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Old 09-06-2016, 08:29 AM   #1
Chip
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Electricity in Prototypical Operations

I was recently asked by my niece if the rails of a "Real" RR can conduct electricity like "our" models. I assured her they did because they are usually made of a conductive metal, weather or not this is an "issue" or a problem for them was something I could not answer for her and hoped one of you may have an answer that would satisfy her AND me!
THANX!
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Old 09-06-2016, 08:47 AM   #2
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Kids don't stop, now she wants to know what happens when Lightning hits the rails! SHOOT, I don't know what to tell this child! "It goes BANG" is NO answer!
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Old 09-06-2016, 08:53 AM   #3
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The conductivity of the rails made Automatic Block Signaling possible.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Automatic_block_signaling
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Old 09-06-2016, 09:04 AM   #4
Chip
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Originally Posted by Lehigh74 View Post
The conductivity of the rails made Automatic Block Signaling possible.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Automatic_block_signaling
Thanks for the link though I don't often use wikki as it can be changed and ya never quite KNOW if you are being taken for a ride there. It makes sense that they would use the conductivity to an advantage, but what about "Static" charges and the Lightning question has got her attention BIG time! I'm thinking the spikes would serve another function by "grounding" any charge but I'm "electron challenged" and am ignorant in that area, I can barely change a light bulb, that's why I have no "power bus" on my layout, just one hook up at the terminal piece by the transformer.
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Old 09-06-2016, 09:26 AM   #5
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Using the rails for signaling is a real challenge for the signal manufacturers. Beside good conductivity and lightning they have deal with resistance between the rails. A bigger problem in the steam age but still a concern today. as smoke and oil deposits builds up on the ties they start to conduct and short out the signal.
To aid in the rail conduction wire jumpers are used.



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Old 09-06-2016, 09:30 AM   #6
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I've often seen those wires and thought it was a form of signaling using the rails themselves but did not know the particulars, Thank you.
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Old 09-06-2016, 09:57 AM   #7
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Hi,

And don't forgot many railroad use electric power for propulsion as well.

Frederick
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Old 09-06-2016, 10:35 AM   #8
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Moved to correct forum.
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Old 09-07-2016, 08:01 AM   #9
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Thanks "Gunrunner" for putting it in it's proper place and all for such good info, I was able to tell her about the "Electric" Trains and how they are pretty much just like "ours" but it was how "natural" electricity(static charges and lightning) is handled by "regular" trains and track systems and if it causes problems for them that she was asking me about. Smart kid!
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Old 01-20-2017, 05:16 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fcwilt View Post
Hi,

And don't forgot many railroad use electric power for propulsion as well.

Frederick
But not provided through the running rails like our models.

Electric trains pick up power from a separate pickup, either overhead wire, or beside-the-track "third rail".
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