Indian Railways is one of the largest rail networks in the world. India has the fourth longest rail route after America, China and Russia. The total length that our rail network covers is over 68,000 kilometres and the railways operates more than 13,000 trains. People are often curious about various aspects of train operations. One of them is how trains generate speed and their gear systems.
Trains do have gears, but they just have different names based on the type of engine used. A diesel locomotive has eight gears called notch. The gears work similar to those in cars or bikes where the speed of the locomotive increases with every gear change. It can be taken at its top speed once it hits the 8th notch. Similarly, the notch can drop when the locomotive needs to reduce speed. If the speed is to be maintained, the notch should remain untouched.
The notch doesn’t have to be changed from time to time, once the speed is attained, one can let the notch stay fixed and let the locomotive take its course on the tracks. However, diesel locomotives are being replaced by electric ones. When it comes to electric train engines, one does not need to manually shift gears or notches and can increase the speed as the gear transmission is automatic.
The speed of the locomotive is not just determined by the gear transmission but also by one other factor – the power section. The power section is the capacity of the track on which the train can run. If the railroad cannot bear the high speed of the train, it doesn’t matter what the highest speed of the train is, they need to be run at the speed at which they can safely travel on tracks. Therefore, whenever a train is designed, it is run on the tracks at the highest speed to check if the tracks can bear it.
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