Electric Model Trains

Written by Diane Sievert
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Electric model trains can yield hours of amusement once you understand how exactly they work. It should be obvious that power is required in order to move the locomotive and its cars, but it may not be readily apparent just where that power is coming from. What follows is an extensive explanation of the process by which power is used to run electric model trains.

How Do Electric Model Trains Work?

Electric model trains are built with small electric motors in the locomotive. To power said motor, electricity is supplied by the track. While there are other operating systems available, this type is by far the most commonly used method.

What happens is that the locomotive motor is powered by the electricity via the track. The electricity supplied by this rail propels the locomotive and its cars forward until it reaches the next rail, where more power is supplied to the propel the rain forward again, and so on. . . This kind of operating system is termed the two rail operating system.

It's important to be cautious, but it's rather unlikely that you'll get hurt by an electric train operating system. The electric currents are generally a very low, safe voltage. Electrocution or other injury is quite rare.


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