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:
If you're curious about how we get decoders into "Z" scale locomotives, check
Of course everyone is welcome to follow the fun of the Z-SIG at
Stay tuned for the next instalment of Z-SIG NewZ.
Respectfully submitted by,
Jeffrey MacHan, Z-SIG coordinator