Bringing a Classic Marklin Z-Scale Model Railroad to Life With Arduino

Originally posted on Make::

“I have this train I bought in Germany,” said Lynn, who approached me at a train show, “and I’m looking for someone to build a railroad for me.”
I visited her a few days later, and found that she had a Märklin Mini-Club Z scale train set, track, and accessories. She had purchased it in 1978 as a gift for her father. (At the time, Z scale trains were the smallest commercially available.) After he passed away, the train had come back to her. She had never seen it run, but wanted an operating railroad in time for her retirement party. I agreed to build her a 15″ x 31″ tabletop railroad, with less than five months to get it done.


Cleaning and testing Lynn’s locomotive, still in its very battered original box, was an early priority. How long ago had it last been operated? Had it ever been…

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