Physics Van 3-site Navigational Menu

Physics Van Navigational Menu

Q & A: Trains in Switzerland

Learn more physics!

Most recent answer: 10/22/2007
Q:
Hi! I was recently traveling on a train in Europe, and I noticed that only on one side of the train did the windows open. I asked the person next to me whom I had already been talking with why this was the case, and he seemed kind of disturbed that I was thinking about that instead of the French countryside. I’m guessing that it may have something to do with drag or the cross-wind... or them being two cheap to put windows that open on both sides. Anyway, I figured that if anyone could figure this out, it would be you guys! :0) Have a great summer!
- Ann (age 20)
Zurich, Swizerland
A:
Hi Ann. Iím not exactly sure of why they do it this way, but you could be right that it has to do with eliminating cross-drafts. By keeping all of the windows on one side of the train closed, there is no easy way for air to blow straight through the train, keeping the passengers from loosing their carry-on luggage. Also, I suspect that you would see this a lot more often in extremely fast trains than in slower ones, since the air speed relative to the train would be a lot bigger, creating stronger drafts.

-Tamara

(published on 10/22/2007)

Follow-up on this answer.