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Noch and the newcomer

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  • Steve Piwnica
    Hello everyone - I m basically new to z scale (dormant for the last year) and pretty new to model railroading and I think I have just gotten myself into a jam
    Message 1 of 11 , Dec 2, 2008
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      Hello everyone - I'm basically new to z scale (dormant for the last year) and pretty new to model railroading and I think I have just gotten myself into a jam (being the overly ambitious guy that I am) by going out and buying the Noch Schwarzwald layout.  So I begin to assemble the ramps and bridges and I notice the grade seems pretty steep, rising about 2 inches over 40 inches in one place and even more in another.  So will this be too much?  I read everywhere that 3% is about the maximum.  Or maybe I'll just be limited to short trains?
       
      Plus now I'm seeing the bridges and tunnels are for N scale and the Marklin track plan costs $1,500!  Is this kind of cost normal for z scale?  Is MTL track cheaper and, if so, is MTL track and Marklin track compatible?
       
      What have I done?
      Thanks much,
      Steve Piwnica
      Orange County, CA




      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • skye.chris
      Hi Steve. ... year) and pretty new to model railroading and I think I have just gotten myself into a jam (being the overly ambitious guy that I am) by going
      Message 2 of 11 , Dec 2, 2008
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        Hi Steve.

        --- In z_scale@yahoogroups.com, Steve Piwnica <stevepiw@...> wrote:
        > Hello everyone - I'm basically new to z scale (dormant for the last
        year) and pretty new to model railroading and I think I have just
        gotten myself into a jam (being the overly ambitious guy that I am) by
        going out and buying the Noch Schwarzwald layout.�

        That's some layout! I assume that, Noch being a German company, that
        it is geared towards German track. However, MTL used the same geometry
        so, unless Noch specify the 145mm rad you should be OK.

        > So I begin to assemble the ramps and bridges and I notice the grade
        seems pretty steep, rising about 2 inches over 40 inches in one place
        and even more in another.� So will this be too much?� I read
        everywhere that 3% is about the maximum.� Or maybe I'll just be
        limited to short trains?

        Marklin's own ramps are 4%. As mine is on a 145mm curve it is the
        worst possible case and I happily pushed a 9 axle train up it with a
        BR72 (1'C tank loco).

        > �
        > Plus now I'm seeing the bridges and tunnels are for N scale and the
        Marklin track plan costs $1,500!� Is this kind of cost normal for z
        scale?� Is MTL track cheaper and, if so, is MTL track and�Marklin
        track compatible?

        There is more to it than just connecting to two together, which I
        cannot confirm. Marklin (who started the Z scale off in '72) and Micro
        Trains are incompatible when it comes to couplings and the uncouplers
        are unique to the make. So if you have MT stock, you need to go with
        MT and vice-versa.

        Also, The N scale geometry is slightly different so the trackbed will
        be wider than necessary, and from what you say, these are ally N scale
        landscapes which just happen to work with Z.

        $1500 seems a bit steep to me. However, you will probably be able to
        shop around for the cheapest supplier. And don't forget eBay, but make
        sure that what you buy from there is new or near new. That is where I
        got all my track and a small prportion of it has turned oput to ne
        pretty naff.

        > What have I done?

        I think you know by now!!!!!!

        > Thanks much,
        > Steve Piwnica
        > Orange County, CA
        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

        Good luck and best wishes,
        Chris from Skye.
      • John Duino
        I guess I ll jump into this... For modules, large operations (long trains), etc, 2% is what we strive for, 3% in a pinch. It just means you won t be able to
        Message 3 of 11 , Dec 2, 2008
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          I guess I'll jump into this...

          For modules, large operations (long trains), etc, 2% is what we strive
          for, 3% in a pinch. It just means you won't be able to pull as many cars.
          2 over 40 is 5%, fairly steep, but you'll still be able to pull 5-10 cars,
          depending upon which loco you use.

          Wow, that's one of the big Noch's. Yes, some of the Noch's are used for
          both N & Z, so I assume things like bridges, etc, are terribly oversized
          for Z.

          There is a lot of track on there and A LOT of switches (21)...that right
          there is almost half of your cost. Trust in EBay to lower those costs a
          bit. Most of us build using MTL flex and don't do switch yards, so that
          keeps that cost down. I built a small Noch and had the same OMG moment
          when I added up the track prices.

