As my loyal readers know I am the proud operator of a G scale railroad in my garden. It is of considerable length. The fun factor is immense, but there always were two frustrating things about running the railway: the brass track would oxidize, collecting dirt like a magnet and the electricity supply never seemed sufficient and reliable enough.
The track issue was solved by totally replacing the brass track with stainless steel track. At no small expense I might add! The second problem seemed a bit more difficult to solve. Through the years I had already spent a small fortune on transformers and controllers. The quality and performance of the units could only be called atrocious. Cheaply made in China they would literally fall apart in due course. Screws and connectors would rust, the electricity output would never come even close to the advertised volt/ampere numbers. Trains never reached a proper speed, just crawling along. Running my Dash-9s with a long container train was painful to watch.
Last week end was beautiful here in DC so I decided to run my Aristo Craft RDC. While setting up the transformer for that particular track it just fell apart in my hands. That was it for me. I got on my iPad and started looking around in blogs, support groups and assorted web sites trying to find some decent suggestions on what to do about transformers. One name came up repeatedly and with very positive comments: Bridgewerks.
The name was not totally unknow to me. Of course I had seen the companies ads in the model train press and seen their products at various train shows. A quick browse of their website seemed to be in order. After the initial sticker shock had worn off, I contacted Bridgewerks via email asking their advice on what unit to consider. Within hours I had an answer and the recommendation was for the Magnum 20-SRM. Biting the bullet concerning the price I ordered two of them.
FedEx delivered them today. If weight is an indicator of quality I will be in for a very pleasent experience. Each unit weighs 19.4 pounds (8.8 kg)! Construction is superb. The banana plugs are gold plated. The control handle feels solid and substantial. Connecting the feeder wires is a breeze. No tools are required. Amp and volt meters are built in. There is a momentum function switch as well as a forward/stop/reverse switch and of course the off/on switch. A five year warranty is included, compare that to the usual industry standard of 90 days. Remote control is also available. And they are manufactured in the USA.
Of course the proof is in the pudding. With scant patience I connected my new toys to the track. Wow, was the first thing that came to my mind. There does not seem to be a voltage drop at all. The Dash-9 lash up is running at positively express train speeds. My Amtrak train is finally able to zip down the track at an appropiate speed. There is enough juice to actually see the interior lights in the coaches now.
I'm happy. Thanks Bridgewerks.