Anonymous
Anonymous asked in Cars & TransportationRail · 2 months ago

Why can trains not go up hill?

How comes trains can't go up hill? I am talking about UK trains, they build tunnels or viaducts to keep it straight. What stops it from going up hill though, is it too heavy?

8 Answers

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  • Joseph
    Lv 7
    3 weeks ago

    They can go up the hill, but up to a point.  If the grade is too steep there wouldn't be enough friction between the wheel and the rail to keep the train moving.  Also, keep in mind that trains running up the hill have to descent the same hill, often on the same track.  If the downhill section is too steep train's brakes and the locomotive's dynamic braking may not be enough to keep the train to a safe speed.

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  • 2 months ago

    Making the train divert to a more level route, or coil around in a gentle climb or decent grade takes a lot of land area, construction, and time of travel on every trip.  Where possible, a tunnel or a bridge to make a more direct route is preferred, despite the expense and time to construct.  The payoff is the long history of more profitable runs at higher speeds.

    In some locations, rock conditions might mean a tunnel would be hazardous to dig, or a bridge is to unstable to handle a train, the long diverted track path might have to be done.

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  • Zheia
    Lv 6
    2 months ago

    Trains can go up hill for short distances, especially when entering elevated platforms. Also when underground trains move from subsurface to surface.

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  • 2 months ago

    Yup, too freaking heavy. Millions of kilos of steel and iron rolls well on flat ground but even slight grades up or down hills is extremely difficult and dangerous. The only reason that you might see several locomotives connected together at the front of a train is so they can control acceleration and braking on grades up or down hill. The massive electric motors that drive the wheels make good braking tools going down hill as well. 

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  • 2 months ago

    They can go up slight hills. They can't go up or down steep hills for two reasons. One is that they would slip and slide down the hill (the friction between the wheels and the track isn't enough to hold on a very steep hill; special railroads made to run on very steep hills use tracks and wheels that look like gears, with teeth to prevent sliding). The other reason is that the locomotive and the brakes aren't powerful enough for the train to go quickly on a hill, so it would have to creep very slowly, which would take too long.

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  • 2 months ago

    In some areas they actually attach another engine to help pull or push it. Trains are heavy. I'm surprised they move at all with the only power going through the engine wheels.

    • F
      Lv 6
      2 months agoReport

      The Shinkansen (Japanese Bullet train) is powered through ALL wheels.

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  • 2 months ago

    Steel wheels on steel tracks have no grip. 

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  • 2 months ago

    youtube says its because the wheels are steel and can't maintain enough friction to hold the train in place above a 2% incline. 

    • DON W
      Lv 7
      2 months agoReport

      Yes, which is a reason there are a limited number of steep railways around the world that use a rack and cog system, which ensures traction albeit at the price of speed.

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