Anthony's Digital Z Blog

I have been building an Alpine scene railroad in DCC and DC over the last few years in Z scale and have been inspired by other great blogs to start my own and record my progress/trials/tribulatons. I have learned so much from other member's comments in other blogs and I am hoping my story will help others and I may be lucky enough to have some of my questions answered to my hurtles overcome.

First a quick summary of what the little world I am creating is all about:

I am modeling (roughly) Alpine terrain with small villages, a river and lots of mts and bridges (of course). I grew up with a decent sized HO layout in my basement though my dad and I never went beyond lots of track and handful of buildings and one never-really-finished mountain. When I moved into my first apt I wanted to build a set but room was an issue so I decided on Z scale for sheer convenience. I bought a Marking steam engine, a couple pieces of rolling stock, a bunch of track and some turnouts. I ended up building a 2'x4' L-shaped table and had most of the roadbed glued down when financial circumstances and a move to a new place cut that short. Everything went into boxes and I finally brought them back into the light about 7 1/2 yrs ago to create my current empire in the basement of the house my wife and I currently rent.

I was inspired by the Alpine idea from a trip my German class took to Germany when I was in high school. I loved the old buildings, small villages and the majestic mts of southern Germany, Austria and Bavaria where we traveled. We also visited castle Neuschwanstein in Bavaria (you've seen pics of it, I promise) and I actually found a 1:220 model of it I built and painted it a few winters ago to add to my layout.

Marklin makes a series of elec locos that can be run off of the pantographs and overhead wires they provide. I essentially have two layouts in one. My DC section is a mainline of elec locos and my DCC section is steam and diesel locos running both passenger and freight trains. 

The first picture below is what the original benchwork and shape of the entire layout was supposed to be as of about 7 1/2 yrs ago. The next three pictures are a rough panographic view of the layout as it looks as of yesterday. You can see a huge evolution over the years that came about from much trial and error (LOTS of error) and necessity in order to make it work the way I wanted it to. However, it gave me  a lot of happy accidents as well as many opportunities which I will go into in future blog posts.

No matter the scale, wiring, scenery, maintenance etc are all pretty much the same so I hope guys with other scales will feel free to contribute here as well. Z scale adds a few extra challenges in many aspects but most can be overcome with a little patience (who am I kidding; a LOT of patience) and some creative thinking.

I have also added function decoders to a few Marklin Z scale steam and  diesel engines and have been experimenting with adding sound decoders to a few Marklin steam engines lately and I think I have been fully successful with at least two of them so far.

 That's my quick rundown. In future posts, I will dive deeper into the evolution of this layout over the years and and all the mistakes I made that got me to this point. I will also go into the details of my recent sound decoder installations as I know there is very little out there for Z scale folks regarding this concept.


1 comment

Fantastic work love to see one day do you live in. New Jersey


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