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Push–pull train

Push–pull train :

Push–pull is a mode of operation for locomotive-hauled trains allowing them to be driven from either end.

A push–pull train has a locomotive at one end of the train, connected via some form of remote control, such as multiple-unit train control, to a vehicle equipped with a control cab at the other end of the train. This second vehicle may be another locomotive, or an unpowered control car.

In the UK and some other parts of Europe, the control car is referred to as a driving trailer (or driving van trailer/DVT where there is no passenger accommodation); in the USA and Canada, they are called cab cars.

Historically, push–pull trains with steam power provided the driver with basic controls at the cab end along with a bell or other signalling code system to communicate with the fireman located in the engine itself in order to pass commands to adjust controls not available in the cab.

At low speeds, some push–pull trains are run entirely from the engine with the guard operating bell codes and brakes from the leading cab when the locomotive is pushing the train.

Many mountain railways also operate on similar principles in order to keep the locomotive lower down than the carriage so that there is no opportunity for a carriage to run away from a train down the gradient and also so that, if the locomotive ever did run away, it would not take the carriage with it.

Modern train control systems use sophisticated electronics to allow full remote control of locomotives. Nevertheless push–pull operation still requires considerable design care to ensure that control system failure does not endanger passengers and also to ensure that, in the event of a derailment, the pushing locomotive does not push a derailed train into an obstacle worsening the accident. The 1984 Polmont rail crash (in Scotland) occurred when a push–pull train struck a cow on the track. Push–pull operation has also been blamed for worsening a number of derailments by trains of the Metrolink commuter rail service in greater Los Angeles.[citation needed]

When operating push–pull, the train can be driven from either the locomotive or the alternative cab. If the train is heading in the direction in which the locomotive end of the train is facing, this is considered 'pulling'. If the train is heading in the opposite direction, this is considered 'pushing' and the motorman or engine driver is located in the alternative cab. This configuration means that the locomotive never needs to be uncoupled from the train and ensures fast turnaround times at a railway station terminus.
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