Welcome to the Carolina Z-Scale Modular Group!

We are the Carolina Z-Scale Modular Group. CarZ, for short. We are not a club. Why? Clubs imply two things: rules and organization.

We do not like rules, and we are definitely not organized!

Our goal is to promote Z-Scale model railroading by running at train shows and events, as well as supporting one another with learning and growing in all aspects of our hobby.

We will cover shows all over North Carolina and South Carolina, and occasionally wander even farther.

CarZ began when John Duino migrated from southern California to North Carolina. Back in 2001, he helped form the Z-Scale group, ZoCal, in southern California, which is now one of the largest Z-Scale modular groups in the world. We are hoping to spread the gospel of Z and entice others to participate in the hobby. In fact, we have called ourselves the Eastern Division of ZoCal.

Carolinas Z-Scale Model Railroad Group

 

Modular Standards

We are not particular to one modular standard over another within the group. At present, we have two standards represented, listed below, as well as Stand-Alone layouts. All have their own good and bad aspects, so choose what works for you. It’s your railroad, it’s your world, so do what makes you happy.


Z-Bend Track

https://www.ztrack.com/articles/z-bend-track-manual

Z-Bend is popular due to the organic shapes and scenes one can create, easily joining together with others to create large flowing landscapes. Ends are self-contained, so as long as you have two ends present you can add and remove more modules easily, and can fill whatever odd-shaped space we are given. They stand on their own legs at a height that gives a mix between “God’s-eye view” and “trackside view.”

Pros

    • Allows for any shape, size, or configuration.
    • Very flexible and variable layouts at shows.
    • Allows spectators to walk around and view from all sides.
    • Most common modules in the US.

Cons

    • More complicated woodworking to construct.
    • Larger and heavier.
    • Can be challenging to level on very uneven floors.
    • Can be difficult for small children and people in wheelchairs to view.

T-Trak-Z

http://ttrak.wikidot.com/t-trak-z

T-Trak-Z is the up-and-coming module standard with a great deal of popularity at present. Being smaller and regularly shaped, they are easy to stack and store. Frequently they are stored/transported in standard storage tubs, multiple modules to a tub.

Pros

    • Lightweight and easily stackable/storable.
    • Easy-to-build kits, or pre-built, are available in several common geometries supported by the standard.
    • Smaller in size, so less “TODO”…less intimidating.
    • Designed to be set-up on standard banquet tables.

Cons

    • Less freedom of shape; creates a rectangle (with some minor exceptions).
    • All four sides have to be equal. Add a module to one side, you have to add to the other.
    • Banquet tables aren’t all created equal.

Stand-Alone (BYOZ)

While not really a module, we include them here because we welcome them at shows. Many people have small layouts or dioramas they can easily bring to shows, set-up on a table, and be proud of! Whether you made it from scratch, or have a preformed layout, such as those from Noch, bring it and show it off.

Pros

    • Entirely your own creation.
    • Easier to enjoy at home without having to connect modules.
    • Do not have to rely on others to have a ‘complete’ layout.

Cons

    • Tend to be a little harder to transport (size and safety) as they were not built to be that rugged.
    • Usually requires table space, which can be at a premium at some shows.

Upcoming Events

We try to get ot as many shows as we can throughout North and South Carolina. If you know of a show not on our list, please contact us!

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Modules

Modules

CarZ welcomes Z-Bend Track, T-Trak-Z, Standalone, or any other module standard!

Bring what you have, and have fun!

Rolling Stock

Rolling Stock

There is a wide variety of locomotives and rolling stock on our railroads and we love to share them.

Train Shows

Train Shows

Every show is a little different, and the flexibility to arrange our modules in different orientations allow us to mix it up and adapt to the environment.

DCC

DCC

Yes, we have DCC in Z Scale! Locomotives, stationary, and even sound!

Buildings

Buildings

Miniature works of art: intricate, detailed, and beautiful. Model railroading is not just about the trains.

Videos

Videos

What's better than beautiful pictures of our Z worlds?

VIDEOS!

See the trains in action, smoothly pulling their loads toward their destinations.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Hopefully we can answer a few of your most burning questions about Z-Scale, CarZ, Modules, Electronics.
If not, please contact us!

