I’m finding that the larger 3-rail locos seem to run rather roughly over the O27 switches, and the uncoupler tracks, and sometimes suffer interruptions and reversing, which I attribute to current collection gaps. 

Does anyone have experience of additional current collection from the tender? It seems odd to me, being accustomed to HO and On30, not to have this feature. 

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Yeah, I have done it using an added tether (if not already present) and some tender center-rail pickups. Getting some of these to fit by adaptation is harder work than it seems like it would be. Many variations, and many trucks were not designed to use them, or at least use the ones you can locate (eBay, typically). If you do it, use a 2-wire tether and add the common pickup too, even though most pickup issues on switches and the like are center-rail ones.

The problem is coincidental, of course - that loco on those switches and so forth. Most modern locos have multiple pickups (over 2). That tender pickup is really a nice thing to have, though. One usually does it.

I think on 0-27 switches it is more likely that you are getting momentary short  circuits. Watch it close to see if you are getting arcing Under the loco when it goes through a switch. Usually a little piece of electrical tape in the right place corrects the problem.  Lionel has a long history of tender connections to the loco. This mostly had to do with long gaps on 0-72 turnouts or outside third rail. The tender to loco connection on two rail equipment usually had to do with power from one rail picked up by the loco and power from the other rail by the tender. 

Some interesting replies there. 

The Berkshire tender has rollers on both trucks, for its (presently disconnected) air whistle and bell. The MPC Hudson has sockets for rollers. This all sounds as though it is turning into part of the “Hudson air whistle” conversion project. 

The Berkshire has wipers on the trailing truck. I thought these related to the smoke and reverser on/off switches on the footplate, but I think it is just an additional earth (ground) contact. I’ll reconnect the wire (currently detached).

The locos do, indeed, display momentary arcing underneath when passing over switches, particularly when running over the curved side. There is also one particular UCS which the Hudson doesn’t seem to like. I’m making some changes to the track layout so that (a) the larger locos don’t pass over the curved side of the switches (b) there are no UCS adjacent to switches, and I’ll see how that works out. 

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