How Much Do You Know About Electric Trains?

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Lindsay Kottwitz
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How Much Do You Know About Electric Trains? - Quiz

Electric locomotives came about in the 1800s as an alternative to steam engines. While they caught on in Europe as a great substitute energy source for steam engines and diesel trains, the US still widely uses diesel. How much to you know about early electric trains?


Questions and Answers
  • 1. 

    Who built the first known electric train in 1837, running on DC battery current?

    • A.

      Werner von Siemens

    • B.

      Robert Davidson

    • C.

      Richard Trevithick

    • D.

      Rudolf Diesel

    Correct Answer
    B. Robert Davidson
    Explanation
    Davidsons built 2 different electric trains, the latter of which moved at 4 mph for 1.5 miles. The limited storage of the batteries kept his invention from picking up speed.

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  • 2. 

    Werner von Siemens invented the first electric passenger train in Berlin in what year?

    • A.

      1806

    • B.

      1837

    • C.

      1879

    • D.

      1888

    Correct Answer
    C. 1879
    Explanation
    The train was powered by a 2.2 kW, series-wound motor, and carried passengers around a 300m (984 ft.) circular track.

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  • 3. 

    How many cars did Werner von Siemen's locomotive haul in 1879?

    • A.

      3

    • B.

      5

    • C.

      4

    • D.

      1

    Correct Answer
    A. 3
    Explanation
    The electric train engine was able to haul 3 passenger cars, and carried a total of 90,000 people during the 4 months of its operation.

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  • 4. 

    How fast could the first passenger electric train travel?

    • A.

      13 km/h, 8.1 mph

    • B.

      20 hm/h, 12.5mph

    • C.

      22 km/h, 13.7 mph

    • D.

      11 km/h, 6.8 mph

    Correct Answer
    A. 13 km/h, 8.1 mph
    Explanation
    The fastest Steam trains were already going 125.6 km/h (78 mph) at this time so electric trains still had some work to do.

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  • 5. 

    Which infrastructure development in urban areas in the late 1800s help electric trains' popularity grow?

    • A.

      Narrow bridges

    • B.

      Hilly terrain

    • C.

      Tunnels

    • D.

      Sewage systems

    Correct Answer
    C. Tunnels
    Explanation
    The gases left lingering the tunnels from steam engines limited their use in cities.

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  • 6. 

    The US caught onto the electric trend late. What year did the first electric trolleys appear in Richmond, Virginia?

    • A.

      1883

    • B.

      1888

    • C.

      1895

    • D.

      1902

    Correct Answer
    B. 1888
    Explanation
    It took 5 years after the first railway opened in Europe for the US to adopt electric transport. The equipment was designed by Frank J. Sprague.

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  • 7. 

    Where do electric trains get their power? (select all that apply)

    • A.

      Overhead cables

    • B.

      Battery or supercapacitor

    • C.

      Gasoline engine

    • D.

      Coal

    • E.

      Third rail

    Correct Answer(s)
    A. Overhead cables
    B. Battery or supercapacitor
    E. Third rail
    Explanation
    Electric trains can get their power from overhead cables, which provide electricity through a system of wires and contact lines. They can also be powered by a battery or supercapacitor, which store electrical energy and allow the train to operate without the need for constant connection to an external power source. Another option is the third rail, which is an additional rail placed alongside the tracks and carries the electrical current needed to power the train. Gasoline engine and coal are not sources of power for electric trains.

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  • 8. 

    What are advantages of the electric train over diesel or steam?

    • A.

      Quieter

    • B.

      Less air pollution

    • C.

      Less rail maintenance

    • D.

      Regenerative braking

    Correct Answer(s)
    A. Quieter
    B. Less air pollution
    C. Less rail maintenance
    D. Regenerative braking
    Explanation
    Electric trains are way more efficient and can store the kinetic energy they use to brake and use it again later; this makes them ideal for passengers with many stops. Which an engine and mechanical parts the rails require less maintenance than diesel as well.

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  • 9. 

    What are the disadvantages of electric trains?

    • A.

      High operating costs

    • B.

      Slow

    • C.

      Expensive infrastructure

    • D.

      Breakdown often

    Correct Answer
    C. Expensive infrastructure
    Explanation
    The only disadvantage to electric is the costs for installing the infrastructure. Once installed the operating costs are much lower than current diesel trains. Europe uses mostly electric for this reason. However, the railways are privately owned in the US and most companies (outside of the trains in the northeast) don't want to pay to add the electric rails to the tracks.

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  • 10. 

    Which country currently has the fasted electric train in the World?

    • A.

      Japan

    • B.

      China

    • C.

      Germany

    • D.

      India

    Correct Answer
    B. China
    Explanation
    The Fuxing Hao travels at 400km/h, 249 mph and carries passengers from Beijing the Shanghai in 5 hours.

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