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Position of a train engine (Locomotive)

  1. Feb 3, 2016 #1
    Hi,
    I have a question about where's the most efficient place for a train engine -
    Let's say a train has to do a some route back and forth, the route has curves and positive and negative slopes.
    In real life - What's the best position for the enginge?

    My intuition says it will be most efficient if it will always be in the front -
    But when I wrote simple equations I found it doesn't matter -
    Because I have neglected many things like compression and streching of the wagons, the air resistance, heat removal and so on.. I'm not sure about it.

    Any Ideas?

    Thanks/
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 3, 2016 #2

    Borg

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    Gold Member

    Well, it does help to see where you're going. Hard to do from the middle or back.
     
  4. Feb 3, 2016 #3
    Trains work well in tension but poorly in compression, keep the engine at the front.
     
  5. Feb 3, 2016 #4
    Of course it does :smile:

    But speaking in energetic terms - is the work (Force*Length [Joule]) will be the same,
    no matter what's the configuration of the engine comparing to the wagons?

    If so, why did the 'Push-Pull' train was invented?
    Couldn't they just leave the engine in the rear part and add controles to the front?

    Thanks
     
  6. Feb 3, 2016 #5
    Thank you, Perhaps you can explain what's the 'physical principles' behind that?
     
  7. Feb 3, 2016 #6
    Think of a train as a length of chain if you pull it the links will follow, if you try to push it the links will bunch up and not control well.
     
  8. Feb 3, 2016 #7

    russ_watters

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    Staff: Mentor

    Those questions are largely answered in the article you linked...
     
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