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How do I join the CarZ club?

You can’t because we are not a club. We are a group that gets together to work on, talk about, and exhibit our model trains. So Contact Us, Show Up, and have fun!

OK, how do I join the CarZ GROUP?

Just show up! Send us an email! Call us! Whatever works. You will be immediately conscripted into our ranks and forced to enjoy your hobby.

Send us a note via Contact Us so we can add you to any email communications (it will be very minimal, I promise), to keep you up to date on when we will be showing.

Are there any rules for the group?

We like to say we have no rules, but there are always some. There are two rules we insist upon:

  1. Have fun
  2. Run trains

There are a couple corollary guidelines that make everyone’s experience better:

  • At shows, nobody likes to see us tinkering on and under the modules. They want to see trains running! We strive to ALWAYS have trains running, start to finish. Tinker on the sidelines.
  • Don’t be an ass. This is pretty self-explanatory.

Are there dues?

No! If you’re not catching on yet, we are just a bunch of people that get together to run trains.

But if you just feel the need to throw money at us, my wife will gladly let you fund my addicZtion.

Who is in charge of CarZ?

NOBODY! We are an autonomous collective (yes, I’m a Monty Python fan)

We are all free to do what we want, how we want, with very minimal rules/guidelines (see What are the rules? below)

Do I have to build a module to be part of CarZ?

Absolutely not! We are here to encourage the hobby, and Z-scale in particular, as a whole.

If you want to build a module, GREAT!

You want a module but don’t have the woodoworking tools/skills to build one? We will help you!

Just want to run your trains? Come on out and run!

You really just enjoy the artistic side of scenicking? I’m sure others (me!) would love some artistic help!

All we care about is having a good time with our hobby.

Do I have to have my own Z trains to run with CarZ?

If you do not have your own (yet…you will…you want to), but you want to run trains, come on out and have fun! 

If you just have a loco, lash up to our rolling stock! Only rolling stock, hook up and watch ’em roll.

Do I have to be an NMRA member?

Absolutely not! To date, the NMRA leadership does not consider Z to be an official scale. We have supported the local/regional NMRA sections and welcome the people that are in it, but we are entirely outside of their purview.

Does CarZ have a clubhouse or permanent setup?

No. That kinda goes along with not being a club. 

But we can always set up work parties at people’s houses.

Remember, “pizza” has two Z’s!

Which modular standard do we use?

Our two primary standards are Z-Bend Track and T-Trak-Z. More info is available in our Module Standards section.

But if you prefer to have another standard, great, bring it out.

Have a standalone layout? Bring it out! Big or small, simple or complex, basic or advanced. We love ’em all!

DC or DCC?

Yes

The current larger Z-Bend layout is DCC only due to the crossovers.

The current T-Trak-Z layout can run either, as well as most standalone layouts.

I can't do [electronics, soldering, carpentry, painting, building...], will you help me?

Absolutely! We are here to promote the hobby. Most things are not difficult once you know how. Everyone gladly will teach you how, or just do it if needed. We are all always learning, and teaching each other is one of the best ways to do it!

How often does CarZ go to shows? Where?

We try to get to as many shows in North and South Carolina as possible. To date, we have attended shows in Columbia, Charleston, Summerville, Charlotte, Salisbury, Raleigh, Hickory, and even Johnson City, TN.

If you hear of an upcoming show that is not on our calendar, contact us and let us know!

If I have a module, do I have to bring it to every event?

No, we can’t expect you to attend every gathering. It would be a nice gesture to ask someone else to take it for you, as bigger layouts are always preferred by the runners and the crowds.

Would I be expected to attend every event?

Come and go as you please. All we ask is to communicate:

  • If you are coming, let us know.
  • If you are bringing a module or layout, let us know.
  • If you normally bring a module but won’t be, let us know.

I really want to get in to Z! Where do I buy stuff?

Very little Z is available in local hobby shops in NC and SC. If you know of one, let us know!

Local Hobby Shops

 


I am sure some sites will be offended if I leave them off, but these are the largest. If you want a site added, let us know!