- MTL (Micro Trains Lines) is great but it is mainly for American RRs.
Peco and Marklin flex track have ties that are a little larger and
spaced further apart.
If you are modeling European rail than Marklin or Peco may be better for
you. If you are modeling American than you should consider MTL.
The only Z scale switches available however, are Maklin, and their ties
match their flex track and look out of place when used with MTL.
Since I was not interested in using code 40 rail for my layout I never
considered ordering any switch kits from Republic Loco Works. I am
interested in their ties however.
In order to construct hand laid switches I need PC ties and switch
ties. RLW makes ties for NN3 scale so I am assuming that they would be
a little large for Z. I cannot imagine being able to cut PC ties small
enough to be used in Z.
Other than cutting your own, RLW PC ties may be the only solution. Just
look at what they get away with on HO switches. Things with giant
rivets in them. I have never seen prototype switches that looked
anything like the commercial HO or N scale switches.
If any one out there on the Z-list has any ideas for Z scale ties please
One of the problems with switches are the points. I have never had any
problems with the frogs. I never used the NMRA standards or any
templates. When I built HO scale switches I used the NMRA track gauge
and carefully made certain that every thing was constructed to the
dimensions of the track gauge.
My problems were with the points. When I built custom switches using
code 100 rail, I built the points using steel rail. It was the most
difficult material to work with but the most durable. Solenoid machines
would not cause them to get out of gauge, or cause them to bend away
from the stock rails.
Code 100 and code 70 nickle silver rails were the rails available in
those days and were easier to file into points but their softness was a
problem. I see many turnouts where the throw bar (that tie rod which
connects the two points and move them from side to side) is not
connected to the points right at the tips of the points. They are
connected a little ways back.
When it is connected a little ways back, the points will bend away from
the stock rails. After some period of time and your equipment will
begin to split the switch. Most commercial switches have the points
made from stamped metal and not the same metal as used in the rails. In
this way the manufacturer can use much stronger metal for the points and
not worry about the points bending away.
I am not a metal worker so I could never solve this problem with the
smaller rail. I could never keep a code 40 switch functioning correctly
for any length of time. They required constant adjusting. Even Code 55
would be a challenge. You would need a very strong solder and an wide
throw bar, or rail made from a much harder metal. When you file the
rail down to make a switch point you just do not have much material to
You are correct about the visual impact of the size of rail but if you
could build a scale railroad to the exact physical size required by your
choice of scale I do not believe that you will have a model railroad
that would operate. The laws of physics to not scale down.
There are some things that we must compromise on. I do not mean to
discourage you from trying your ideas but, just want to point out some
things that you may have to consider. I think that the fellows from RLW
were trying to point this out for you.
For me, this is what draws me to Z scale model Railroading. Static
display models only need to be miniaturized, but Model RR's need to
function after miniaturizing. Z scale has a lot of areas to be worked
on and doesn't require a lot of space for experimenting.
Collecting is not my thing. Devising a different solution to solve
problems is what interests me.
Sorry to be so long winded but this is a subject that I have been
working on for a long time. I want to use broad curves for greater
realism and also need switches that would be larger than #8. Would like
to go to #12s, but they take a lot of linear space.
After working with Z for a few years, HO is a gigantic scale. N is
still too big and requires more skill to build accurate models. Z scale
is a size where the little details can be left off and you can still
build a model that will be recognizable.
Alex W wrote:
> From: "Alex W" <TrainRunner@...>
> Any comment about MTL flex track? That's what I use, and I think it works
> great... (But then, I haven't tried Peco or Marklin flex track...)
> - Alex W.
> "Trust in God.
> Believe in yourself.
> Dare to Dream."