Yes our layout does indeed use DCC but I guess I cheat a little as many of my locomotives use battery backup power while the locomotive is on dirty track. This is possible using the Lenz patented capatence pickup. Fortunately the patent is expiring so more manufacturers can integrate this technology.
The size of our layout makes it difficult to use the current battery/RC options due to the lack of power where the locomotives spend time between sessions. I am not a fan of the current battery technology but that is changing as welll.
You might want to wait a couple months before changing. Technology is moving forward. LCC is begining to come of age and DCC/LCC decoders are the next inovation coming along. The advantage is that you get multi manufacturer support with standard wireless. The next couple of years should be very interesting.
I co authored the reference book on DCC which is still valid except the discussion on various systems as it is out of date for that section. However you really do not need to read it unless you really want to understand how it all works.
When running a locomotive without a decoder on DCC you will hear noise, especially when stopped. The noise is the motor running full speed forward and backward at 9600 times a second. This does heat up a motor and should not be used with coreless motors. We tested an LGB motor for several weeks hooked up to a running DCC system. The motor got hot but was not damaged. I recommend not leaving a non decoder locomotive stopped on DCC power track for long periods.
I tend to over design things. We use 8 guage wire from the house or shed to major junction boxes. 10 gauge wire under the tracks as bus wire and 12 gauge feeder wires. We currently have around 5000 ft of track over a large distance and I hate maintence so overkill works for us.
Hope that helps