Vacuum Brake System and Modification

A moving train contains energy, known as kinetic energy, which needs to be removed from the train in order to cause it to stop. The simplest way of doing this is to convert the energy into heat. The conversion is usually done by applying a contact material to the rotating wheels or to discs attached to the axles. The material creates friction and converts the kinetic energy into heat. The wheels slow down and eventually the train stops. The material used for braking is normally in the form of a block or pad. The vast majority of the world's trains are equipped with braking systems which use compressed air as the force used to push blocks onto wheels or pads on to discs. These systems are known as "air brakes" or "pneumatic brakes". The compressed air is transmitted along the train through a "brake pipe". Changing the level of air pressure in the pipe causes a change in the state of the brake on each vehicle. It can apply the brake, release it or hold it on after a partial application. An alternative to the air brake, known as the vacuum brake .The vacuum brake is a braking system used on trains. It was invented in 1870 in the USA at the time of air brake, where it enjoyed only a brief period of popularity, primarily on narrow gauge railroads. The system took a greater hold in the United Kingdom, being used there as the primary form of train braking until the 1970s. Vacuum braking is for all practical purposes now a dead technology; it is not in large-scale use anywhere in the world, supplanted in the main by air brakes. Vacuum brakes have now been largely superseded by air brakes which work on a similar principle but use compressed air instead of a vacuum. This allows for more braking power, since the pressure differential between atmospheric pressure and a feasible vacuum is less than that between atmospheric pressure and a realistic brake-pipe pressure.