Below we illustrate the main parts of the Westinghouse brake as applied to a vehicle. The supplementary reservoir brake cylinder and triple valve are shown in position, and as fitted upon the engine, tender, and each vehicle of the train. Air compressed by a pump on the locomotive to, say, 70 lb. or 80 lb. to the square inch fills the main reservoir on the engine, and flowing through the driver's brake valve and main pipe, also charges the supplementary reservoirs throughout the train. When a train is running, uniform air pressure exists throughout its length--that is to say, the main reservoir on the engine, the pipe from end to end of train, the triple valves and supplementary reservoirs on each vehicle, are all charged ready for work, the brake cylinders being empty and the brakes off. The essential principle of the system is, that maintaining the pressure keeps the brakes off, but letting the air escape from the brake pipe, purposely or accidentally, instantly applies them. It follows, therefore, that the brake may be applied by the driver or any of the guards, or if necessary by a passenger, by the separation of a coupling, or the failure or injury to a vital part of the apparatus, whether due to an accident to the train or to the brake; and as the brake on each vehicle is complete in itself and independent, should the apparatus on any one carriage be torn off, the brake will nevertheless remain applied for almost any length of time upon the rest of the train.
The triple valve, as will be seen, is simply a small piston, carrying with it a slide valve, which can be moved up or down by increasing or decreasing the pressure in the brake pipe. As soon as the air from the main reservoir is turned into the brake pipe, by means of the driver's valve, the piston is pushed up into the position shown, and air is allowed to feed past it through a small groove into the reservoir. At the same time the slide valve covers the port to the brake cylinder, and is in such a position that the air from the latter may exhaust into the atmosphere. The piston has now the same air pressure on both sides; but if the pressure in the brake pipe is decreased, the piston and slide valve are forced down, thereby uncovering the passage through which air from the reservoir flows into the brake cylinder between the pistons, thus applying the brakes. The brake pipe is shut off as soon as the triple valve piston passes the groove. To release the brakes, the piston and slide valves are again moved into the position shown, by the driver turning air from the main reservoir into the brake pipe.
The air in the brake cylinder escapes, and at the same time the reservoir is recharged.
THE WESTINGHOUSE BRAKE.
Fig. 2 represents two Westinghouse couplings connected. They are exactly alike in all respects, and an air tight joint is made between them by means of the rubber washers. These couplings are so constructed that the air pressure within serves to tighten the joint, and they may be pushed apart by the separation of the train without any injury. Such an occurrence as already explained leads to the instant application of all the brakes on the train.
By closing the small tap shown between the brake pipe and the triple valve, the brake on any vehicle, if out of order, can be cut out of the system. A release valve is also placed upon each cylinder as shown, so that in the event of the brakes being applied by the separation of the train, or the breaking of a pipe, or when the locomotive is not attached, they can be released by allowing the air to escape from each brake cylinder direct. The Westinghouse brake has been made to comply thoroughly with the Board of Trade conditions. Many people, however, do not appear to understand all that is involved in the second requirement, which runs as follows: In case of accident, to be instantaneously self-acting. This clearly implies: First, that accident to the train, or to any of its vehicles, shall cause the instant application of the brakes to the wheels of every vehicle in the train without the intervention of the driver or guards. Secondly, that any injury, however caused, which may impair the efficiency of the brake apparatus, shall, in like manner, lead to the instant application of all the brakes on the train.
It then becomes impossible for a driver to run his train in ignorance of any defect in his brake apparatus because such defect at once discloses itself by applying the brakes and stopping the train. Thirdly, that each vehicle shall carry its own brake power in such a manner that the destruction of the brake apparatus on one or more of the carriages shall not affect the efficiency of the brakes upon any of the others. No continuous brake which does not comply with such conditions can ever be satisfactory.--The Engineer.