vacuum brake

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vacuum brake (plural vacuum brakes)

  1. (rail transport) A brake used on trains, working on the principle of keeping up a vacuum in a continuous pipe or pipes extending under the train, and in brake-cylinders connected to them under each vehicle, the air being sucked out by ejectors or pumps on the locomotive.
    • 1963 January, “A second chance on brakes”, in Modern Railways, page 1:
      Consideration of recent pronouncements and predictions shows second thoughts to be practicable, in particular, on the technical decision for which the previous B.T.C. regime was most hotly criticised by experts - the adoption of the vacuum brake as standard for the modernised British Railways. [...] The original decision to retain the vacuum brake was justified largely on grounds of the intolerable operating convenience that would ensue from a changeover.