How Much Does a Train Wheel Weigh? (Answered!)

Have you ever lifted a car wheel? If yes, how heavy do you think that is? Of course, it’s not so heavy, but you would definitely feel its weight, especially when you’re lifting it for the first time. Now imagine how much a train wheel would weigh.

A car wheel weighs as much as 30 pounds and is very light compared to the size and weight of a train wheel. I know you might have been finding means to know how much a train wheel weighs, and that is precisely why you’re reading this. In this article, I will show you how much a train wheel weighs and other things you should know.

How much does a train wheel weigh? An individual train wheel weighs about 850 pounds; this excludes the weight of the axle. However, a set of wheels in an axle can weigh about  2,500 pounds. 

The wheels of trains are usually designed in a set known as axles. The axles ensure that all wheels in its set move at the same speed and do not slip at any time on the tracks. I have provided the weight of each wheel as well as that of the wheelset above.

How much does a train wheel weigh in kilograms?

The weight of an object or substance can either be measured in pounds or kilograms. It just depends on which concept you understand better. I have already shown you how much a train wheel weighs in pounds. Let’s see how much it weighs in kilograms.

To find how much a train wheel weighs in kilograms, we have to convert its value from pounds using a simple conversion formula. Basically, 1 kilogram equals 2.2 pounds. If we are to convert a value from kilograms to pounds, we just have to multiply the value by 2.2 pounds.

However, since it involves converting pounds to kilograms, we have to divide the value by 2.2 pounds. As I mentioned earlier, an individual train wheel weighs as much as 850 pounds; therefore its value in kilograms will be (850÷2.2) approximately 386.

Judging by that, an individual train wheel will weigh approximately 850 pounds or 386 kilograms. Now let’s find out how much a set of train wheels with an axle weigh in kilograms. As I mentioned, a set of train wheels with its connecting axle weighs about 2,500 pounds.

Therefore, a set of train wheels with its connecting axle will weigh (2,500÷2.2) approximately 1,140 kilograms. However, the value can be less than this and, in some cases, far greater than this; it all depends on a number of factors.

How much does a steam locomotive wheel weigh?

Before the introduction of modern trains, steam locomotives were used. However, there were several problems associated with these trains, from the slow speed to noise to discomfort when traveling; there was just so much to complain about.

You might wonder why the steel locomotives were so slow at the time; well, the reason isn’t far-fetched. The wheels of the train were so heavy that they struggled to accelerate. Thanks to technology, we don’t have to spend days traveling long distances anymore.

The wheel of a typical steam locomotive weighs about 1.2 million pounds; this should show you how much technology has improved with the lightweight wheels used on rails today. The front set of the drive wheels was designed to move freely around sharp curves while other cars followed.

How long do train wheels last?

Unlike cars and other locomotives, the wheels of trains can travel plenty of miles before they need to get replaced. You can use the wheels for a couple of years before thinking of changing them. That’s also one of the reasons it is better than the wheels of the steam locomotives.

For the steam locomotives, the wheels did a lot of job and needed to be replaced after traveling a few miles. Same thing with cars, whereby most people change their wheels after 50 thousand miles or so. Train wheels can cover multiples of such distances.

Before you think of changing a train wheel, it should have traveled as far as 700 thousand miles. Moreover, this applies to Metro rail wheels that are even used more regularly than others. Judging by this, the wheels could last for as long as five years before replacements.

What steel are train wheels made of?

By now, I believe you should be aware that the wheels of trains are made of steel; hence it’s heavyweight. Steel is a hard metal containing iron, carbon, manganese, sulfur, chromium, and many other metals. It is an alloy built to withstand several conditions, hence its use in train wheels.

However, not just anyhow kind of steel is used in train wheels. There are several categories of steel, and the one used for train wheels today is the AISI 1060 or 1070. These categories are also known as steel grades and called Class B or Class C, respectively.

Why do train wheels not slip?

You might wonder, train wheels keep moving on tracks and do not slip off; what keeps them on track? Well, it would be possible for the wheels to slip or skid off the track if they moved at different speeds. A difference in speed of each wheel will cause a counter effect on the other, resulting in a skid.

However, the wheels on each side of a train car are connected with a metal rod known as an “axle.” The purpose of the axle is to ensure every wheel on that side of the train car move at the same speed and acceleration. Although, axles are not used for trains plying curved or bent tracks.

Final Words

We can conclude that the weight of a train wheel plays a significant role in its speed. If the wheels are too heavy, the train will surely find it challenging to move and accelerate. However, most of the trains used today have lighter wheels, hence their incredible speed and acceleration.

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