Train hardware has fascinated me since I was a kid (lifelong foamer here), but what really baked my noodle was the realization that these chunks of steel small enough that a single person could carry are strong enough to pull over a hundred 30+ ton cars and the thousands of tons of cargo each car holds for thousands of miles. It's one of those things that I understand, yet still blows my mind.
My mind knows the locomotive is very heavy and that means that the pressure of its wheels in the line contact with the track is huge which increases the friction. However, the fact that it is so huge that the loco can get the towed cars moving without the loco wheels spinning is hard to accept.
I know that sometimes they do slip and locos have sanders but, still, it's hard to accept that it can work.
In a similar vein, I know that steam engines produce maximum force at zero rpm, but the fact that they can produce enough force to get a train of many, many tons moving from a dead stop is hard to accept.
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