The area I have for the track comprises a racetrack oval pattern with about 275 feet of track. Since the track route isn’t level, I need to know if the engine will have the power and traction to climb a slight grade. If not, then I’ll have to figure out something else for the track. So design and construction of the track is waiting on the results of a hill-climbing test.
I built four sections of straight track using eight foot lengths of lumber to use as a test bed (I’ll reuse these sections in the final version of the track, as well). I put the track sections on a relatively level portion of the backyard, set the engine on it, and had the first outdoor run just as a test. I controlled the engine with the remote control and was able to make it go forward, backward, speed, slow, and stop.
Now that I know the engine can power itself and stay on track (pun intended – did you see what I did there?), the next test was to see if it could climb a hill. I repositioned the track on the steepest slope in the yard, which measured at a 15% grade. That’s pretty steep for a train track. If it can handle this slope, then it will be able to handle any slope in the eventual track bed.
The first test of the engine trying to climb the slope had the engine sliding backward down the hill, even while the wheels were spinning trying to power it forward. So the limiting factor was traction, not power.
I added my weight to the engine by standing in the cab, hoping that the extra weight would improve the traction enough to move it forward. Here’s the video of that test:
So now I know the engine can handle the steepest slope that will be in the eventual track route.