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.
While you may have a hard time finding period correct cars to pull with the Marklin Mini Club 88035 Denver & Rio Grande Western 2-6-0 steam locomotive, you won’t have a hard time liking it. This just another example of a wonderful little Marklin steam locomotive. With a five pole motor and the small radius capacity of the D&RGW Marklin locomotive, it can do well on even on small table top layouts. While the locomotive has been out of production for some time, you can still find the Marklin Mini Club 88035 D&RGW 2-6-0 Steam locomotive on the aftermarket. They seem to hold there value quite nicely though so keep an sharp eye for a good buy. Check below to see what is currently available. And by the way, you could argue the Marklin 88035 2-6-0 a great little excursion train or display locomotive for a train museum on your layout!
I remember being a kid and looking through Model Railroader and drooling over the brass locomotives. Most of them were HO and O scale, maybe a few N here and there. Today, while rare and expensive, you can find brass in z scale. And their small size only enhances the marvel of these brass works of art. They are hard to come by, so just how do you get your hands on a brass z scale locomotive? Sorry to say your best chance is the aftermarket, particularly ebay. My advice to you is if you see one with a buy it now price and you want it, grab it! Usually the asking price on these is easily attainable for the seller.
The AZL brass locomotives are by far the most pricey, and the most interesting. You will find C449W locomotives, a few E-8’s and SD45’s every now and then. The real hard to find ones, and the price reflects it, are the PA-1 and the GS-4. I think I have only seen one of the Big Boys, and one FP45’s, I don’t recall ever seeing a Challenger. Some of these locomotives like the PA-1 had very low production numbers, we are talking 10! You will also find the MTL Mogul’s here and there and they are such a cute little locomotive, and really not spendy. Every now and then you will also see a Zthek or Huet switcher. These are brass built up on Marklin chassis. I really wish someone would pick these up and produce these, Z scale needs these small switchers. Think how much more appeal a small Noch layout would have with a US switcher rather than a Marklin 0-6-0 or small diesel. FR makes some outstanding z scale brass locomotives but they are European.
New z scale brass locomotives and cars are on the drawing board and in the works at AZL. Pre production models of the Krauss-Maffei ML-4000 were shown at the 2017 NTS and a NJW is coming just behind that. Will these shoot up in value like the earlier AZL brass z scale locomotives? Maybe your new retirement plan!
The AZL GP38-2 series of locomotives is considered to be an entry level locomotive with a price point that makes it very appealing. With lot’s of road names many of which contain three or four different road numbers, you can build a nice consist with out breaking the bank. The locomotives feature a powerful motor with dual flywheels for smooth running. Very nice quality directional lighting is also on board. The AZL Gp38-2 is DCC ready with drop in decoders available. Some of the early models had some chassis issues but the later releases have resolved that problem. AZL will stand behind any of the earlier defective units. These little z scale locomotives are showing up here and there in custom paint schemes. Due to their low cost they are a good option to try your painting technique on. You can also find a super detail kit available from Micron Art that features more scale like hand rails, grab rails and other details.
You can shop our website at Zgauge.Com for the AZL GP38-2 Z scale locomotives along with the entire line of AZL products.
If you model Southern Pacific in z scale, your locomotive selection continues to grow thanks to AZL. Currently AZL offers 4 scale locomotives in a total of 15 different road numbers. You have the latest SP locomotive, the SD70M in 4 road numbers, the GP-9 Locomotive in z scale with 4 different road numbers, the GP-30 with 3 road numbers and finally the GP38-2 available in 4 different road numbers. This collection of z scale Southern Pacific locomotives starts with a street price of around $100 on the GP38-2 to about $190 on the SD70M. While the GP38-2 is considered an entry level z scale locomotive, it is a great unit for the money. Micron Art makes a very nice detail kit for the unit as well. All 4 locomotives are DCC ready and all but the GP30 have drop in decoders available from Digitrax. In addition to the locomotives, you can also find a nice selection of z scale passenger cars, cabooses and freight cars for the Southern Pacific in our store at Zgauge.Com.
The Mikadao 2-8-2 locomotive is something every model railroad should have. In z scale, you have two choices, the classic Marklin 2-8-2 Mikado locomotive or the AZL line of heavy and light Mikado locomotives. The Marklin 2-8-2 Mikado has been around for some time and is still a very popular z scale locomotive. You will find them in CB&Q, New York Central, Southern Pacific, Milwaukee Road, C&O and AT&SF. Most of these came in sets so they can be hard to come by. Pricing tends to run about $150 used and up by themselves. As for the AZL lineup they have even more to choose from in both heavy and light versions. Most of the Mikado z scale locomotives offered by AZL come in 3 to 4 different road numbers. So what is the better of the two? In my opinion, you are really looking at two completely different markets. In z scale, Marklin has it’s own following and their faithful tell you that the Marklin z scale 2-8-2 is the only way to go. From a detail and realism view, the AZL Mikado offers more detail and crisper printing and more road numbers as mentioned earlier. I have owned both, and each has their own charm. So as I always figure when it comes to locomotives, and the z scale 2-8-2 Mikado is no different, get them both.
The Marklin Z Scale F7 locomotive is a great piece that many Marklin collectors and just general z scale modelers love to own. While one of the most common Marklin F7 is the Santa Fe with the red war bonnet, you will find a variety of road names including Burlington Northern, Southern Pacific, Pennsylvania, Alaska, B&O, Chessie System, Burlington Route and more. You will also find some variations of the Marklin F7 like a version of the Southern Pacific, the Starlight Express and others that you will only find in a set. Earlier units had a 3 pole unit while later models have a 5 pole. So what is the difference of a 3 pole verses a 5 pole motor? The biggest thing you will note is better low end speeds and a quieter motor. Marklin changed over to the 5 pole versions completely in their F7’s by the end of 2000. If you have an older Marklin Z scale F-7, you can change it over to a 5 pole with not to much trouble.
You will also find some Marklin Mini Club F-7 B unit locomotives and some A-B-A sets as well. You may be able to find Marklin F-7 starter set here and there as well. The “Meet Me In New Orleans” set actually has a Southern F-7 passenger set along with a 2-8-2 freight set and lots of track and even two controllers! Below you will find a few of the current offerings of used F-7 Marklin locomotives on ebay or you can click here to find more.