When I first set out to do these pages, my intent was a quick & dirty mark, copy and paste of my earlier book, Greenberg’s Guide to Märklin Z. But I quickly discovered that in the time since I wrote that text in 1988 that things had fundamentally changed in the Z-Scale area of the model hobby. Although I would use the general framework of the Greenberg book, much of what is written here is of recent vintage. In the intervening years, the model railroad hobby, and Z-Scale in particular, has grown and the technology has become both more extensive and more user-friendly. So, it has been fun to bring my words up to date.
But other things remain the same and in the Greenberg book, my parting words were those of encouragement, urging you to go ahead and do that model railroad, or if you have one already, continue to work on it and grow in the hobby. We are limited by fear to one degree or another. To be sure, some fear is appropriate, but being afraid of failing can prevent you from reaching enjoyment. And there is a lot of fear of failure present in the model railroad hobby because it can be so complex. It is my hope that I have removed some of this complexity. Which is not to say that you will not run into something vexing along the way. My words then are my words now, don’t be afraid to fail, don’t be afraid to learn and don’t be afraid to share what you have learned with others. It’s a very liberating experience.
I write these words in a room with display cases full of model trains. Some are exceptionally rare, such as the Fleischmann H0 wind-up from the American-zone of 1948 Germany, while many others are just ordinary electric trains, if you can call them that. For each represents the efforts of manufacturers and train dealers that express the hope that someone will gain pleasure from them. I have a modest collection of Z-Scale but, alas, no operating Z-Scale model railroad. Not on display here are some nice pieces of Märklin Gauge 1 trains, but they have a nice place called Amstetten in the basement. But I do have plans for the Z-Scale model railroad, and that it is important.
Not visible here are the many friendships and acquaintances that I have made through model railroading over the years. There have been countless conversations with many good people about our mutual interest of model railroading. And as quirky as model railroaders can be on occasion, they are a great group and you need to meet them. It will help your interest in the hobby and it might also help theirs by knowing you.
I wish you the joys of this hobby and hope that you will share. Best regards,