Does a Train Have a Steering Wheel?

Does a Train Have a Steering Wheel

Does a train have a steering wheel? Some trains do have a wheel that looks like a steering wheel. But it is not a steering wheel as such.

The steering wheel you’ve seen is a speed control wheel and used to control the speed (inclusive of dynamic breaking) of the locomotive.

Other names for the wheel include notch changer, tap changer or speed adjuster

As mentioned above, the wheel you’ve seen is used for adjusting the speed for certain trains locomotives/engines & found in older trains particularly.

It is used mainly on Indian and European electric locomotives, chances that you’ll see one on the North American locomotives (trains) are slim. However if the locomotive is older or in a mountainous area, you could see one.

How Does The Steering Wheel aka Speed Control Wheel Work

You have two options to turn the wheel, clockwise & anti-clockwise.

Turning The Speed Control Clockwise

Firstly the so called steering wheel works as a throttle, if you rotate it clockwise more current will be fed into the locomotive traction motors. It usually has 30-32 positions, think like the higher the position of the steering wheel (rotated clockwise) the greater the speed of the train.

Turning The Speed Control Counterclockwise

When you turn the speed control wheel counterclockwise the speed will decrease and brakes will be applied. This is called hydro dynamic braking, it enables the locomotive to move down hill in a safe and controlled manner

It has to be mentioned that this steering wheel system is not used on modern locomotives, it has been replaced with a throttle lever.

Example Of A Train Steering Wheel (Speed Wheel/Throttle)

The photo below is of a train steering wheel used for the previous mentioned functions of increasing and decreasing the speed of the train.

The pic is provided by Cog Railway, if you haven’t been there and you are in the area of Manitou Springs, please check it out, it’s truly spectacular.

Website with more info HERE.

does a train have a steering wheel

Example Of The Modern “Train Steering Wheel”The Throttle Lever

does a train have a steering wheel

As you can see from the pic above, speed is now controlled by a simple throttle lever.

Are There Any Ather Uses For Steering Wheels On Trains?

In some trolleys also known as streetcars (trams in Europe, a rail vehicle that runs on tramway tracks), the steering wheel is used as a brake wheel, and in some trains it is used as a handbrake too.

Does A Train Have A Steering Wheel – Conclusion

I hope I have answered your question, does a train have a steering wheel. As you know now know, specific older trains have wheels. They are not for steering, they are for changing speed.

Want to know how fast Amtrak trains go, click HERE.

Safe Travelling!