Author Topic: A Norfolk Southern Z Scale Layout  (Read 1083 times)

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Kuchler10

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A Norfolk Southern Z Scale Layout
« on: August 21, 2019, 09:19:08 PM »
+1
With a lot of things in my life up in the air and not a lot of room to work with, I have decided that Z scale is the best way I can accomplish a complete, portable layout and not have to commit large amounts of space and money to it. My goal is to have the ability to carry the layout in one hand and all the equipment in a tool box in the other hand, put it in my car, set the layout on a table anywhere with or without a plug, remove the top, put things on the track and go.

My vision is to have a large scenery-to-trains ratio depicting a modern Norfolk Southern mainline in Pennsylvania. My focus will be on presentation, not operation. Very carefully weathered pieces in carefully planned and executed scenery will display awesome AZL rolling stock and hopefully make for some photogenic scenes and get people as excited for the possibilities in Z as I am.

The plan is to have someone custom-build a 23"x50" frame for me (I don't have the tools to do it myself), which will fit on top of a desk in the corner of my room. It will also fit under my bed and in the backseat of my car. I envision a plywood cover over the layout to protect it while in transit and storage. It will also be self-contained with a drawer for the battery-powered controllers. No power plug necessary.

Rolling stock will be all Norfolk Southern. The first order was two GE's, a Horsehead and the Interstate heritage unit, with eight coal porters. I stumbled upon a sweet deal on the Illinois Terminal heritage unit, so that is on its way to me as well. I am very seriously considering a pre-order for the MTL weathered husky stack 8-pack, also.

Track and controllers will be Rokuhan. I am maxing out on the radius, so the loops will be 270mm and 245mm with super-elevation. Hopefully I will be able to use the body-mount couplers instead of the truck-mount couplers for better appearance, but I will have to experiment once I get the equipment.

I have started a few different projects in the past which never got very far, so I am going to push myself to see this one all the way through. Hopefully ya'll can help me keep it on track, too. Stay tuned...
« Last Edit: September 04, 2019, 01:22:12 PM by Kuchler10 »
Chessie System in N and Norfolk Southern in Z

peteski

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Re: Going to the Dark Side: A Norfolk Southern Z Scale Layout
« Reply #1 on: August 21, 2019, 10:08:20 PM »
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LOL, on this forum "going to the dark side" means going from Z or N to H0, or larger scales.  We are largely small-scale-centric.  ;)  But you're a newbie, so this is an easy mistake to make.  :D
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Dave V

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Re: Going to the Dark Side: A Norfolk Southern Z Scale Layout
« Reply #2 on: August 21, 2019, 10:16:53 PM »
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LOL, on this forum "going to the dark side" means going from Z or N to H0, or larger scales.  We are largely small-scale-centric.  ;)  But you're a newbie, so this is an easy mistake to make.  :D

My thought exactly.  I joined the Dark Side about two and a half years ago when I went from N to HOn3.  If anything, in Z scale you've achieved Jedi Master.   :D
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Jbub

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Re: Going to the Dark Side: A Norfolk Southern Z Scale Layout
« Reply #3 on: August 21, 2019, 11:42:13 PM »
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Well, the way star wars is purportedly going the dark side and light side are going to combine and we'll have gray jedi. So modeling any scale makes you one with the force!?   ;)
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peteski

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Re: Going to the Dark Side: A Norfolk Southern Z Scale Layout
« Reply #4 on: August 22, 2019, 12:43:49 AM »
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Well, the way star wars is purportedly going the dark side and light side are going to combine and we'll have gray jedi. So modeling any scale makes you one with the force!?   ;)

May the Schwartz be with you!
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nkalanaga

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Re: Going to the Dark Side: A Norfolk Southern Z Scale Layout
« Reply #5 on: August 22, 2019, 02:19:37 AM »
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I thought he meant "dark side" literally - as in basic black, the NS colors!  Hadn't thought of it in scale terms...
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MK

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Re: Going to the Dark Side: A Norfolk Southern Z Scale Layout
« Reply #6 on: August 22, 2019, 08:21:10 AM »
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May the Schwartz be with you!