          Whereabouts in Orange County are you? I'm in Buena Park, and we have
          several others scattered about (Long Beach, Lake Forest, Burbank, RPV,
          Santa Monica, and more). There's another Yahoo group called ZoCal that we
          belong to, mostly dealing with the modules and local train shows. There
          are two coming up that we'll be at: this coming weekend in Ventura, and
          the following weekend in Del Mar. If/when we do get together it's usually
          at my house for work/food/BS.

          John

          >
          > Hello everyone - I'm basically new to z scale (dormant for the last year)
          > and pretty new to model railroading and I think I have just gotten myself
          > into a jam (being the overly ambitious guy that I am) by going out and
          > buying the Noch Schwarzwald layout. So I begin to assemble the ramps and
          > bridges and I notice the grade seems pretty steep, rising about 2 inches
          > over 40 inches in one place and even more in another. So will this be too
          > much? I read everywhere that 3% is about the maximum. Or maybe I'll just
          > be limited to short trains?
          >
          > Plus now I'm seeing the bridges and tunnels are for N scale and the
          > Marklin track plan costs $1,500! Is this kind of cost normal for z
          > scale? Is MTL track cheaper and, if so, is MTL track and Marklin track
          > compatible?
          >
          > What have I done?
          > Thanks much,
          > Steve Piwnica
          > Orange County, CA
        • Steve Piwnica
          Thanks, John.  Seems I should for now at least forget the switch yard and maybe do two out of the four lines to get started.  I am in Corona del Mar and work
          Message 4 of 11 , Dec 2, 2008
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            Thanks, John.  Seems I should for now at least forget the switch yard and maybe do two out of the four lines to get started.  I am in Corona del Mar and work in Irvine, so maybe I can meet the group at some point.  Can you give me more info on the show in Del Mar?
             
            Steve

            --- On Tue, 12/2/08, John Duino <jduino@...> wrote:

            From: John Duino <jduino@...>
            Subject: Re: [Z_Scale] Noch and the newcomer
            To: z_scale@yahoogroups.com
            Date: Tuesday, December 2, 2008, 1:17 PM






            I guess I'll jump into this...

            For modules, large operations (long trains), etc, 2% is what we strive
            for, 3% in a pinch. It just means you won't be able to pull as many cars.
            2 over 40 is 5%, fairly steep, but you'll still be able to pull 5-10 cars,
            depending upon which loco you use.

            Wow, that's one of the big Noch's. Yes, some of the Noch's are used for
            both N & Z, so I assume things like bridges, etc, are terribly oversized
            for Z.

            There is a lot of track on there and A LOT of switches (21)...that right
            there is almost half of your cost. Trust in EBay to lower those costs a
            bit. Most of us build using MTL flex and don't do switch yards, so that
            keeps that cost down. I built a small Noch and had the same OMG moment
            when I added up the track prices.

            Whereabouts in Orange County are you? I'm in Buena Park, and we have
            several others scattered about (Long Beach, Lake Forest, Burbank, RPV,
            Santa Monica, and more). There's another Yahoo group called ZoCal that we
            belong to, mostly dealing with the modules and local train shows. There
            are two coming up that we'll be at: this coming weekend in Ventura, and
            the following weekend in Del Mar. If/when we do get together it's usually
            at my house for work/food/BS.

            John

            >
            > Hello everyone - I'm basically new to z scale (dormant for the last year)
            > and pretty new to model railroading and I think I have just gotten myself
            > into a jam (being the overly ambitious guy that I am) by going out and
            > buying the Noch Schwarzwald layout. So I begin to assemble the ramps and
            > bridges and I notice the grade seems pretty steep, rising about 2 inches
            > over 40 inches in one place and even more in another. So will this be too
            > much? I read everywhere that 3% is about the maximum. Or maybe I'll just
            > be limited to short trains?
            >
            > Plus now I'm seeing the bridges and tunnels are for N scale and the
            > Marklin track plan costs $1,500! Is this kind of cost normal for z
            > scale? Is MTL track cheaper and, if so, is MTL track and Marklin track
            > compatible?
            >
            > What have I done?
            > Thanks much,
            > Steve Piwnica
            > Orange County, CA


















            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Uwe Liermann
            Hello Steve, ... well, that seems to be one of the big ones... ;-) ... I take it that you have the track list for the layout available. But I don t know if
            Message 5 of 11 , Dec 2, 2008
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              Hello Steve,

              > Noch Schwarzwald layout.

              well, that seems to be one of the big ones... ;-)

              > I notice the grade seems pretty steep, rising about 2 inches over 40
              > inches in one place and even more in another.  So will this be too
              > much?

