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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 56.djvu/423

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409
WHAT MAKES THE TROLLEY CAR GO.

results are accomplished in an electrically operated car can be understood from Figs. 18 and 19, which are line drawings, in a simplified form, of an ordinary trolley car. Fig. 18 is an elevation showing the outline of the car body and the wheels in broken lines, while the motors and the wires through which the current is conveyed thereto are drawn in solid lines. Fig. 19 is a plan in which the outline of the car floor and the platforms is represented in broken lines, the solid lines being the motors and connecting wires.

In almost every instance railway cars are provided with two motors, as shown at M M in these two figures. This arrangement is adopted not because one motor can not furnish all the power required, but simply for the purpose of making the equipment more reliable. Everything of human make is liable to fail; hence if only one motor were used there would be more or less liability of its giving out at a critical moment, and then the car would be helpless. If two motors are provided, should one give out the car would not be disabled, for the remaining machine would be able to run it to its destination. In order that this result may be successfully accomplished, each motor is made of sufficient capacity to run the car without being overtaxed, unless the load is abnormally large; but even under the latter conditions the machine will in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred withstand the strain. Some roads, in small towns, where the traffic is light and the expense must be kept down to the lowest point, use single-motor cars, so as to effect a saving in first cost. This course, however, is very seldom followed, except in places where there are no heavy grades or where there is very little probability of the loads becoming excessive, except at rare intervals. If the cars are provided with a single motor, when one becomes disabled from any cause it has to wait until overtaken by the car behind it, so that it may be pushed by the latter to the end of the road.

The electric current for operating the motors is generated in a power house that is located at some convenient point along the route. The current is conveyed to the moving cars by means of a trolley wire, which is marked T in the drawings. Unless the road is very small and operates but a few ears, this wire will not be sufficient to carry all the current, hence in most cases there are a number of supplementary wires, which are called feeders. These wires are carried along on poles, and at proper intervals are connected with the trolley wire T. The electric current passes from the trolley wire through the motors on the car, and thence to the rails R, and through these, and also through the ground, back to the power house. The exact path of the current is as follows: