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Re: [Z_Scale] Whats the Buzz, Amherst Railway Society Train Show Report & The Tri-State Z Scalers & More...

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  • harold grady
    Thanks Michael for the comprehensive report. Appreciate it very much. Can t wait for the pics. Especially thanks for the MTL report. Man, 2 body styles on the
    Message 1 of 7 , Jan 30, 2006
      Thanks Michael for the comprehensive report. Appreciate it very much.
      Can't wait for the pics. Especially thanks for the MTL report.
      Man, 2 body styles on the way plus 2 locomotives in the next 18 mos.
      Fantastic, stupendous.
      Harold Grady

      Michael Hilliard <mchwilton@...> wrote:
      Greetingz from New England,

      The annual Amherst Railway Society's BIG Train Show in W. Springfield, MA was a hit for Z. The official attendance for this 2 day show was 20,003.

      The Tri-State Z Scalers had a display of 2x15 feet and recieved many smiles from kids of all ages and kids at heart. We had our first 3 Z Bend Track modules up and running and I hope inspired more people to build modules as well as home layouts in Z. People kept asking if we had this and that hoping to make a purchase and we had to dissapoint them when saying we're exibitors, not we're not selling anything, but we did try to direct people to the vendors we were aware of and where to find more info. about Z including Ztrack magazine. People kept comenting about how they had only seen suitcase layouts here in the past (Jeffrey MacHan's) and were thrilled to see our display. For those who couldn't find us, we were listed on the show map and in the exibitor listings with our group name and space location. Maybe we'll see you next year or at one of our monthly meets.

      Lot's of pictures & video were taken, but we'll have to wait for everyone to recover from the weekend before posting them.

      I can report there were at least 4 vendors and 2 manufactuers in attendance with Z including Bowser showing Uncle Will's new hoppers and MTL with thier new switch prototype, very impresive.

      On Saturday afternoon I made my way over to the MTL booth and introduced myself to MTL Prez Eric Smith. I asked if I could pick up and examine the new switch which he kindly obliged. I can report that this is a "gotta have it" in Z. Upon close inspecton I can say the frog is "isolated and power routing". When looking from the underside of the switch ( which was clear plastic) it's obvious that there are power routing contacts built-in to the roadbed and a nice spring tention action on the points under there as well and a discrete little manual throw lever.

      I said to Eric Smith that we (the Tri-State Z Scalers) were probably promoting his products more than himself and asked if he would like to meet the guys (&gal) and show them his new switch, without hesitation he told his assistant he'd be back and off we went. He spent at least a half hour talking with us and confirmed the June/July release date of the swiches and also told us they are planning a "full line" of track, he did not elaborate. We asked about pricing of the swiches and he didn't have a firm price yet but when asked a "guestimate" of pricing on the "high side" I can say they will be quite reasonably priced, sorry, can't say more.

      Of course we couldn't help ourselves asking about what's new in store for us in the future in Z from MTL and I "think" Eric knew we couldn't keep a zecret very well <smile>. He wouldn't say anything specific, but, when asked about new rolling stock he did say 2 "all new" body styles are in the works. We also asked weather they had plans to make a new chassie for the F7 and he said something like not anytime soon, BUT, quote, "you can expect in the next 12-18 months to see 2 completely new locomotives", hummmmm. No, he gave no indication of what they would be, must be top zecret!!! Now I'm wondering when MTL is going to send out the "golden tickets" (Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory), of course then I'd be sworn to zecrecy, but it would be worth it to find out all of MTL's Z scale zecrets <smile>.

      Anyway, we also met Anthony (zscalemonster.com) and his lovely wife, they spent a lot of time talking with us as well and more than exspected Z enthusiest from all over New England and the northeast.

      Richard Einhorn (thetrainshow.com) has become a honerary member, especially for all the attention and help he gave us this past weekend. OK Richard, you get a gold star for finding my home and all your & Bret's (his son) help this weekend, thank you. I think he took enough footage for a few shows on satalite TV.

      I think my only disappointment was not seeing our group (z_scale) founder, Jeffrey MacHan. He had said he was going to "try" to attend, but if he did, I didn't see him. Maybe I was away from our display, or he just couldn't make it. I don't know. I met Jeffrey last year at this train show and it's all his fault that we were there this year <smile>, he inspired us and provided the contact information so we could be there this year to share Z. THANKS Jeffrey, really, we all had a great time.

      My thanks also to everyone who helped to make this possible. The Tri-State Z Scalers have made our first major train show appearance and now can appreciate all the energy, enthuziaziam, time, money, attention & dedication that so many people here have given to promote our mutual intrest and hobby, Z scale model railroading.

      The Tri State Z Scalers & friends donated thier all this past weekend to promote our hobby, and I thank them all for thier support and efforts, I couldn't do it alone, I couldn't imagine how anyone could. More later, greatfully yours...

      Michael Hilliard
      Wilton, CT USA

      Richard Einhorn <richardeinhorn@...> wrote: (EDITED)
      You can't make this stuff up folks...

      48 hours before the show, I found out that Mike Hilliard (ZTrak) needed help
      John G. was dealing with some personal family issues and could not attend at
      the last minute.

      We made a sign for the Z guys and even set it up to rotate.
      It was on a wooden pole that was 10 feet tall or so.

      Mike was left with the task of finishing his layout and sewing the NEW
      skirts that match the color of the 'green stained' Z module wooden

      Mike is now a seamstress too, and the skirts came out beautiful.
      They had to be made from fire retardant material to meet BIG E specs.

      So as I was burning DVD's and labeling them, I created a Z sign from some
      black, green and yellow foam core.

      I was driving Brett to school this week and it is a 60 mile round trip from
      where I live. The front end started to shake like crazy, so after $200 and
      new tires it was back to normal. It was important to have the Dodge Van on
      this trip so I could help transport module's) to the show.

      We met up with Mike Hilliard and many of the ZTrak folks in Wilton, CT at
      Mikes home. I would like to get an award for NOT getting lost on the way to

      The traffic was all messed up getting into Springfield because of a bridge
      (that goes across the river) and many people got lost getting there.
      Springfield (CITY) should be embarrassed that they allowed this to happen,
      but since I came from the NYC area, it was just like home. :)

      Friday night we handed out (FREE) more than 50 DVD's of our TV show at one
      of the clinics that NTrak had hosted. (now that I look back I should have
      included some with Z scale on them too.)

      When we arrived for dinner, we bumped into Eric Smith going to the elevator
      most of the tables from the Long Island NTrak Group were full.

      A chair was reserved next to Dave and it was for Eric Smith from
      I got to sit next to Eric for Dinner. More than 90 people attended the
      awards dinner.

      We interviewed Eric Smith at the Micro-Trains booth on Sunday and it was a
      lot of fun. The Z scale prototype switch looks GREAT and works too!
      We will have a photo from our video very soon.

      but I wanted to hit some of the highlights of our trip as it relates to Z
      and N.

      Thank You Eric for a great interview and perhaps we can get the Z folks to
      join the NTrak community (for the camaraderie [sp]) ? N folks are the next
      closest scale to Z (in my opinion) that can really appreciate what Z has
      become today!

      Sunday morning I interviewed Cliff and promised to come back and shoot some
      video of the trains, but I never made it and I apologize for that.

      At this show, there is SO MUCH TO SEE, it is 5.5 acres of model trains!
      It's worth the trip from ANYWHERE in the US.

      Richie Einhorn www.TheTrainShow.com

      Z-scale: minimum siZe, MAXIMUM enjoyment!

      G scale model train Ho scale model train Model train n scale Scale model train Z scale model train Z scale


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