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View Diary: Lac-Megatic Train Disaster Update (28 comments)

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  •  It couldn't be the air brakes (2+ / 0-)
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    rja, BachFan

    George Westinghouse's big invention of railroad air brakes was to require air pressure to release the brakes, not to apply the brakes.  That way, if part of the train decoupled, brakes would automatically be applied to stop the cars.
    But if the train was stopped and was unattended, the engineer should have set the manual parking brake on the locomotive, or he could have chocked a locomotive wheel to prevent the train from moving.  He could have used even a nickel as a chock -- a train doesn't have enough power to "climb" a nickel between wheel and track from rest.  

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