              I take it that you have the track list for the layout available. But I
              don't know if you got an English one. I looked up the German PDF file
              for the layout:

              http://www.noch.de/pictures/PDFs/Gleisplaene/61800.pdf

              on page two you can find the statement from Noch about the use of
              Z-scale trains on those grades. There is written that you can run the
              mountain line with short trains up to 8 axles with out a problem. If
              you have cars with trucks and the train has more then 8 axles (which
              means more then two cars) you will need two engines. If you have only
              2 axle cars, then you will need two engines if you have 12 axles in
              your train.
               
              > Plus now I'm seeing the bridges and tunnels are for N scale

              It is written that you should use the mentioned N-scale bridges also
              for Z-scale. Then those bridges would be to wide for my liking. Maybe
              with some kitbashing of Z-scale bridges you can get a better picture.

              It is also stated that the portals are designed for N-scale. But I
              think that you can use Z-scale portals for the tunnels with some
              adaptive work too.

              > and the Marklin track plan costs $1,500!  Is this kind of cost
              > normal for z scale?

              I haven't calculated the track list for costs, but I see two ways to
              cut at least some of the costs. First you can get track often for less
              money on E-Bay or other second hand places.

              Then you can use flex track for much of the layout. I've seen 17
              sections 8592. This is a length adjustable section from 100 to 120 mm.
              If you go the flex track way at least for the straight parts you can
              save a lot of money.

              > Is MTL track cheaper and, if so, is MTL track and Marklin track
              > compatible?

              MTL roadbed track is cheaper as Maerklin track, and it is compatible
              in footprint to the Maerklin sections as far as the sections are
              available. Unfortunately a lot of straight sections are not available
              yet from MTL.

              Regarding the curves I see that there is no 8510 145mm radii section
              in the track plan. The 145mm radii is not available from MTL. Also not
              available (but it will come I'm sure) is the 8531 220mm radii 30°
              section.

              MTL and Maerklin track section can be connected, but it needs some
              adjusting since the rail height (code) is different. But this can be
              done.

              Under closer inspection of the track plan I would go with flex track
              anyway. This because I see that at some places the curves aren't fully
              perfect with those sectional tracks. If you look at the left side of
              the layout you see at the main level (the double track line) in the
              upper left that there is placed a 8520 a 8521 and a 8591 curve for a
              90° curve. But those sections only goes to 88°. The same goes for the
              upper right corner.

              8520 / 8530 45°
              8521 / 8531 30°
              8591 13°

              In the lower left the curve is made from 4 x 8591 and 1 x 852(3)1 this
              calculates to 82°. If you take the lower right hand corner it also
              goes to 4x 8591 and one 852(3)1.

              Together those curves calculate to 340° to the full circle...

              > What have I done?

              You got yourself a pretty interesting project...


              --
              GreetingZ
              Uwe
            • Steve Piwnica
              Thanks for your response, Chris.  Seems Schwarzwald is a little over the top for my first z layout (actually, I built the standard Marklin oval, but not much
              Message 6 of 11 , Dec 2, 2008
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                Thanks for your response, Chris.  Seems Schwarzwald is a little over the top for my first z layout (actually, I built the standard Marklin oval, but not much to go wrong there).  I'll be on ebay tonight looking around!
                Steve

                --- On Tue, 12/2/08, skye.chris <cmanvell@...> wrote:

                From: skye.chris <cmanvell@...>
                Subject: [Z_Scale] Re: Noch and the newcomer
                To: z_scale@yahoogroups.com
                Date: Tuesday, December 2, 2008, 12:06 PM






                Hi Steve.

                --- In z_scale@yahoogroups .com, Steve Piwnica <stevepiw@.. .> wrote:
                > Hello everyone - I'm basically new to z scale (dormant for the last
                year) and pretty new to model railroading and I think I have just
                gotten myself into a jam (being the overly ambitious guy that I am) by
                going out and buying the Noch Schwarzwald layout.�

                That's some layout! I assume that, Noch being a German company, that
                it is geared towards German track. However, MTL used the same geometry
                so, unless Noch specify the 145mm rad you should be OK.

                > So I begin to assemble the ramps and bridges and I notice the grade
                seems pretty steep, rising about 2 inches over 40 inches in one place
                and even more in another.� So will this be too much?� I read
                everywhere that 3% is about the maximum.� Or maybe I'll just be
                limited to short trains?

