I received a battery power/RC locomotive from Trainworld today. It's not O gauge, but is a G gauge engine from Piko (made in Germany). Actually, this makes the second battery power/RC Piko engine I have. The first is a track cleaning locomotive, and the one that arrived today is also a 25-ton switcher, but without it's sister's track-cleaning capability. Both will be used on the small--very small, unfortunately--garden railroad I am planning to place in the fenced-in garden area we have outside our condo's sunroom. I have several G gauge building kits that will also find a home there. I will stick exclusively with BP/RC simply because we do not have a convenient electrical outlet in the area at present, and although that may change at some point, for the time being I will stay with battery power. Also, of course, makes track maintenance much easier (meaning virtually none at all). I will post some photos once I get things up and running.
These small Piko locomotives require six AAA batteries. Rechargeable batteries are recommended by the manufacturer. Supposed to get 1-1/2 hours or so of running time per charge, which is fine with me. I will, of course, invest in a good charger and a number of extra batteries. The pocket-sized controller uses one of those flat, round watch-type batteries.
As long-time readers of the magazine may know, I have been a garden railroad enthusiast for many years, dating back to when LGB first became available in the U.S. I wrote the book "Getting Started in Garden Railroading" back around 1990, and I understand it sold very well.
I predict that battery power R/C will likely become commonplace in O gauge in just a few years as battery technology continues to advance.