Improving slow running
I have always struggled with achieving good slow running without lots of stalling and poking with the hand of God. Some of it is down to getting the locos well run in and weighted. Unfortunately with the types of locomotives I am presently running it is difficult to get a lot of lead in.
Up to now I have concentrated on getting the track really clean and keeping the wheels well cleaned as well as getting as many pick-ups as I can. However at my last exhibition in St Albans I became very frustrated with the lack of good running, especially when shunting. Chatting with a narrow gauge modeller in the bar at the hotel, he suggested trying graphite as he had had a lot of success. He seemed to suffer the same problems with weight that I have (the locos that is!!).
Returning home, I erected the layout and set about rubbing the track with graphite. This is done using a hard graphite stick as used by artists. This was rubbed along the surface of the rails making sure that all the running rails, especially at pointwork, was covered. Slow running improved immediately and from what I have been told should continue to improve as more graphite is laid down along the rails and on the locomotive wheels. Time will tell!!