to do list done before winter strikes.
    StevenWoodwardNJ likes this.
  12. RobertAllbritton

    RobertAllbritton TrainBoard Member

    Highly recommend Rokuhan track - if you want snap track with built in roadbed. It's the best result for the least amount of work in Z scale. Rokuhan's selection is MUCH larger than MTL.
  13. JeepFan

    JeepFan TrainBoard Member

    I have used Märklin track for all of my current layouts and have no problems with it. I also run mostly Märklin locomotives.

    I recently got a small layout of Rokuhan track to try it out. I like it also, the only issue I have is the switches have to be in the right direction for the train to pass through. On Märklin it doesn't care which way the switch is set, train always goes through.
  14. SJ Z-man

    SJ Z-man TrainBoard Member

    read the instructions, that was folded up under the turnout. It explains how to change the Switch from 'Power Routing' (normally desired with DC) to 'non-Power Routed' (what you are asking for).

    NOTE: you will need Insulated rail joiners between Switches Divergent rails (the curved ones). Rokuhan A013 or, Atlas 2091
    bostonjim likes this.
  15. JeepFan

    JeepFan TrainBoard Member

    I'm not talking about the power routing. The mechanical part will not let the train through unless the switch is set the right direction.
  16. SJ Z-man

    SJ Z-man TrainBoard Member

    Correct. Only the märklin will run through. Although, it’s to not the correct design. You should not run through the points. It requires the mass (weight) to push the points. You cannot run MTL plastic through (with any reliability).
  17. Doug A.

    Doug A. TrainBoard Supporter

    @Dieselfan101 I'm heading the other direction...from Z back to N. If there's anything you're looking for let me know. (Especially if you're doing BNSF again.) I should have a formal list of stuff in the coming weeks in the Trading Post.

    Regarding "running through turnouts"... If you're on DCC, and depending on the turnout, you can buy circuitry for auto-frog-polarity. I'm not sure but I think maybe only the Atlas Z turnouts would work in this manner easily. Also, not necessarily cheap, but if you only have a few that need that capability it's a good option.

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