What Are Some Parts of a Train?


Quick Answer

The main parts of a diesel-electric locomotive train built in the United States include inverters, air intakes, auxiliary alternators, turbochargers and radiator fans. Other parts include air brakes, arch tubes, axle boxes, cabs and couplers.

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Full Answer

Inverters convert AC output in a main alternator to DC. GM EMD uses one inverter per truck and GE utilizes one inverter for each axle. When an inverter fails, only 50 percent of its traction works. Air intakes filter the air to reduce dust and other undesirable materials from entering the locomotive's motor. They help regulate the temperature in and out of the train. The demands on the air filter are immense as it must accommodate a vast array of temperatures.

Providing AC for heating, lighting, air conditioning and dining areas on passenger trains, auxiliary alternators are known as "head end power" in the United States. Powered by a diesel engine, main alternators provide energy to move a train. They provide power to the traction motors on top of the trucks. The main alternators created direct current, thus making DC traction motors.

Placed at the end of rail cars, couplers connect one railroad car to another, whereas air brakes use compressed air to stop and slow down a train. Axle boxes serve two purposes on a train: the container that situates axle bearings and the container that connects the bogie with the end of the axle.

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