Luke is Jewish????   :trollface:

Smike

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Re: Going to the Dark Side: A Norfolk Southern Z Scale Layout
« Reply #7 on: August 22, 2019, 09:20:45 AM »
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'NS' my kind of layout  :D  Although good luck with the "and money to it" part.  :D :D

nickelplate759

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Re: Going to the Dark Side: A Norfolk Southern Z Scale Layout
« Reply #8 on: August 22, 2019, 10:28:48 AM »
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Luke is Jewish????   :trollface:
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dem34

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Re: Going to the Dark Side: A Norfolk Southern Z Scale Layout
« Reply #9 on: August 22, 2019, 11:19:53 AM »
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Luke is Jewish????   :trollface:

Drewish actually
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Rich_S

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Re: Going to the Dark Side: A Norfolk Southern Z Scale Layout
« Reply #10 on: August 25, 2019, 07:32:24 PM »
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I thought he meant "dark side" literally - as in basic black, the NS colors!  Hadn't thought of it in scale terms...

Those were my thoughts as well. As in the evil empire that has been replacing all the beloved PRR Position Light Signals with the Darth Vader signals  :D
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Rivet Miscounter

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Re: Going to the Dark Side: A Norfolk Southern Z Scale Layout
« Reply #11 on: August 25, 2019, 09:24:51 PM »
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Nice concept, and welcome to Z.  I went from N to Z a few years ago so I understand the allure to Z.   The AZL stuff is all pretty nice and even MTL has done their share of late. (despite all of the whining about them)  I ordered that TTX Husky Stack set too and cannot wait.  It hopefully shouldn't be long now.   And definitely a good choice picking Rokuhan...you won't regret it.   I have been working on a similar size layout for a couple of years, mine is a 20" x 54" conglomeration of BNSF, commuter, and shortline trains.
« Last Edit: August 26, 2019, 04:05:01 PM by Rivet Miscounter »

nkalanaga

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Re: Going to the Dark Side: A Norfolk Southern Z Scale Layout
« Reply #12 on: August 26, 2019, 12:44:45 AM »
+1
Rich:  It isn't just PRR signals.  I've been working in Prichard, WV, for seven years now.  When I started, the NS still had their color-position-light signals, a real oddity to someone who grew up with the NP semaphores, and spent most of the previous 30+ years looking at C&O/Chessie/CSX signals.  They were replaced a few years ago with the modern ones.

Those new ones seem to have LED lights, or newer lenses, as they're almost impossible to see from the highway.  They must make a much tighter beam.
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Kuchler10

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Re: Going to the Dark Side: A Norfolk Southern Z Scale Layout
« Reply #13 on: September 03, 2019, 06:23:35 PM »
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I have had the equipment for about a week now, and I can break down my thoughts on Z scale so far.



Pros: The AZL equipment looks fantastic. The Interstate Heritage unit has extremely sharp printing, accurate colors, finely molded details. Spectacular. The Coalporters have excellent printing as well. AZL really outdid themselves with the GE's. They look better than most N scale locomotives I have owned.

Cons: The operating characteristics of the equipment is... lacking at best. Having installed plows and experimented with the 270mm super-elevated curves, performance leaves a lot to be desired. The EMD unit cannot have its plow on the trailing end of a consist without derailing the coal porters. That's disappointing, but understandable. But also, any consist with two or more locos creates a jerky performance where the coal porters with the "Auto-latch" couplers break apart immediately. I have experimented with adding weight, but with little success so far.

With the cons being almost all about performance, I might have to rethink my plans altogether, before I can move forward with the layout itself. I have to find a way to weight the hoppers enough so that they stay together, but not enough so that the units can't pull them, or the couplers come apart when the train slows down.

Chessie System in N and Norfolk Southern in Z

Kuchler10

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Re: A Norfolk Southern Z Scale Layout
« Reply #14 on: September 04, 2019, 01:27:56 PM »
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Update: After doing some cleaning and finding out that the contact tabs are a lot harder to align than in N scale, everything is running better. I will need to find a long-term solution for the coal porter couplers, but for now I am enjoying just running trains.

Chessie System in N and Norfolk Southern in Z