Thursday, February 24, 2005

Basics of model trains

Model trains are intended to give you pleasure, no matter what is your age and profession. And these model trains can make a life long hobby, if you have a good train set and additionally know what the parts it constitutes and other terms related to railroading. Here, we will discuss some basic points about the model trains. It is very obvious that a typical train set includes a locomotive, three to five passenger cars, enough track to make a circle or an oval, a transformer, and a set of wires that go between the transformer and the track. This set-up is just like the trains that are run actually to commute the people. These model trains rail tracks have one piece as a "re-railer" section that helps you put the cars and the locomotive onto the rails more easily.

The size of the model trains is dependent upon the age of the user and the space that you have in your house. These model trains are graded for a particular range of age and you can pick one according to your need.
Being a mechanical engineer graduate, I would love to enlist some glossary terms that are included in these model trains. Here are few of them:

Couplers: These are the devices that are used to join passenger cars and locomotives and are placed at the end of each compartment. These are generally knuckle shaped devices; however, some companies are offering more shapes including the "horn-hook" and the "Rapido-style" coupler.

Drivers: These are large wheels on a steam locomotive connected by side rods.

Flywheel: Flywheel is a turned, solid-metal cylinder mounted in line with a model locomotive’s motor that actually smoothes out the motor's rotating motion to the drive train. It also acts as a energy storage device if the locomotive is producing more but the engine is not using enough.

Rail joiner: It is a small metal clip, as clear from the name itself, which joins two sections of rail together.

Re-railer: As told earlier, this is a section of track that guides wheels or passenger cars and locomotives onto the rails.

Tender: It is the name given to the car immediately behind a steam locomotive that carries fuel for the firebox and water for the boiler.

Throttle: This device controls the speed of the locomotive and is just like a potentiometer controlling a voltage regulator.

Truck: It is the frame assembly under each end of a car and the diesel locomotive that holds the wheel-sets.

Wheel-set: It is, as clear from the name itself, the wheel-axle assembly that fits into the truck. Generally trucks have two or three wheel-sets according to the size of car.

It is general glossary section to tell you something about the components of your model train and gives you an idea as how the train is running and making you enjoy! A little more knowledge can give you a complete satisfaction but that tends to be a little more technical and so I have opted not put it here.

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