Train Car Anatomy, continued.
This is a Type 2, but the setup looks more or less the same on the Type 1s (and the coupler heads that fit these are folded under the cab of the Type 4s). Under here you can see the bell, and then at the bottom going horizontally across the tracks is a bumper that prevents something that the train hits from going further under the train. The coupler head (bullnose) is at the end of a deformation tube which allows a coupled train to bend around curves and is collapsible in case of a collision.
This should’ve been straightened out as part of the ground inspection, but if for whatever reason this car needs to be coupled at this end, an alignment check is part of the coupling process that’s done to ensure that the deformation tube is straight
The cyclops, sometimes called the railroad light serves two purposes. One, helps the operator to see in the dark. Two, clearly identifies you as a train! A foot pedal inside the cab lets the operator turn the cyclops off – this is used at night when passing other trains (or buses on the Steel Bridge) the same way you turn your bright headlights off when passing other cars on the road so you don’t blind oncoming drivers. Many operators will also kill the cyclops when they’re stopped at a platform at night so that in the event a train passes through in the other direction, their light is already off.
I’ve never seen one of these in action, nor do I particularly want to… in the event of a train-train collision, the anti-climbers theoretically lock together and prevent one train car from climbing the other. The type 4s have these too, but they’re hidden underneath the shell that covers the coupler head. A combination of the ATS magnets, rail operator attentiveness and skill, and good direction from rail control is what prevents these accidents from happening in the first place (and therefore no need to test the integrity of the anticlimbers on our own any more than you want to test the integrity of your car’s airbags on your own)
And let’s take a look at the bottom of the train:
This is from a couple of years ago when a train derailed downtown – ordinarily you won’t see the wheels on a MAX car like this – they’re covered with a panel called a skirt. But the skirts were taken off this train in order to get it back on the rails, so now you can get a nice look at the wheel trucks. That rectangular thing between the wheels (that in this picture is pressed against the ground) is the track brake. This heavy magnetic brake normally hangs just above the rail. When the operator uses it, it makes a sort of clunking sound as it drops and a beep that you’ll hear if you’re sitting up by the cab, and it quickly slows the train down, stopping the train if the brake is continuously applied. It’s often used coming into platforms on slippery track surfaces such as leaves, ice, or water to stop the train. And of course, the wheels are found here.
In that above picture, the sanding tube is visible (it’s sort of visible in the first picture in this post of the coupler head just behind the bumper, though on the Type 2s and 3s it looks more triangular). You’ve probably seen the sandboxes on the trains even if you never thought much about them. I’ve been asked a few times what those are for.
Sand boxes in a Type 2 under the seats
Sand is automatically deployed to give the train better traction – it makes a sort of buzzing sound. You’ll notice this when the rails are wet, especially when trying to pick up speed going up a hill (e.g. entering the tunnel westbound from Goose Hollow).
Maybe I’ll add more to this anatomy… maybe not.. there are a few things I didn’t get into but it’s getting harder to find the time to blog these days and there are a lot of other things I want to write about.