batteries or tracks, how does your engine go?

Discussion in 'G / O / S Scale Model Trains' started by YakkoWarner, Jan 11, 2002.


What would you do, if you found that you could better anything on your layout by 100%

Poll closed Dec 25, 2002.
  1. Kick yourself and keep going with what you have!

    0 vote(s)
  2. Redo 75% of your layout to better it!

    0 vote(s)
  3. QUIT the whole thing now!

    0 vote(s)
  4. What do you mean? I did it perfect the first time!

    0 vote(s)
  1. YakkoWarner

    YakkoWarner Member

    I am in the planning stages of a large-scale garden railroad. The burning question is "to power or not to power the track" Batteries VS. DC. Having no experience with large scale trains other than a few hours watching at various train shows, this seems to be the question that stumps all.

    I would like to know what you prefer and more importantly why you think it is the best way to go.
  2. betsy662

    betsy662 New Member

    I've always run with track power, I know there is a company out of Austrailia that is doing radio control system for O and larger scales, I would consider that if I were going to have a fairly large railroad, but my little O scale shortline isn't going to need all that, but it does kind of sound interesting to go radio control with battery power, just think, no more dirty track problems, of course, you would have to deal with the dead battery syndrome...........:)
  3. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    Hi Yakko, I have a small garden railroad (G scale) using track power. Frankly, cleaning the track has been a pain. I've solicited opinions just as you are now and the responces are generally 50/50. It seems that some areas of the country have little problem with track power. One I recall was near San Francisco, but inland far enough not to get salt. This person claimed to never have dirt problems! Here in NJ, I have no such luck. Now, I haven't tried purchasing a track cleaning car yet, or building one. To make cleaning the track easier, I purchased a drywall sander and its swiveling pad makes the job much easier. Also, the first year I used the power pack that came with my Bachmann train set(which uses their 4-6-0). This pack actually ran the train well when track was clean. This year I am using my old pack for my HO, since I've gone DCC there. It is rated at 3 amps, much more than the train set pack, although the max track voltage is lower I don't care because speed is satisfactory. However, performance is not really improved in terms of track dirt. I am reluctant to spend the dollars required for Aristocraft power when I can not be sure the additional power will help get power to the wheels thru the track dirt. I also really did not want to go the battery route, as 3 to 4 hours of operation is all you can expect, less when using sound. I have no intention of "operating" my garden railroad, it is there to provide animation to the garden. I want to run it unattended for up to 8 hours while entertaining. So I have a hard time justifying the expense of batteries and radio control. If you are going to operate for an hour or two at a time, battiries may be the way to go. If I go radio with battery, I thought I might make two battery boxcars with electrical connectors to the loco. This way one could be charging while the other is in use. don't care for having to have a boxcar in every train tho. Could put one in a baggage car or combine I suppose.
    Good luck, please let me know what you do and how you like it.


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