We are all used to seeing trains running on rails, right? Well, this long old tradition has changed since amusement parks decided that trains can run without any tracks. In fact, trackless trains have become more popular and you might be shocked to know that your ten year old kid hasn seen a train that runs on tracks. Absurd as that may sound, that is what regular visits to the amusement park have taught your kids.
In this article we shall venture into the mind of a ten year old kid to discover their amazing world of trackless trains. First things first though; what is the official definition of a trackless train? Am fully aware that one can deduce what it is from its name. However, what goes through your mind when you hear of terms like road train, parking lot tram, choo-choo train, Dotto train, tram, or land train?
The above are the names, or rather street names that are used to refer to articulated vehicles that are used to transport passengers, tourists, or amusement park visitors. The vehicles comprise a number of carriages that are connected by drawbar couplings. The carriages are arranged in such a manner that makes them resemble your regular road-going railway train.
The term trackless is used in order to distinguish these rubber-tired road warriors with their predecessors that relied on rails. The main components of a trackless train are the tractor unit and the articulated trailers that are coupled together to form a long chain of carriers. There are basically two ways of powering trackless trains; the first one is an internal combustion engine while the other one is through the use of electric motors.
As such, we have two types of trackless trains namely diesel powered trackless trains and electric powered trackless trains. The train carriages can accommodate six to forty passengers at a time. The carriages can also be roofed or not, depending on the train model bought. Other features include open and closed sides plus a great deal of interior or to increase comfort.
The decision to have the carriages open or closed at the top will mainly be influenced by the weather. If the weather is wanting, fiberglass corrugated panels are installed in order to provide a shade as well as to divert rain. Where the use of fiberglass seems too costly cloth awnings can be used for the overhead covers.
Apart from the design, I bet you are also wondering if there is any difference in the manner in which trackless trains are operated. Well, there really isn that much of a difference between the typical train that you grew up knowing and the trackless versions that are very common in amusement parks; that is when we are talking about its mode of operation.
As one would expect, the tractor unit is steered by a steering wheel operated by a human. This mode of propulsion applies for both the two types of trackless trains. Attached carriages are steered through drawbar couplings. Single and double axles are common in smaller trains while larger trains utilize mechanical linkages to achieve four-wheel steering.
In conclusion, it`s pretty much clear that trackless trains are the way forward since their use isn`t limited to train tracks. Next time you visit an amusement park be certain to take in the amusement of trackless trains!