After I acquired and installed the one isolating joiner that kept me from closing the track, and after the final 10 DCC rail droppers were soldered, finally it is time for a test drive over the whole track!
The video shows a cargo train going from Station West to Station South and vice versa, and a passenger train driving one round.
When the cargo train loco drives over the Station South / East junction street, there’s a clearly noticeable headlight flickering. It is due to the poor contact the Peco junctions make. They are electrofrog junctions, but they are not yet wired as such, they’re used straight out of the box. Peco describes in their manual that should be very well possible. But alas, a mechanical design issue (see previous post) makes it not really reliable (besides potential future problems due to pollution on the points).
When servos are mounted on the junctions, an extra force is applied to the points, which takes a way the problem to a great extent. But I’m not certain if this will be reliable over time. If driving slowly over the junctions becomes frustrating, I’ll add the frog switching, even though it’ll be quite some work / trouble.
Anyhow, besides these junction issues, the first full layout test drive was a success. Trains drive around nice and smooth.
I tend to drive at quite low speeds. Not even close to scale speed. That’s because I like the visuals of driving slow. But also because with higher speeds the travel time between destinations tends to become very short. Even though everything is perfectly on scale (in my case HO), the one thing that almost never comes even close to scale is length. To resemble two stations at 10 km real world distance, you’d need some 10m of HO track. I have only 2m between stations … scale speed brings me to the next station 5 times too fast!
Slowing the trains down a bit, say at 1/2 scale speed makes the layout seem a bit larger than it really is.
Next step in the project: mount 19 junction servos under the table (4 are already done).