The Val Ease Central Railroad ©

Taking Z Scale to the Public Around the World
(Text and photos © Copyright Jeffrey MacHan)

Last Spike: The times, they are a'changin'

It used to be that, as a "Z" modeller, one belonged to a very exclusive club. We were like a secret society almost. Although membership in the club was not limited in the least and there are no barriers to entry the club remained exclusive none the less. Why? because we "Z" scalers seem to keep what you might call a very low profile. Sure we complain about the other guys and their wide-circulation magazines and pyramid organizational structures who never talk about us but I suspect that we like it that way. Hey, they keep our secret safe too!

Dominique de Champeaux from Paris and Jeffrey MacHan from Toronto Jeremy Brandon and Manfred Jörger from Munich Terry Sutfin from Vancouver, WA, Jeremy Brandon and
Harald Freudenreich
Dominique & Jeffrey / Jeremy Brandon & Manfred Jörger / Terry Sutfin, Jeremy Brandon & Harald Freudenreich

Well, times are changing, I'm afraid. "Z" is making too much noise! March 21-24, 2002 another nail was placed in the coffin of our secrecy. At Faszination Modellbau / US Modellers train show in Sinsheim, Germany, 45,000+ visitors had a chance to see 5 excellent Z scale layouts in operation and to make purchases from 10 or more "Z" manufacturers. To make matters worse, one of the five exhibitors, Jens Wimmel, had the audacity to win FIRST prize in the private layout competition with his "Blumendorf" 100% digital layout. How in the world are we going to keep our club to ourselves when "Z" is in the spotlight of a major public exhibition? I know what you're thinking but wait, there's more! People came from all over the world practically to see the "Val Ease Central Railroad". Dominique de Champeaux from Paris, Eric Foxman from Washington State, USA, Primo and Violeta Koselj from Slovenia and many more from Germany and Switzerland including Manfred Jörger and Jeremy Brandon.

Frankly, there was no place to hide. Photographers from Alba Publications, Märklin Magazin and the TV crew from SWR3 were on hand to destroy our "Z" tranquility. I even hear that people are talking about "Z" on the Internet. What can I say...the times, they certainly are a'changin'...

Regional TV network 3 shoot scenes of the VEC for future
Regional TV network 3 cameraman shoots scenes of the VEC for a future show.