Finally getting back to this topic, work has been fairly demanding for the past few days. I have had time here and there to read the more replies since my last post. We darned near have this traction tire problem solved.
For a quick review, steep grades and sharp curves are unfortunately a given for the biggest share of O-gauge enthusiasts. Most don't have the physical room available for shallow grades and broad curves. Sorry YARDMASTER96, but while O84, O72, and O60 are generally considered wide curves with the O-gauge crowd, they're really not. They're almost the equivalent of 22", 18", and 15" radius in HO scale, which are considered small, tight, and sharp in that scale, but work perfectly for building a layout on a 4 x 8 sheet of plywood. And doing some quick math, I find we will need no less than about a 3.5% grade if we want to get one track up and over another track, which is fairly steep by standard. Of course, we would need an 8' x 16' table to duplicate this in O-gauge.
Until working sand domes and sand tanks becomes the next new gizmos for O-scale, we will probably be stuck with traction tires for some time to come. But that doesn't mean we need to accept less than optimal performance. Working on that quartet of brass N-scale engines turned on a light bulb in my mind that should work for ANY scale, not just one or two.
Traction tires are beneficial for grades. The steeper the grade, the more the benefit. Differential action is beneficial for curves. The sharper the curve, the more the benefit. Why not then, combine the best of both worlds and put a traction tire on ONE SIDE ONLY of the axle? (CLEM K almost scored a BINGO!!!) And after much thinking, limit it to ONE traction tire per each electric motor. What that means is, for a diesel with two powered trucks, ONE traction tire only per truck. For a steamer, ONE traction tire only for each set of powered drivers. This should be able to offer the same amount of traction we've all been used to, plus the added benefit of smoother running over the layout. Maybe even help with improved tire life and cleaner rails in the long run. Who knows, might be worth giving it a shot to see if it works.
Of course, changing out wheels on axles is far more easily said than done, I'm sure. With the thousands of locos already out there, one easier idea might be to find a replacement tire material that is "slicker" than the standard rubber-type tire. The standard rubber-type tire could be left on one wheel, while a slicker version could replace the tire on the other wheel.
Well, think about for awhile. Toss this around and see what you think, and can come up with. While I'm at it, for all you nay-say'rs out there who cannot read everything nor comprehend anything, might I suggest you go pound sand on a daily basis and save it for that day in the future when miniature working sand domes become a reality? Otherwise, positive thoughts and positive comments are more than welcome.
That's my story, and I'm sticking with it.