Planning the layout will be easier when you know about the track items which are available. Understanding what the different track pieces can do will make planning of the layout much easier.
The Southern Railway, now part of the Norfolk Southern Railroad, had a very well-based management philosophy. The track, which allowed the trains to run, was the most important thing on the railroad. If you had well-maintained track, then everything else would work out. The newest locomotives and cars were of no use if the track was in bad condition. The latest computers could not help the railroad if the trains could not move because of bad track. The Southern felt this so strongly that all management trainees started off in the track department. Good track was essential.
So it is for model trains. Your track must be reliable to insure reliable operation of your trains. Fortunately, the track products available have features which insure that you will get reliable operation; it is your responsibility to make sure that the track is installed properly. Once in place, track needs only a periodic cleaning so that the trains get a reliable flow of electricity.
Because Märklin developed Z-Scale, its line of track products is currently the most extensive. There are three different track curvatures, more than enough to meet the needs of most model railroaders. In 2005, MicroTrains announced that it would manufacture a line of track also. This track will match the Märklin track, but will include a roadbed representing track ballast. And, for many years, Peco of Great Britain has manufactured flex track for Z-Scale.