Published in the NMRA Bulletin: October 2002
(Text and photos © Copyright NMRA Bulletin and Scale Rails Magazine)

NMRA Bulletin: Z-Scale Rails by Jeffrey MacHan

Z-SIG NewZ Bulletin #1: Module Groups Set World Record

Welcome to the first in a continuing series of reports from the front lines of the Z_Scale special interest group or Z-SIG. Much has been happening in the 1/220 world so let's get started...

What's the buZZ about "Z"?

Visitors to this year's NMRA National Train Show in Fort Lauderdale, July 19- 21, were in for more than the usual treat of exceptional modules and portable layouts. They had the opportunity to witness the largest gathering of "Z" scale in North America under one roof.

For several years now the "Z" presence at the National Train Show has steadily frown from a single layout in 1999 to the point where the 2002 gathering of "Z" modules established a world record for continuous operating mainline. Under the coordination of Billy Roden from Dallas, TX, modules and operators from Houston Z-Bend Track, Wahsington (DC) Z-Bend Track and Dallas, Garland & Mesquite Z-Mod joined forces to fill a 50' x 75' area with 1/220 scale trains.

The official measuring ceremony took place Sunday, July 21st and was conducted by Chad Bryan representing the module groups, Dieter Nolte, representing ZClub92 and Jeffrey MacHan of Z_Scale SIG. The new standard is 356.7 feet continuous operating running length (118.9 yards = 108.72 meters = 14.86 scale miles).

Even more interesting for the viewing public and our fellow model railroaders was the fact that 8 trains were running over double mainline trackage on the majority of the modules. To the suprise of many Rob Allbritton's Swiss "Gotthard" modules had operating catenary and computer-controlled DCC! Rob and his associate, Randy Smidt from Washington, DC, were more than happy to discuss the subtlties of "Z" DCC with passersby.

The 2002 modular gathering was a "large" effort and contributions from Ztrack Magazine, Bob's Model Railroading Supplies, Micron Art, Pennzee and Märklin helped smooth the bumps.

More information about Z modular standards can be found at: Z-Bend_Track

If you're curious about how we get decoders into "Z" scale locomotives, check out: Z_Scale_DCC.

Of course everyone is welcome to follow the fun of the Z-SIG at Z_Scale. Stay tuned for the next instalment of Z-SIG NewZ.

Respectfully submitted by,
Jeffrey MacHan, Z-SIG coordinator