The drive wheels take the force from the pistons and place it on the rails to move the engine. On a steam engine the size of the wheels could usually tell you what kind of service it was in. Freight and mountain running called for fairly short wheels of 68 inches or less while fast passenger engines used wheels of about 80 inches with some as large as 84 inches, that is seven feet! These wheels used spokes however in the quest for high speed disk type wheels were also used. The wheels had to be counter balanced to off set the weight of the main and side rods or they would vibrate and damage the rails and track bed as well as shaking the engine apart.

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