Introduction and q on scales

Hi all,
I'm 39 now, and alas find that all my HO stuff from the 70's succumbed to flooding (still being in boxes on my now retired parents' basement
floor). Such is life. Now with 2 and 4 year old sons of my own, it's time to get back into model trains. YES! Thanks Polar Express.
We have a cheap O scale from Christmas for the boys to play with, but I really love N scale and even saw a Z scale setup built into a coffee table with a glass top at a local show. Neat.
My question for the group is: are there any Z scale steam engines available with working steam and whistle, or is N the smallest? I understand that N is pretty popular, like right up there with HO and that Z is a newcomer and Marklin makes mostly Euro models.
Advice?
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Little fingers are going to have a hard time dealing with anything smaller than HO, S would probably be better, but I also understand space constraints. I've only dabbled with N, not impressed with how fragile they are, scratch building supplies aren't as easy to come by as HO. Z scale is, I believe, a novelty, and will probably remain a novelty, although a very expensive one. If the kids are the ones that are going to be using it, I'd have to say something with an 0-4-0 or 0-6-0 loco and smaller freight cars, but nothing that's going to take any amount of coordination to get on the tracks. One other, diesels don't have many parts that you can see in motion when it's running, steam at least has the side and drive rods to add a little interest for young minds. Someone, (Lifelike?) has an HO docksider set, probably as good a starting point as any other. Slightly more expensive, Bachmann has some ON30 stuff that's fairly nice, somewhat bigger than HO, being basically O scale but with smaller narrow gage equipment. It's a horse apiece, still depending on your available space.
Rich
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merlotbrougham wrote: I'm 39 now, and alas find that all my HO stuff from the 70's succumbed to flooding (still being in boxes on my now retired parents' basement floor). Such is life. Now with 2 and 4 year old sons of my own, it's time to get back into model trains. YES! Thanks Polar Express. We have a cheap O scale from Christmas for the boys to play with, but I really love N scale and even saw a Z scale setup built into a coffee table with a glass top at a local show. Neat. My question for the group is: are there any Z scale steam engines available with working steam and whistle, or is N the smallest? I understand that N is pretty popular, like right up there with HO and that Z is a newcomer and Marklin makes mostly Euro models. ------------------------------------------------------ This should offer some information about Z scale:
http://www.ztrack.com /
Thor's All Gauge Page has a wealth of valuable info:
http://www.thortrains.com /
Good luck with your railroad!
Bill Bill's Railroad Empire N Scale Model Railroad: http://www.billsrailroad.net Brief History of N Scale: http://www.billsrailroad.net/history/n-scale Model Railroad Bookstore: http://www.billsrailroad.net/bookstore Resources--Links to 1,100 sites: http://www.billsrailroad.net/bills-favorite-links
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Whoops, wasn't clear- the Z or N scale stuff would be for me, not the chillins'! Thanks for the advice and links.
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I have always been interested in doing something in Z scale, so I occasionally 'browse'. I have found that the availability of materials is too limited to do a layout that would be (in theory) one and a half times as big as my N scale layout -- getting more into the same amount of space would be the big payoff for me.
I'm not aware of any Z locos w/ working steam and whistle -- seams like this would be nearly impossible to pull off given the size. I suggest picking up a copy of the Walthers N&Z Catalog. As far as I know it contains the largest selection of Z stuff --- and is still only a tiny fraction of the book. Micro-Trains makes some Z scale stuff in addition to Marklin. I think MT has a more N. American selection.
One other consideration -- I am 39 also. Depending how serious you want to get into a layout, but I have found that even N scale bits and pieces are increasingly more difficult to handle and see as I count off birthdays.

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Shonc182 wrote:

Why even try to get a sound system _inside_ a Z gauge loco? The distances they run are so short that a baseboard mounted system would be far superior!
I suggest picking up

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I just wanted to follow up and give an update on my progress. Thanks for all the responses and emails. This forum has been very helpful.
I have the O scale steamy for my 4 yr old. That scale is great for the floor around the Christmas tree. A bit big for the house.
Picked up a flea market HO set with the silver/red Santa Fe and ezlock tracks. This seems ideal for my sons to play with in the basement. I haven't found an engine with steam and sound in this scale yet. My old set with the little brass track connectors are too frustrating for little guys' fingers. Heck, my fingers too. Diggin' the ezlock.
Bought an N-scale Bachman Frontiersman set from my local shop and set it up on a coffee table in my office at work. N is plenty small enough and after a morning pot of coffee I can barely get the little sucker on the track. Needs a perfectly flat table with smooth clean rails.
I can't see a Z scale for anything but a novelty (for me anyway). Just too frustrating for my stubby fingers. N is tricky enough, and small enough for a built-in coffee table setup.
Just my .02. Thanks all.
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

Well, there are inexpensive plastic railers for N scale that greatly simplify getting them on the rails.
However, if you limit yourself to coffee tables with N scale, you're missing out on one of the best things about it. You need to get to a train show where N-Track has a large setup, and see them running 100-150 car trains over a scale mile long.
I'm working on a home layout design to begin construction soon that will allow me to run 30-40 car trains, and has an over 5 scale mile run point to point... in N scale.
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Thanks Joe.
I've been to only a couple of local train shows so far and have seen several setups of all the scales. No doubt the large scale setups are most impressive, but there's something unique and appealing about cramming a whole little town inside a 2' x 5' table. I guess being a beginner, I'm just thinking small at this point.
Is N-Track an organization?
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On 17 Mar 2006 08:08:26 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

N-Trak is an organization and a fine one. It was started in the 70's by a gentleman by the name of Jim Fitzgerald . www.ntrak.org As far as I know ,they were the first to adopt module standards that were accepted nationally and then internationally. Although I model primarily in Hon3 , I have been involved with NTrak since the mid 70's. I still have a 4' module and a small shelf layout.
I just love trains of all scales. Even have a few Z scale and On30 pieces.
Ken Day
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

You might say that... :)
See www.ntrak.org
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G gauge scales are way too big and way too expensive. O scale is much too large and too expensive. S scale is almost as bad as O and it's too expencive. HO scale is still too big and too expensive. N scale is too small and too expensive. Z scale is way too small and too expensive.
Its amazing how much fun you can have with expensive things that are too big or too small. Bruce

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Bruce Favinger wrote:

Sounds like you're a candidate for TT! - 12mm gauge. - 1:120 scale
Have you got rich parents? Uncles? Cousins? Lovers? Children? Grand-children? A hand-gun?
Regards, Greg.P.
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