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|Railroad Air Brakes
The first air brakes were developed during the 1860's by George Westinghouse, a young engineer who got the idea after reading about a compressed-air drill. The same principle used by the drill produced railroad brakes so safe that the system is still in use.
To set the brakes, an engineer pulls a lever which reduces the air presure in a hose connecting all the cars. This reduction releases the valve of a pressurized air reservoir under each car (above), allowing air to flow into a brake cylinder between the wheels (below).
Here the pressurized air forces down a piston, which sets a pair of brake shoes against the wheels. Any accident which breaks the air hose will thus stop the train automatically.
Library >> Technology >> Railroad Engineering and Operation >> Railway Equipment and Supplies
This page was last updated on August 02, 2017.