History and description


History and description

Multiple-unit operation was made possible by the development of multiple-unit train control by the American inventor Franklin J. Sprague, apparently, even though electric multiple-unit trains had been deployed on the Liverpool Overhead Railway four years before his “invention”. This allowed electrically-powered rapid transit trains to be operated from a single driving position. The first successful test of an MU on a working rapid-transit system was in Chicago, on the South Side “L”, now part of the CTA Green Line. Most MUs are powered either by a diesel engine driving the wheels through a gearbox or hydraulic transmission (DMU), or by traction motors, receiving their power through a live rail or overhead wire (EMU). Diesel electric multiple units (DEMUs) have a diesel engine that drives a generator producing electricity to drive traction motors in a similar fashion to a diesel-electric locomotive. A multiple-unit trainset has the same power and traction components as a locomotive, but instead of the components being concentrated in one carbody, they are spread out on each car that makes up the set. These cars can only propel themselves when they are part of the set, so they are semi-permanently coupled. For example, a DMU might have one car carry the prime mover and traction motors, and another the engine for head end power generation; an EMU might have one car carry the pantograph and transformer, and another car carry the traction motors. Virtually all rapid transit rolling stock, such as ones used in subway systems, are multiple-unit trainsets, usually EMUs. Many high-speed rail rolling stocks are also multiple-unit trainsets, such as the Japanese Shinkansen and the German ICE 3 high-speed trains.

5. Answer the questions.

1. What does the term multiple unit mean?

2. How is multiple unit controlled?

3. What are the types of multiple units?

4. Where was the first successful test of an MU?

5. How are most Mus powered?

6. Where can traction components in multiple-unit trainset be found?

7. What is the role of diesel engine in diesel electric multiple units?

8. Where is rapid transit rolling stock used?


6. Translate the following sentences, paying attention to the ‘-ing’-forms of the verbs:

1. Multiple unit trains have been running on all major cities’ metro lines in China. 2. Depending on the construction conditions, different modern construction methods were used, the combined solutions prevailing. 3. The locomotive has various modifications meeting special requirements of customers. 4. In Japan most passenger train vehicles including the high-speed Shinkansen are multiple unit type except for small numbers of overnight sleeper trains – very few passenger trains are now locomotive type. 5. The electronic industry and scientific research institutes, following a program of automation of train operations, have been continuously developing their manufacturing and technological potentials.


7. Read the following text. Give the name to the text. Make a plan and retell the text.

In both Japan and France the initial impetus for the introduction of high speed rail was the need for additional capacity to meet increasing demand for passenger rail travel. By the mid-1950s, the Tōkaidō Main Line in Japan was operating at full capacity, and construction of the first segment of the Tōkaidō Shinkansen between Tokyo and Osaka started in 1959. The situation for the first line in Japan was different than the subsequent lines. The route was already so densely populated and rail oriented that highway development would be extremely costly and one single line between Tokyo and Osaka could bring service to over half the nation’s population. In 1959 that was nearly 45 million people; today it is well over 65 million. The Tōkaidō Shinkansen line is the most heavily traveled high speed line in the world and still transports more passengers than all other high speed rail lines in the world combined. In France the main line between Paris and Lyon was projected to run out of capacity by 1970. In both cases the choice to build a completely separate passenger-only line allowed for the much straighter higher speed lines. The dramatically reduced travel times on both lines, bringing cities within three hours of one another, caused explosions in ridership. It was the commercial success of both lines that inspired those countries and their economies to expand or start high speed rail networks.




nimble – рухливий

gradient – схил

dead weight – постійне навантаження

bulky – великогабаритний

ratio – коєфіцієнт, співвідношення

failure – ушкодження, відмова

axle load – навантаження на вісь

rigid – жорсткий

flexible – гнучкий

jerk – поштовх, ривок

drop – зниження


1. Match the words with their definitions.

gradient a ship's load including the total weight of cargo, fuel, stores, crew, and passengers  
bulky a fixed bar or beam with bearings at its ends on which wheels (as of a cart) revolve
dead weight a single quick motion of short duration
axle a part sloping upward or downward
jerk having great volume in proportion to weight


2. Fill in the blank spaces with:

acceleration, weight, purpose, failure, efficiencies, rigid, destination, frequent, ratio.

1. The company is trying to lower costs and improve …. 2. Her … is 105 pounds. 3. What is the length-to-width …? 4. The car delivers quick …. 5. The accident was caused by engine …. 6. He is a … disciplinarian. 7. The car started with a jerk. 8. She was a … visitor to the museum. 9. The package reached its … two days later. 10. The … of the new resort is to attract more tourists.


3. Translate the word combinations from the text into Russian.

Energy-efficient, power-driven wheels, weight-per-seat value, turnaround times, suburban commuter rail services, axle loads, side-effect, reduced track wear, locomotive-hauled trains.


4. Read the text. Express the main idea of the text.

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