Monday, April 13, 2015
Train Trivia - Train Burnout
Train burnout occurs when the train is using multiple locomotives. Usually there are only people in one locomotive and the other locomotives are controlled by remote control. So the train stops and one locomotive doesn't get the word to stop so it continues to run only the rest of the train which is stopped holds it in place and the wheels just spin away wearing the track down under the wheels.
Once a divot is made in the track, the surface area of the wheel-track contact goes up and makes the whole situation even worse. Trains actually use sand to increase friction on the top of the rail while providing a barrier so the wheels in high torque, low speed situations don't melt the rails. http://science.howstuffworks.com/transport/engines-equipment/diesel-locomotive3.htm
There are other reasons why it happens like the locomotive can't get a grip on the track and just sits there spinning. You may recall seeing trains start up and the wheels spin until they grab traction on the track and begin to move. Basically the engines have so much torque they if they rev too quickly the wheels just spin under the engine, grinding away at the track - with enough friction to even start melting it a bit. The load they carry has way too much mass to be pulled that quickly