One significant component of the yard air system is the air brake. Railway brakes, as part of nationwide railroad yard air systems, use compressed air as its operating medium. Today’s trains are dependent on this fail-safe air brake system. It is based on the pioneering efforts of one George Westinghouse during the latter half of the nineteenth century. Consequent to this effort the Westinghouse Air Brake Company was founded.
Today, in its various forms, from the East Coast to the West Coast, from the Orient Express across Europe going into the Middle East, to the Far East bullet speed trains for which the Japanese have been famous for many years, the Westinghouse concept is virtually universally embraced. The original system uses air pressure in order to charge air tanks, also known as air reservoirs, on each rail car.
Full air pressure signals engage these cars to release their brakes. But a reduction in air pressure will be signaling them to apply their brakes, always using the compressed air already in the tanks. The straight air brake remains the simplest design in which case compressed air pushes onto a piston via a cylinder. The piston is mechanically linked to brake shoes. These shoes will be rubbing on the rail cars’ wheels.
It does so by also utilizing its produced friction to slow the train down. The purpose of this mechanical link is to evenly distribute force from one pressurized air cylinder throughout to as many as twelve wheels. Pressurized air is generated from the air compressor. This air is sent from car to car through a line made up of pipes and hoses underneath and between cars respectively. And just so you know, travelling and transporting goods by train remains one of the most sustainable means of transport.