                Marklin's own ramps are 4%. As mine is on a 145mm curve it is the
                worst possible case and I happily pushed a 9 axle train up it with a
                BR72 (1'C tank loco).

                > �
                > Plus now I'm seeing the bridges and tunnels are for N scale and the
                Marklin track plan costs $1,500!� Is this kind of cost normal for z
                scale?� Is MTL track cheaper and, if so, is MTL track and�Marklin
                track compatible?

                There is more to it than just connecting to two together, which I
                cannot confirm. Marklin (who started the Z scale off in '72) and Micro
                Trains are incompatible when it comes to couplings and the uncouplers
                are unique to the make. So if you have MT stock, you need to go with
                MT and vice-versa.

                Also, The N scale geometry is slightly different so the trackbed will
                be wider than necessary, and from what you say, these are ally N scale
                landscapes which just happen to work with Z.

                $1500 seems a bit steep to me. However, you will probably be able to
                shop around for the cheapest supplier. And don't forget eBay, but make
                sure that what you buy from there is new or near new. That is where I
                got all my track and a small prportion of it has turned oput to ne
                pretty naff.

                > What have I done?

                I think you know by now!!!!!!

                > Thanks much,
                > Steve Piwnica
                > Orange County, CA
                > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

                Good luck and best wishes,
                Chris from Skye.


















                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • John Duino
                Doesn t look like much is on their web site, but this is a Great Train Expo show: http://www.trainexpoinc.com/schedule.html General page:
                Message 7 of 11 , Dec 2, 2008
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                  Doesn't look like much is on their web site, but this is a Great Train
                  Expo show:

                  http://www.trainexpoinc.com/schedule.html

                  General page:
                  http://www.trainexpoinc.com

                  We'll be there all weekend. We don't know the layout yet of the show, but
                  last year we were in the back corner. Please do come down and introduce
                  yourself! If you have anything you'd like to run just bring it along!

                  John

                  > Thanks, John. Seems I should for now at least forget the switch yard and
                  > maybe do two out of the four lines to get started. I am in Corona del Mar
                  > and work in Irvine, so maybe I can meet the group at some point. Can you
                  > give me more info on the show in Del Mar?
                  >
                  > Steve
                  >
                • Chris Manvell
                  Hi Steve. ... At least you ve got a good baseboard; I started with just 6 x 2 feet into which I have managed to pack about 30m of track onto it (according to
                  Message 8 of 11 , Dec 2, 2008
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                    Hi Steve.

                    2008/12/3 Steve Piwnica <stevepiw@...>:
                    > Thanks for your response, Chris. Seems Schwarzwald is a little over the top
                    > for my first z layout (actually, I built the standard Marklin oval, but not
                    > much to go wrong there). I'll be on ebay tonight looking around!
                    > Steve

                    At least you've got a good baseboard; I started with just 6 x 2 feet
                    into which I have managed to pack about 30m of track onto it
                    (according to my rail cad program).

                    Anyway, good luck with your layout. You'll have a great time building it.

                    NB Check every rail joint before you anchor the track. It is all to
                    easy to miss the odd fishplate (joiner) that manages to slip under the
                    next rail. I speak from bitter experience.

                    All the best,
                    Chris.

                    --
                    Chris Manvell
                    E: chris@..., T: 01471 822317, M: 078151 89991
                    W: http://trains.manvell.org.uk, http://family.manvell.org.uk,
                    http://skye.manvell.org.uk, http://bahai-faith.manvell.org.uk.
                  • Steve Piwnica
                    Uwe - that is a tremendous amount of info in one e-mail. Much appreciated. (And I have had a heck of a time translating the German assembly instructions.
                    Message 9 of 11 , Dec 2, 2008
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                      Uwe - that is a tremendous amount of info in one e-mail. Much appreciated. (And I have had a heck of a time translating the German assembly instructions. You've decoded a lot for me. thanks again.)
                      Steve


                      --- On Tue, 12/2/08, Uwe Liermann <maillist@...> wrote:

