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Re: I'm back - sort of

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  • Ztrack@aol.com
    Steve and other frustrated Zers… I have watched and read with interest about your frustrations with Z scale. These are the same frustrations many of us felt
    Message 1 of 3 , Oct 4, 1999
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      Steve and other frustrated Zers�

      I have watched and read with interest about your frustrations with Z scale.
      These are the same frustrations many of us felt as we advanced through our
      learning curve. Honestly, the first 13 years where very frustrating for me (I
      have been modeling Z for 14 years!). Only lately, concepts, ideas, and skills
      have come together to give me a wonderful running Z layout. I have watched
      Fleischman and Minitrix N trains run, and you are right, their performance is
      great, but with a little effort, your Z trains can run just as well.

      I am not talking about gutting a loco and adding new motors like some have
      suggested in the past. I am talking about using the M�rklin standard locos
      with 3 (and now 5) pole motors. I have found most frustrations can me
      eliminated at track level. Careful assembly of track and frequent cleanings
      and maintenance helps keep locos running. Keeping the track clean helps to
      keep the wheels of the loco dirt free. Clean wheels mean electrical pickup
      and performance. A RELCO track cleaning unit really helps as well!

      Next, look at your inventory of locomotives. If the only loco you are running
      is an 0-6-0 (standard with many starter kits), yes you will be frustrated.
      This loco is too light, does not have enough electrical pickup and tends to
      'bounce' around the layout. In Z, size does matter. I found the larger the
      loco, the better the performance. I also found that the truck based locos
      such as the DB class 111 or U.S. F7 run much better on a layout then a 2-10-0
      steam loco. It is just the nature of the loco.

      Another idea to avoid frustration is to seriously examine what you would like
      from your trains and layout. How large of a layout do you want? What do you
      demand from your trains. For instance, I want to be able to pull long trains
      on my mainline without modifying my M�rklin locos. I therefore avoided any
      grades on the mainline. Through the use of varied heights of scenery, The
      main line almost appears to raise and lower, but it is level. This enables me
      to run trains such as the full 8 car Orient Express behind a 4-6-0 without
      any hesitation or slowdown.

      As for my branch line, I added a few steep grades in order to move the branch
      line up to the main line level. But, I have cut running performance in half.
      For instance, a twelve car freight on the main might only be a six car
      freight on the branch. (Photos of the layout can be found at www.ztrack.com
      in the gallery section)

      Steve and others, these are just some tips on avoiding the common
      frustrations associated with Z. There are many other tips out there to help.
      Time and learning are by far the best way to overcome frustrations. So please
      be patient. Steve, I hope you stick with Z, it is wonderful! Where else can
      one model a 1/2 mile of mainline on an extra wall or do an incredibly
      detailed layout in a briefcase or coffee table.

      I hope this helps!

      Rob Kluz
      Ztrack Magazine
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