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Junior Senior Member
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Notice the black tubes in the center of the wheels. These are brushes which rub on the wheels and get power. This is then sent to the plug.

Even if the loco runs without the tender, this is to overcome a problem. If you have dirty track (which is inevitable), the more points you pick up power from the smoother the locomotive will run. The arrangement you have allows two more point of electrical pickup from the track.

Hope this helps.
 
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