I've been reading this thread with interest and have to bookmark it. Good stuff. Thanks to all for working this one over. When I see video of guy's running their trains at beautifully slow speeds without a hiccup or change of pace on large layouts I am impressed.
I used brand new FasTrack around the Christmas tree this year (4' x 8' with O36 and 10" straight section between the curved sections) using the 14 gauge hookup to the new terminal track from a ZW275 watt transformer.
I had a power drop-off at precisely the far end, corrected itself on the return straight coming back toward the transformer hookup just as Bob said it should, and no problema on the curve closest to the trasformer hook up. Just a simple loop with nothing else.
This was after lubrication and cleaning of all cars, all engines used (designed to run on O27), engine pickups, and track cleaning of new track. A thought.....I had clean hands when assembling the track but did not think to clean the track pins on the new track. Connections seem very tight, track pieces snapped/abutted perfectly, but pins might be dirty. Or one bad pin connection on one piece of track.
I see no slop, no binding, when the train runs clockwise. So the friction element seems ruled out. I may run the trains counterclockwise to see what I get.
Then I may switch the transformer hookup to another (less used) throttle to see if there is something going South in there. May try all 4 throttles. My problem could be in the transformer, though for the life of me I can't figure what could possibly go wrong with a 55 year old never serviced transformer. Wonder if the transformer's original power cord isn't cuttung it any more. Plugged directly into the wall outlet.
May try another primary wall outlet to keep eliminating things, but the one outlet I am using is used weekly (vacuum cleaner) and my FIL suggested that outlet might be failing due to "someone" unplugging the vacuum cleaner while it is still powered up (spark damage or simply slop from age/use.....22 years). The outlet is unswitched (always powered) and not connected to a rheostat wall switch.
I am inexperienced with these matters. Some of you might be wondering why I just don't run a feeder and forget it. But if I don't read your suggestions, read the theory, and troubleshoot to determine my particular core issue(s), what have I learned?
A "duck tape" approach works functionally and may ultimately be the only solution left to me.