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Suz, three things spring to mind.
Voltage - being DCC which is a form of AC, it needs to be read with an AC voltmeter & while a standard digital meter will not be accurate, it should read around 13v.
second point is loco wheel & track cleanlines, dirty wheels & track are more of a problem with DCC than DC - clean them with electrcial contact cleaner or Isopryol alcohol or something similar. Track at points needs to be clean especially if using the point blades to feed power - where they contact the rail, they have to be spotless.
third point - wiring - loose metal fishplate/railjoiners will give problems, suggest that a loop of wire is soldered across the fishplates.

I would suggest that if this is your first attempt at DCC, obtain the book - Aspects of Modelling - Digital Command Control by Ian Morton - should be readily available via the Internet if no local shop has it.
Can you indicate what type of DCC system you are using?
 

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Richard, while I do agree that AC meters will be out - I seemed to have struck it lucky. Standard Digital meter on AC reads 13v on my track with my NCE system & using the little device as per http://www.wiringfordcc.com/track.htm#a4, I read 12.3vDC, add the 1.4 from the bridge rectifier giving me 13.7v. Considering I am feeding 14.5v into the NCE system, I am happy to use the 13vAC reading as close enough to see if I am losing voltage anywhere when a load is applied.
Of course each system & meter will have differences.
 
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