The Railroad Spiral

Image of a Transitional Spiral

Traveling in a straight line at a perpetual speed can be quite challenging and limiting to the travel of human beings. Realizing this was a problem Arthur N. Talbot, Professor of Municipal and Sanitary Engineering, University of Illinois Champaign Urbana developed an improved version of the  transitional spiral in 1899. The improved transition spiral was a theoretical mathematical equation, reimagined by Talbot to assist the passage of locomotives from a straight line to a circular curve to avoid sudden changes in acceleration.

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