The time is 1:30 in the morning. My house is along a small highway that carries moderate traffic at certain times of the day. It is graded slightly for about a tenth of a mile and has a bend in the road a few hundred feet past my home. Trucks constitute perhaps 10% of the traffic. As a truck picks up speed due to the grade and enters a straight-away, the driver may notice that curve in the road. Brakes are quickly applied. Diesel trucks have a special means of slowing down in addition to their ordinary braking system. It is called a Jake brake.
This name is now generic, but at one time referred to a compression release engine brake produced by the Jacobs Vehicle Systems corporation.
Jacobs Vehicle Systems – Jake Brake
Between the years 1955 and 1961, a safe braking system for diesel trucks was conceived, then produced. Being given, essentially, a break by the U.S. Patent office, the development of the Jake Brake, in which a diesel engine becomes its own brake, was able to proceed rapidly. Claims for the brake include better fuel economy, less brake maintenance, and improved economy due to the faster travel speeds the brake allows. Family connections sped up development. Today, we have the Jake Brake. Consider the following video that demonstrates how the Jake Brake functions.
Very informative! But is the Jake Break truly quiet? You tell me. First, watch the following YouTube video.
Perhaps since reading and viewing this article with its embedded videos, you will begin to wish the railroad train would make a comeback. I know I sometimes do, though not for entirely unselfish reasons. You see, my grandmother had a large block of stock in the railroads at the time they diminished in popularity.
If trains made a comeback, certainly there would be fewer accidents. Perhaps, there would also be less noise, less irritation. All of this, despite the modern technological advance we have come to know and love as the Jake Brake.
Note: You might also enjoy How Much Does a Fly Hitting a Train Slow It Down?