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Old 04-01-2006, 11:30 PM   #6
bnsf sammy
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Heres an artical from the February 2004 issue of Trains Magazine that addresses this question regarding lightning and trains. It was featured in the "Ask Trains" collum.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed Larsen of Trains Magazine. Feb. 2004
"...Railroad cars and locomotives typically aren't a good path for these charges to flow because they often are relatively low in profile compared with surrounding objects and do not offer a low-resistant path for the current to flow. To be struck by lighting, they would have to be located where the positve charge in the earth is located...of course, steel cars, locomotives, and rails are good conductors of electricity, but the rails are relatively well insulated from the ground by the crossties and ballest...It is impossible to predict how or to what extent a locomotive might be damaged by a lightning strike. The steel shell of the locomotive may act as what enginners call a Faraday cage, protecting internal electrical components from harm. In one case of a known strike, the engine crew just reset the controls and resumed their journey. In another case, the locomotive's main generator was damaged, rendering the unit inoperative. Fortunately in such a strike, crew members would suffer no harm unless they happened to be stepping off the locomotive at the precise moment the lightning hits. -Ed Larsen
Hope this helps.
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