Z scale coffee table layout.
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Author:  Cadman [ Wed Mar 27, 2013 7:37 pm ]
Post subject:  Z scale coffee table layout.

Some background on my layout. Normally I am a shipmodeler, but railroad modeling has always been one of my primary hobbies. So when the wife asked me to relocate our big glass top coffee table to the library, I decided I was going to try to build a layout in it. We had previously displayed all kinds of memorabilia in the top drawer where it was visible under glass. But that's no fun. So I cleared all the junk out and laid down a basic oval of MTL track and hooked it up to a vintage Control Master X. Armed with a couple of AZL GP38's and two MTL SD40-2's, I was in business.
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The trains were a big hit with my two granddaughters. With me too as their quick little hands couldn't snatch any up any vital parts. But to do it right, I needed to have at least two trains running.
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So I experimented with what seemed like hundreds of layout options using the Any Rail 5 program. Finally after trying to make a limited selection of MTL track pieces fit in such a confined space, I came up with a plan. A basic over an under with a double track main, plenty of sidings and a small yard should give me plenty to work with. I printed out my track plan at full scale on my plotter and laminated that to a 31 x 35 sheet of 1/2" insulating foam sheet. Using a box knife, I cut around the track where the grade will rise and fall. I'm, leaving plenty of room on the sides as I can always carve it away when things are secured. The separated sections will be gently raised to reach a 1-1/2" clearance point for the track to clear a double stack car (and then some). I laid the track out to test the design. Yeah, it works. Now to run the wiring and other basics.

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Author:  Cadman [ Mon Aug 05, 2013 12:32 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Z scale coffee table layout.

Test running.

Author:  Cadman [ Wed Sep 25, 2013 8:50 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Z scale coffee table layout.

A little more progress.

I changed the siding around to allow center loop trains to get into and out of the yard without tying up the outer loop too long. Before I can go much further, I need to attach the upper drawer woodwork and run a few more wires.

Author:  Cadman [ Wed Oct 23, 2013 9:46 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Z scale coffee table layout.

To ensure reliable track power, I have added a number of feeders to the track. I am using Atlas Code 55 joiners that a near perfect match for the MTL Z scale track. I have modified most of the MTL turnouts to increase the gap between the inside guide rails and the main rails. This is done by dragging an Xacto knife between the two letting the sharp end of the blade shave away a portion of the guide rail. I have also rounded the switch points slightly to reduce the picking effect on the wheels. I have had to adjust my grades slightly, especially where the turnouts are. I find that a grade change where the turnouts are increases the likely hood of a derailment. There is very little margin for error in 1.220 scale. However on a few problem turnouts I am going to experiment with Rokuhan track to see if it helps.

While I wait for new turnouts, I have moved on to scenery. I used Woodland Scenic's rock molds to give the mountain a more realistic appearance. Still have a lot of work to do, but here is how it looks now. I will be pouring the river soon and working on the town in the center of the layout.
Here is a video showing two trains running with the coal train taking the detour through the branch line lower tunnel.

Author:  Cadman [ Fri Mar 07, 2014 12:22 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Z scale coffee table layout.

I installed LED lights under the top to provide lighting. Here is a test with the glass on.
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This should take care of the glare and dark spots.

Author:  Cadman [ Mon Mar 10, 2014 12:54 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Z scale coffee table layout.

Some views of my AZL Geeps on the layout.
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Author:  Cadman [ Thu Sep 18, 2014 8:23 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Z scale coffee table layout.

Still running wire, but had to do some testing and got carried away.

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Author:  Cadman [ Mon Jan 19, 2015 11:09 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Z scale coffee table layout.

An update:

Layout is now safe under glass. I still need to finish the little town in the middle, and add some miscellaneous details, but it's operational.

I am still having problems with the turnouts hanging and not switching fully. I also need to install some Teflon strips to allow the drawer to slide easier. This will help when the inevitable derailment happens.

Author:  Cadman [ Mon Jul 11, 2016 12:53 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Z scale coffee table layout.

Testing my SD70Mac's running in DC mode.

Author:  Cadman [ Sat Jan 14, 2017 9:28 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Z scale coffee table layout.

Birds eye view.

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