Westinghouse Air Brake Plain triple valve

Westinghouse Air Brake Plain triple valve

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Credit: SHEILA TERRY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Cross-section diagram of the Westinghouse plain triple valve used in the fail-safe train air brake. Early train brakes were hand operated and largely ineffective, even with the lower speed of trains of those days. To achieve higher and safe speeds, the American inventor George Westinghouse brought out an air brake in 1869. Unfortunately, if a hose burst or the train broke in two the brakes on the entire train became useless. Also the brakes worked unevenly throughout the train and could cause the carriages or cars to collide. Westinghouse introduced the plain automatic air brake in 1873. Putting a triple valve and an auxiliary reservoir under each vehicle ensured independent braking power and the automatic application of the brakes on the whole train, but the problem of uneven braking remained.

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Keywords: 19th c, accident, air brake, automatic air brake, auxiliary reservoir, carriage, coach, collide, collision, components, cross-section diagram, engineering, fail-safe, locomotive, passenger car, railway, steam train, tender, trains, triple-valve, westinghouse

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