I think it’s safe to say that in just the past few years Z scale has made great strides in both its performance and appearance, but has our trackwork really kept pace with our trains? With Z scale locos and freight cars now regularly produced with separately applied details, often in fine etched metal, it might be time to look at some alternative track options in Z scale. If realism and smooth operations are what you’re after, I’d suggest giving some serious thought to using Fast Tracks turnout fixtures.
Right out in front let me say that my favorite turnouts in Z scale are built… by me! Fast Tracks turnout building fixtures and tools may have a little something to do with this too :)
I really do wish I could put a turnout made in a Fast Tracks fixture in to every Z scaler’s hand and let them run a loco through it, even manually push a freight car through with just their finger. The first time I built a Z scale turnout in one of these fixtures and did the freight car “push-through” test, I was genuinely amazed. My light freight car didn’t thump, wiggle, derail or rock back and forth… it ran through the turnout just as smooth as glass.
Now building Fast Tracks turnouts does require more work than opening a blister pack and popping out a turnout, but with the detailed directions and YouTube instructional videos Fast Tracks makes available, it’s a surprisingly fun process.
After having built just a few turnouts, I can now build one in under an hour and I’m not rushing. The finished product, even the very first turnout I built, is just a joy to run my trains on. Visually and operationally, they are wonderful pieces of trackwork.
At the moment my favorite track tandem is Fast Tracks turnouts mated with Micro-Trains flex track, all Code 55. These two components work beautifully together. Of course you can also go Code 40 for your turnouts and track, all with Fast Tracks fixtures and supplies. Very cool options.
As much as we'd like to sell you a new locomotive and a couple of freight cars right now (this is our passion and our business after all!) I'd actually first like to see you start using Fast Tracks turnouts, that's how strongly I feel about these turnouts.
That locomotive and a couple of freight cars, that’s about the same cost as a Fast Tracks turnout kit with the included fixtures and supplies to build 5 turnouts. In addition to having superior turnouts for your locos and rolling stock, you really do get a sense of incredible satisfaction from building your own turnouts. It sounds clichéd, but it’s true.
I’d suggest you pop over to the Fast Tracks site, check out their turnout fixtures and related tools… even watch a couple of their instructional videos, then visualize running your trains on this amazing trackwork.
Tim Warris from Fast Tracks has produced a YouTube series of videos on building an Nn3 turnout, here's Part 1. You can watch all these Nn3 videos here. Of course Nn3 and Z scale both share their 6.5mm track gauge so these videos apply equally to Z scale.
Here's your link to the rest of the videos in this Nn3 series: Click Here For The Turnout Build
One of the biggest advantages of having a suite of tools from us is that you will never be without track. When you need a turnout, you simply sit down and build one. All our tools are NMRA compliant, as long as the wheels are in gauge, the equipment will perform flawlessly. With care and patience, museum quality turnouts can be produced.
Tim Warris, Fast Tracks