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I'm just getting my new layout up and running. It is 100% Postwar. Tubular track, ZW powered. The newest engine is a 1978 Blue Comet. Mostly I will run steam engines- 2037, 2055 , 665 etc. All that to say I don't do "fancy".

There is a downgrade (5-inch drop) that is made up of two 40" sections of "O" Gauge straight track before leading into a 90-degree curve. Just beyond the curve is a 46" drop off to a concrete floor. Except for this curve, I can leave the ZW throttle set in one position and watch the train go about its journey. I was thinking that I could put insulator pins in the center rail at either end of the 80" long downgrade and power this section with a separate tap off the buss line in conjunction with some sort of variable resistor. I'm thinking it needs to be variable because the size/ length of the train could vary quite a bit.

Am I thinking correctly and if so how would I do it? If not, what else might work?

I tried the search function for this forum for someone with a similar issue but after 3 pages of search results I gave up.

Thanks in advance for any help that may be offered.


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You are right on track.  Pun totally intended!  The separate section can either be powered by a separate throttle output on the zw, set to a lower voltage, or you can use a resistor.   To stay absolutely lionel,  get yourself a lionel 81 rheostat.   


Either way you only need to isolate the center, or hot, rail.  Leave the ground rails connected. 

Good luck.


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