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Model Train Resource: Online Videos of Great Z-Scale Track Plans

Updated on December 14, 2016

© 2011 by Aurelio Locsin

If you like to run long consists of freight or passenger cars but have limited space, then Z-scale will fulfill your dreams. At a proportion of 1/220, this model railroading type boasts tighter turning radii and greater cars per square inch then the more common HO. Check out some videos of what fellow hobbyists have created in this size.

Suitcase Empire

XRDaddy1 “builds model trains and builds them well.” This custom model builder puts an entire train-watcher’s delight inside an American Tourister suitcase, with built in holders for the steam locomotive and five cars, and the power pack. The simple track oval has a folded loop with two tunnels, a river and mountain lake, a Quonset hut compound and a trestle bridge. I’m not sure if it’s the case is carry-on size, but it looks sturdy enough to be taken anywhere.

Needle Eye

Tor-Jorgen Moskaug’s Needle Eye module is located in Oslo Norway but is set in an American West of canyons, pines, and scratch-built structures and trestle bridges. With some two-stepping country music in the background, a steamer pull three flatcar loads of logs past a mill, a creek, a water tank and windmill, a shanty town and a mining facility. Much of this is scratch-built, and it’s easy to forget the size because of the detail. Until a giant hand fixing the foliage puts it all into perspective.

Altura Mini Z Line

If you want to see two diesels pull 15 tank cars, or enjoy a modern loco snaking by with 15 boxcars, then visit the Altura Mini Z Line at the LaCrosse, Wisconsin Train Show. Rolling green hills and rocky cuts, a highway with modern vehicles, a forest of trees and a smattering of contemporary structures highlight this effort.

Stafford Springs

Z-scale is not limited to sprawling natural vistas, but can show urban and town scenes just as well, as revealed by this layout based on Stafford Springs, Connecticut. The realistic structures come from photos of actual buildings in the town. A working and lighted crossing, a church, modern cars, a commercial district, telephone poles and street signs add to the pike’s charm. Train sound effects ramp up the realism.

The Train Show

Sit in your favorite easy chair and grab a beverage and popcorn to enjoy part 1 (below) and part 2 of The Train Show’s special on Z scale, filmed at the National Train Show in Cincinnati, Ohio. Marvel at club modules with towering mountain scenery as tall as a man, an intricate oil refinery module, and reveals of some new diesel models. Be sure and turn up the volume, so you can hear all the informative commentary. The entire episode takes about 20 minutes.


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    • alocsin profile imageAUTHOR

      Aurelio Locsin 

      8 years ago from Orange County, CA

      Incredible, David, thanks for the link. That 600+ car yard was something else.

    • profile image

      David Lancaster 

      8 years ago

      Try this video from NTS 2011. Follow a Z scale Challenger for a 15 minute lap once around the huge layout.


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