                      > From: Uwe Liermann <maillist@...>
                      > Subject: Re: [Z_Scale] Noch and the newcomer
                      > To: "Steve Piwnica" <z_scale@yahoogroups.com>
                      > Date: Tuesday, December 2, 2008, 2:53 PM
                      > Hello Steve,
                      >
                      > > Noch Schwarzwald layout.
                      >
                      > well, that seems to be one of the big ones... ;-)
                      >
                      > > I notice the grade seems pretty steep, rising about 2
                      > inches over 40
                      > > inches in one place and even more in another.  So
                      > will this be too
                      > > much?
                      >
                      > I take it that you have the track list for the layout
                      > available. But I
                      > don't know if you got an English one. I looked up the
                      > German PDF file
                      > for the layout:
                      >
                      > http://www.noch.de/pictures/PDFs/Gleisplaene/61800.pdf
                      >
                      > on page two you can find the statement from Noch about the
                      > use of
                      > Z-scale trains on those grades. There is written that you
                      > can run the
                      > mountain line with short trains up to 8 axles with out a
                      > problem. If
                      > you have cars with trucks and the train has more then 8
                      > axles (which
                      > means more then two cars) you will need two engines. If you
                      > have only
                      > 2 axle cars, then you will need two engines if you have 12
                      > axles in
                      > your train.
                      >  
                      > > Plus now I'm seeing the bridges and tunnels are
                      > for N scale
                      >
                      > It is written that you should use the mentioned N-scale
                      > bridges also
                      > for Z-scale. Then those bridges would be to wide for my
                      > liking. Maybe
                      > with some kitbashing of Z-scale bridges you can get a
                      > better picture.
                      >
                      > It is also stated that the portals are designed for
                      > N-scale. But I
                      > think that you can use Z-scale portals for the tunnels with
                      > some
                      > adaptive work too.
                      >
                      > > and the Marklin track plan costs $1,500!  Is this
                      > kind of cost
                      > > normal for z scale?
                      >
                      > I haven't calculated the track list for costs, but I
                      > see two ways to
                      > cut at least some of the costs. First you can get track
                      > often for less
                      > money on E-Bay or other second hand places.
                      >
                      > Then you can use flex track for much of the layout.
                      > I've seen 17
                      > sections 8592. This is a length adjustable section from 100
                      > to 120 mm.
                      > If you go the flex track way at least for the straight
                      > parts you can
                      > save a lot of money.
                      >
                      > > Is MTL track cheaper and, if so, is MTL track
                      > and Marklin track
                      > > compatible?
                      >
                      > MTL roadbed track is cheaper as Maerklin track, and it is
                      > compatible
                      > in footprint to the Maerklin sections as far as the
                      > sections are
                      > available. Unfortunately a lot of straight sections are not
                      > available
                      > yet from MTL.
                      >
                      > Regarding the curves I see that there is no 8510 145mm
                      > radii section
                      > in the track plan. The 145mm radii is not available from
                      > MTL. Also not
                      > available (but it will come I'm sure) is the 8531 220mm
                      > radii 30°
                      > section.
                      >
                      > MTL and Maerklin track section can be connected, but it
                      > needs some
                      > adjusting since the rail height (code) is different. But
                      > this can be
                      > done.
                      >
                      > Under closer inspection of the track plan I would go with
                      > flex track
                      > anyway. This because I see that at some places the curves
                      > aren't fully
                      > perfect with those sectional tracks. If you look at the
                      > left side of
                      > the layout you see at the main level (the double track
                      > line) in the
                      > upper left that there is placed a 8520 a 8521 and a 8591
                      > curve for a
                      > 90° curve. But those sections only goes to 88°. The same
                      > goes for the
                      > upper right corner.
                      >
                      > 8520 / 8530 45°
                      > 8521 / 8531 30°
                      > 8591 13°
                      >
                      > In the lower left the curve is made from 4 x 8591 and 1 x
                      > 852(3)1 this
                      > calculates to 82°. If you take the lower right hand
                      > corner it also
                      > goes to 4x 8591 and one 852(3)1.
                      >
                      > Together those curves calculate to 340° to the full
                      > circle...
                      >
                      > > What have I done?
                      >
                      > You got yourself a pretty interesting project...
                      >
                      >
                      > --
                      > GreetingZ
                      > Uwe
                      >
                      >
                      > ------------------------------------
                      >
                      > Z-scale: minimum siZe, MAXIMUM enjoyment!
                      > Yahoo! Groups Links
                      >
                      >
                      >
                    • Todd Shoffeitt
                      Steve, I ll weigh in since I am building an even bigger layout for my first layout. Use MTL flex track wherever you can. Its easier to work with than Marklin
                      Message 10 of 11 , Dec 2, 2008
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                        Steve,
                        I'll weigh in since I am building an even bigger layout for my first
                        layout. Use MTL flex track wherever you can. Its easier to work
                        with than Marklin track and it is less expensive. Also, use Atlas N
                        gauge code 55 rail joiners to join the flex. The MTL joiners are
                        pretty good, much better than the Marklin ones, but the bigger rail
                        joiners are more secure, easier to see and install, and really help
                        keep the ends of the flex track in gauge, even on curves. Also,
                        unless you are planning on gluing down the track, which I don't
                        recommend, at least at first until you get the track just the way you
                        want it, use Walthers Code 73/83 track nails to hold down the flex.
                        They are longer and larger than the Marklin track nails, and look
                        better in my opinion. Also, its nice to be able to shift around the
                        track a little bit while under construction, then you can glue it
                        down when everything fits and looks right.

