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Why Do Trains Run On Tracks?

An Amtrak passenger train pulls into a station on a rainy evening.
An Amtrak passenger train pulls into a station on a rainy evening.

How do trains work? We're traveling to Union Station in Washington, DC and answering all of your questions with Amtrak's Patrick Kidd.

Download our learning guides: PDF | Google Slide | Transcript


We're leaving our studio in Vermont to hop on the Amtrak Acela train that runs multiple trips per day between Washington, DC, New York City, and Boston. But don't worry; we got off before the train departed!

Questions we're answering in this episode: How do trains work? What about electric trains? Steam trains? Bullet trains? Why do they have to go on tracks? How can trains go so fast even though they're so heavy? And why don’t trains have seat belts?

If you and your family are interested in trains, check to see if there's a local train museum near where you live. And many trains operate short trips for families to see the sights from the seat of a cozy train.

Melody is the Contributing Editor for But Why: A Podcast For Curious Kids and the co-author of two But Why books with Jane Lindholm.
Jane Lindholm is the host, executive producer and creator of But Why: A Podcast For Curious Kids. In addition to her work on our international kids show, she produces special projects for Vermont Public. Until March 2021, she was host and editor of the award-winning Vermont Public program Vermont Edition.
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