What powers a train?
The diesel engine drives the main alternator which provides the power to move the train. The alternator generates AC electricity which is used to provide power for the traction motors mounted on the trucks (bogies). In older locomotives, the alternator was a DC machine, called a generator.
Besides steam- and diesel-powered locomotives, many trains operate solely on electrical power. They get the electricity from a third rail, or electrical line, along the track. Transformers transfer the voltage from the lines, and the electrical current drives the motors (AC or DC) on the wheels.
- A train is a form of transport consisting of a series of connected vehicles that generally runs along a rail track to transport cargo or passengers. Motive power for a train is provided by a separate locomotive or individual motors in a self-propelled multiple unit.
- Railroad tracks guide the train, acting as the low-friction surface on which the train runs and often transferring the weight of the train to the ground below. The track may also provide electrical power along the third rail, as you'll recall. The rails are usually bolted to the ties.
- Rectifier locomotives, which used AC power transmission and DC motors, were common, though DC commutators had problems both in starting and at low velocities. Today's advanced electric locomotives use brushless three-phase AC induction motors.
Rectifier locomotives, which used AC power transmission and DC motors, were common, though DC commutators had problems both in starting and at low velocities. Today's advanced electric locomotives use brushless three-phase AC induction motors.
- Series-wound DC motors. That means current flows through the armature, then through the fields. They have high starting torque, favorable for starting a train. Nowadays the trend is toward AC motors, typically a 3-phase induction motor driven by a DC->AC inverter control.
- Traction motor refers to a type of electric motor. A traction motor is used to make rotation torque on a machine. It is usually changed into a straight line motion. Traction motors are used in electrically powered rail vehicles such as electric multiple units and electric locomotives.
- Today's automakers use three different types of electric motors in green cars: the BLDC motor, brushed DC motor, and AC induction motor. The BLDC motor has a permanent-magnet rotor surrounded by a wound stator. The winding in the stator get commutated electronically, instead of with brushes.
Updated: 4th December 2019