                        I am using Marklin switches with MTL flex, and its working just
                        fine. As far as cash goes, Z is not for the faint of heart, but
                        here's a few things you could try as well.

                        One, use manual switches instead of remotes, especially in areas that
                        are easy to reach or won't be used as much. The Marklin manual
                        switches work well and are about half the prices.

                        Two, leave off some sidings, yards or passing tracks until you need
                        them. If its on a main line, put in a Marklin 8500 sectional track
                        in place of the switch, and when you are ready to put in the switch
                        for the siding or yard, cut the 8500 in half with the handy motor
                        tool, pull it out and install the switch. Make sure and leave enough
                        space without ties on the ends of the track on either side of the
                        8500 so you can use the sliding rail joiner trick when you install
                        the switch. This way you can build the thing in sections, get some
                        trains running and then add on as you want and can afford to.

                        Third, cut your own cork roadbed. The Itty Bitty lines is great
                        stuff, but its real expensive. Find some thin sheet cork that is
                        used to build cork message boards and cut your own strips of
                        roadbed. All the roadbed on my 15' x 5' foot layout cost me about
                        $24 at a local homecenter called Menards here in Chicago, but you may
                        need to try an arts and crafts or office supply store out in
                        California. Cut the strips 24mm wide for straighter sections and 12
                        wide and use two strips for curves. A 2 foot metal ruler and a good
                        exacto type with a sharp #11 blade will work fine for cutting.

                        Feel free to email me if you have any specific questions about this.
                        If you want to see pictures of what I'm doing, I just posted some pic
                        of my adventure in Z Central Station under the "Building the
                        Trinimosa Branch" gallery. I've built layouts in N and G scales, and
                        Z is not really that much different, but there are some tricks that
                        can make life easier.

                        Good luck, Todd
                      • Don A
                        Ouch, that is a steep grade of 5%. Most of us stick to about 2%. If your consists are real short, the 5% MAY work, depending on the engine and cars. If you
                        Message 11 of 11 , Dec 4, 2008
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                          Ouch, that is a steep grade of 5%. Most of us stick to about 2%. If
                          your consists are real short, the 5% MAY work, depending on the engine
                          and cars. If you use MTL flextrack, you should be able to cut your
                          track costs by about 60% or a LOT more. As for scenery, use foam and
                          plaster cloth and hydrocal and resin rock castings and you should be
                          able to build a real fine layout for several hundred dollars [in
                          addition to the track etc]. If you have just a little ability you can
                          scratch build some real fine bridges from plastic from Plastruct or
                          Evergreen. I did that and also built one from foam and old business
                          cards. Cost for the business card one wasn't zero, but getting pretty
                          close. There are a number of Z Scalers in the Bay Area and also
                          toward San Diego who may be able to help you out. Try the yahoo group
                          ...BAZ_modules... for openers. I'm at the other end of the country
                          so can't help too much. ...don

                          --- In z_scale@yahoogroups.com, Steve Piwnica <stevepiw@...> wrote:
                          >
                          >
                          > Hello everyone - I'm basically new to z scale (dormant for the last
                          year) and pretty new to model railroading and I think I have just
                          gotten myself into a jam (being the overly ambitious guy that I am) by
                          going out and buying the Noch Schwarzwald layout.� So I begin to
                          assemble the ramps and bridges and I notice the grade seems pretty
                          steep, rising about 2 inches over 40 inches in one place and even more
                          in another.� So will this be too much?� I read everywhere that 3% is
                          about the maximum.� Or maybe I'll just be limited to short trains?
                          > �
                          > Plus now I'm seeing the bridges and tunnels are for N scale and the
                          Marklin track plan costs $1,500!� Is this kind of cost normal for z
                          scale?� Is MTL track cheaper and, if so, is MTL track and�Marklin
                          track compatible?
                          > �
                          > What have I done?
                          > Thanks much,
                          > Steve Piwnica
                          > Orange County, CA
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                          >
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