Brakes are used on the cars of railway trains to enable deceleration, control acceleration (downhill) or to keep them standing when parked. While the basic principle is familiar from road vehicle usage, operational features are more complex because of the need to control multiple linked carriages and to be effective on vehicles left without a prime mover. The brake shoe carries the Brake Block. The block was originally made of wood but is now usually cast iron. When the brake is applied, the shoe moves and presses the block against the tread of the wheel. As well as providing braking effort this also "scrubs" the wheel and keeps it clean. This scrubbing causes wear and tearon the wheel tread and often causes brake squeal. Tread brakes on passenger trains have now largely been superseded by disc brakes.
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