The Train Factory Activities

WANTED: Train Engineers and Train Wreck Investigators
LOCATION: The Train Factory
QUALIFICATIONS: Must be willing to have fun and learn about locomotive engines.
ASSIGNMENTS: Assembly Shop, Research and Development, Test Run, and Accident Investigation

ASSEMBLY SHOP: Enter the assembly shop as a passenger, exit the assembly shop an engineer as we call on you to put a steam engine together. Explore the various parts of a steam locomotive and discover how they work together. Set against the massive, 350-Ton Baldwin 60000, you will understand the many devices that are necessary to keep these enormous trains rolling.
Steam Pressure Pushes
It's time for you to steam things up! We need you to get the hotplate burning and get the water spraying onto the hotplate. Why? Because this is how steam is created. As the water heats up it is turned into steam which expands into a chamber above the hotplate and pushes the piston up - just like a working steam engine.
Pushing Wheels Around
Pistons make the wheels go round. Now it is your turn to play the role of the steam that pushes the pistons that makes the wheels on the train move. As the steam pushes the pistons, they move back and forth, moving the attached connecting rod which is also attached to the wheels, thereby causing the wheels to circle round and round. Makes you kind of dizzy, doesn't it?
Valve Device
Keep that steam in control! To do so, we need the help of valves. Slide the valve handle back and forth allowing the steam to move into one side of the cylinder, then the other. By controlling the flow of the steam, you control the direction the piston moves. If the valve didn't control the flow of the steam, the piston would only move forward once before it got stuck, which would make for a mighty short train ride.
Boiler Race
You've got to keep the fire burning, but don't let it get too hot, or BOOM! We need you to send coal from the tender to the fire box to get it heated up and cause the water to boil and steam. But remember, don't crank too hard or the fire box will get too hot, releasing too much steam, and causing the boiler to explode. This is a tricky one though, because if you don't crank hard enough, the fire won't be hot enough, you won't generate enough steam, and you'll never get your train going. Use the gauges to help you master the boiler race.
Now it's time to create some sparks! This is where you learn all about combustion engines, kind of like the engine in a car. First, you will have to release the fuel into a cylinder, then create the spark that lights the fuel which causes an explosion that pushes the piston. And you know what happens when the pistons start pushing - time to go!
Keeping on Track
You know that all wheels are round, but did you know that some wheels roll better than others? Assemble your own wheel set using different types of axles and wheels, then roll them down the sloping tracks and test which wheels work the best. This is the same testing performed by the early train engineers to see which wheels would work best on the tracks. Now, you'll have to discover for yourself which wheel works best.

RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT: Okay, you are now an expert engineer on the innermost workings of earlier trains like the Baldwin 60000, but now it is time to bring you up to speed on the trains of today and even tomorrow. If you're ready, enter the modern factories and laboratories of the present and the future.
Magnets Spin and Repel
You'll want to hang around this device like a magnet hangs around metal. Spin the many magnets around and experiment with how they interact with one another. Magnets have poles, one on each side. One of the poles attracts and one of the poles repels. If the attraction pole on one magnet joins the repelling pole of another magnet, BAM, a connection is made. What does this have to do with trains, you ask? Well, magnets can make a train float in the air if there are magnets in the track and magnets on the bottom of the train, making it easier to move a train because there is less friction, and then you'll really be flying.
Electro Magnet
Did you know there are types of magnets you can turn on and off? It's true, they're called Electro Magnets, coils of wire that have electricity running through them. Turn the Electro Magnet on to attract the iron wheels, turn the Electro Magnet off and the wheel is no longer attracted.
Electro Magnet Tester
Make a magnet sandwich. Electro Magnets could be the key device in creating the trains of the future. When used in conjunction with other magnets, one magnet above the Electro Magnet and one below it, you can use the electricity to repel the permanent magnet above it and attract the permanent magnet below it. Electro Magnets are used with magnetic levitating, or maglev, trains, causing the train to float and move forward - YEEHAH.
Now that you and maglev trains have been introduced, it's time to become much better acquainted. It's time for you to control your own maglev train car and make it float across the tracks. Turn on your Electro Magnets, one at a time, and pull the train car along the tracks. With working maglev trains, a computer controls the power to the individual Electro Magnets, smoothly guiding the train along the tracks.
Electric Train
It's ELECTRIFYING. Become the power generator for the power plant. Turn the crank to send power to the power plant. The power plant then sends energy through the power supply line to the electric train. The electric locomotive uses this energy to turn its electric motor which turns the wheels of the train. The energy then completes the circuit by traveling back to the grounding line to the power plant.
Design Your Own Futuristic Train
Become a stylish designer and a brilliant engineer at the same time. Use the computer to create your very own train of the future, you control how big it is, how fast it is, what it looks like, and more. When you are through creating your masterpiece, make a print out of it and bring it home with you.

TEST RUN: SOUND THE WHISTLES. FIRE UP THE PISTONS. ALL ABOARD. This is the big one - it's time to test the new, experimental engine that you built in the massive, 350-TON, Baldwin 60000. The Baldwin 60000 is ready to ride again, and we need you at the controls. The steam is building and rising from the top of the train, the fire box is heating up and starting to glow, listen as the brakes are slowly released, the whistles are blowing, throw the throttle and see if your engine will let the IRON HORSE RIDE AGAIN! Will the test run be a success, to find out, you better get your caboose to ours.

ACCIDENT INVESTIGATION: This just in... our train, the Meteor, has just collided into a wall... investigators needed at the scene of the train wreck immediately to investigate the reason for the crash... hurry, time is of the essence...
Step into the train factory and help us prevent further accidents like the one that happened to the Meteor. We have all the devices you need to get the job done. Experiment with the Brake Tester to see if the brakes failed, examine the Boiler Plate to see if the engine blew causing the train to crash, check the Gauges to see if they were functioning properly, or was it the Relief Valve that was guilty of causing the wreck.
Your office has been fully supplied with several Answering Machines, Phones, and Intercoms so you can communicate with your team of investigators. Plus, members of your team have already brought back the Evidence Boxes so you can get to work immediately.