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Z Scale Track

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  • Member since
    July, 2006
  • 21 posts
Z Scale Track
Posted by PDizzle on Thursday, April 27, 2017 5:58 PM

I just built my first z scale layout, using Micro-Trains Micro-Track (flex track and turnouts).  The operational results are very disappointing.  Although the trains run well on the flex track, the turnouts provoke frequent derailments and do not conduct power to the locomotives well.  The trains either derail or stall most of the time when going through the turnouts.  The grooves in the frogs are very shallow and a bit bumpy.

I have cleaned the wheels and the track repeatedly and have tried replacing turnouts with no real success.  I have tried multiple locomotives (all 4-axle diesels) with no significant improvement in operation.

Any suggestions?  Would a 6-axle loco do better, and does anyone manufacture a quality 6-axle z scale locomotive with flywheels?  Is there any way to modify the Micro-Track turnouts to eliminate or reduce the problem?

This is my 6th or 7th layout.  All of the previous layouts were n scale and operated well.  I was very careful with track alignment.

Many thanks for any help! 





  • Member since
    July, 2006
  • From: Central Vermont
  • 4,012 posts
Posted by cowman on Friday, April 28, 2017 7:34 PM

Let's try this again, computer locked up first time I tried to send an answer.

My answers may not be much help, but at least it will get you back up to the top of the page for awhile.

Are the tracks on the turnouts in gauge?

I know that Atlas Snap switches have an electerical problem and require jump wires to insure power to all sections of the rail.  I just held wires in place to determine that was the problem.

You say the grooves are shallow and a bit bumpy.  Do the wheel flanges hit the bottom of the frog and ride up?  Make them deeper.  Are the tops of the frogs above the rail, making the wheels ride up?  File them down.

Those are the problems I have seen listed for other gauges, so I presume that it could be the same in the smaller gauge.

Good luck,




  • Member since
    July, 2006
  • 21 posts
Posted by PDizzle on Monday, May 01, 2017 7:43 PM
Richard, thank you for your helpful suggestions and for your consideration. I appreciate your help. Paul
  • Member since
    February, 2006
  • From: SW Wisconsin
  • 155 posts
Posted by 60YOKID on Tuesday, May 09, 2017 10:04 PM

Paul, I agree that something is most likely out of guage. Are you running newer equipment or older engines and cars? I know that in the larger guages, older style wheels had larger flanges (often called pizza cutters). Not sure if Z scale had such wheels or not. Newer track is held to tighter tolerences and has a lower profile (code number) than some older track, and equipment with older wheels will often de-rail on the newer track.  

Not too many of us run Z-scale layouts, but you could give Micro-trains a call on your situation. I'm sure they would be happy to help you. This url has their contact information. Good luck! Smile

  • Member since
    January, 2015
  • From: Southern California
  • 1,264 posts
Posted by Lone Wolf and Santa Fe on Wednesday, May 10, 2017 5:33 PM

Would a 6-axle loco do better

No, just more wheels to keep on the track.

Things to check:

Do the switch points stay in place or do they dance around when the train goes over it?

Are the wheels out of guage?

Is the track level?

Is the track inline with the turnout?

Is the turnout creating a crazy S turn?

Modeling a fictional version of California set in the 1990s Lone Wolf and Santa Fe Railroad

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