Alaska Railroad Z Scale. The Alaska Railroad can trace it’s roots all the way back to early 1900’s with the Alaska Central Road. While z scale can only trace it’s roots to Marklin back in 1972, the Alaska Railroad does have it’s representation in z scale. You may selection to be some what limited when it comes to a locomotive for the Alaska Railroad in z scale, you will find a few here and there. Every once and a while you will find a custom painted unit as well. The most common locomotive you will find is from Marklin, an ABA set. Micro Trains offered a F-7 A unit in the past a well. FR made a special run Marklin Mikado painted for the Alaskan Railroad in z scale along with a couple of cars and a caboose. Some time ago I saw an AZL E-8 custom painted as well, very pretty.
As for rolling stock things open up a bit more with Marklin offering a few different Alaska sets in z scale. Cars available included tankers, gondolas, box cars and a caboose. MTL offered a few different cars as well. Full Throttle (one of my favorite manufactures) had sets available as well. Likely the hardest to find is the handcrafted FR Alaska cars. When you find them, they will be spendy! Micro trains did offer Alaska passenger cars in z scale that come up for sale every now and then. I would love to have the entire MTL set.
There you have it. If you want to model the Alaska RR in z scale, you have some basics to start with that offer a basic representation of the railway. If you want to try your hand at custom painting, the sky is the limit. Below you will find a few examples of what is currently available on ebay for the Alaska Railroad in z scale, or you can .
Some time ago, Micro Trains or MTL produced a nice line of GP35 locomotives in z scale that featured many different road names. While they haven’t made these reliable little GP’s for a while, you can still find them readily available used. They are a fairly stable little locomotive so if you can find one that runs both directions, you should be in good shape. At this point Micro Trains (MTL) is the only ones that produced a GP35 in z scale. The GP35 was a very common locomotive for short line and regional railroads but even larger railroads like BNSF had them. A total of 1,335 were built during 1962 and 1967. You can see a nice breakdown of prototype GP35 locomotives produced at Wikipedia.
Micro Trains offered the z scale GP35 locomotive in a variety of road names including Union Pacific, CSX, CP Rail, BNSF, PRR, Conrail and more. They were equipped with the MTL magnetic couplers which mate with couplers from AZL, Intermountain, Full Throttle and others. The z scale GP35 was offer as set as well. You can still find them from time to time in the Micro Trains Table Top Train Sets with a selection of cars and track.
As interest in z scale trains continues to grow, hopefully we will see more of these popular locomotives come back on the market. All though more and more z scale locomotives are being produced, many modern selections. However, we are starting to see a little more return to earlier prototypes with even talk of more brass steam locomotives coming down the line in z scale. You can check out some of the current used MTL GP35 locomotives currently available one ebay.
Currently on ebay
Marklin Mini Club 88075 Z Scale NYC Commodore Vanderbilt 4-6-4
The Marklin Z Scale NYC Commodore Vanderbilt 4-6-4. This is one of my favorite Marklin Z scale pieces. Modeled after the classic road number 5344 New York Central Locomotive. This was J3-1 type 4-6-4 Hudson locomotives that was streamlined and became known for pulling the 20th Century Limited until 1937. While the claim was made that the streamlining allowed the locomotive to pull up to 12 percent more weight, in my opinion it was as much that as a marketing move. This was one beautiful machine! The Marklin Z scale 4-6-4 Commodore holds the same allure as it’s full size counter part. Having seen pictures of the Marklin 88075 Commodore and seeing it in person, I can tell you, pictures don’t do it justice.
The Marklin Commodore Vanderbilt is a metal body locomotive with a five pole motor for smooth operation. Also features a working headlight and all six wheels are driven. If you have run any of the 5 pole Marklin Z scale locomotives you know they are just a joy to run, velvet smooth. You may have a challenge finding the right consist of passenger cars to pull behind the Commodore Vanderbilt, you may have to bend the prototype a little but well worth it. I have always thought a spur could be added on your layout for a Railroad Museum where you could feature some of these classics no matter what the era you are modeling.
Like many of the classic US steam locomotives that Marklin produced over the years, the 88075 Z Scale NYC Commodore Vanderbilt 4-6-4 has been out of production for some time but you can usually find them here and there in the aftermarket and they tend to age well. Below you will find a few examples of the Marklin Mini Club 88075 Z Scale NYC Commodore Vanderbilt 4-6-4 currently available one ebay.
The Marklin Mini Club 81535 Starter set is a great little steam era starter set from Marklin that offers something you just won’t find anywhere, a 4-6-2 Pacific steam locomotive for the Northern Pacific Railroad. You will find a lot of z scale Mikados from both Marklin and AZL, but if you want a Pacific in z scale, the locomotive you find in this set may be the only way to fill the bill. The Marklin z scale Pacific feature a 5 pole motor for very smooth operation. While it fits a broad protoypical range, you will find it is a very attractive representation of the 4-6-2 steam locomotive.
Many of the 4-6-2 locomotives found their use in passenger service, but it still looks right at home in pulling a freight consist. In the starter set, you will get the Marklin Mini Club 4-6-2 steam locomotive (Northern Pacific road number 2259) a Great Northern gondola, a Spokane, Portland & Seattle flat car and a Northern Pacific caboose. You will also get an oval of track and controller. This really is a cute little set. It has been out of production for some time but you will still find them for sale here and there. Sometimes you will see the locomotive itself come up for sale as well.
As mentioned above, the Marklin Mini Club 81535 set that included the 4-6-2 locomotive has been out of production for some time. The set’s hold up well and the 5 pole motor still provides for a very smooth running locomotive even by today’s standards. Below you will see a few of the current listings for the sets containing a z scale Pacific locomotive or click here for a more thorough search.
I remember growing up paging through Model Railroader magazines in awe at the HO and O Scale brass locomotives and cars. I couldn’t believe the detail packed into a small replica. 40 years later, I come across the Freudenreich Feinwerktechnik or FR Z scale models. Talk about true works of art in 220 scale! Most of the FR Z scale line is done in European models but there are some very beautiful US examples as well. In addition, if you can find them, FR offered a box cab in z scale! Like so many desirable z scale cars and locomotives, your best chance of finding ZR z scale is in the aftermarket, and yes that means ebay. Some people like ebay, some don’t, but when you find what you have been searching for, you tend to appreciate it a little more. The FR z scale cars are packed in a very nice hard case and most of them are treated very well through their life so when you find them, they are usually in very nice shape.
Some of the FR z scale U.S. cars are fairly popular road names, B&O, D&RGW, Milwaukee Road, Southern Pacific and more. But you will find some lesser known or modeled roads like Alaska RR. You will have to work a little harder to find some of them. Many are single cars but you will also find them in two car sets as pictured above.
Below are just a few of what is currently available on ebay, Click here here for the full list. Again if you are looking for FR z scale in U.S. cars you will have to scroll through a little bit, but they cars are worth the hunt!