A Comparative Study between Two Pantographs in Multiple Pantograph High-Speed Operations

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The pantograph-catenary system represents one of the major barriers to rolling stock interoperability. Traditionally, each country has developed its own overhead equipment, which is reflected in different catenary and pantograph designs. Hence, a unified approval method, able to consider the diversity of existing solutions, is a key subject that must be addressed to provide a competitive railway system. Furthermore, the limitation on the top velocity of high-speed trains is associated with the ability to provide, through the pantograph-catenary interface, the proper amount of energy required to run the train-set motors. If loss of contact exists, not only is the energy supply interrupted, but also arching between the collector bow of the pantograph and the contact wire of the catenary occurs, leading to the deterioration of the functional conditions of the two systems. All these situations require that the dynamics of the pantograph-catenary are properly modelled and that the software used for analysis and design, or to support maintenance and homologation decisions, is not only accurate and efficient but also allows for modelling all details relevant to the train overhead energy collector operation. In this work, a multibody dynamics approach and a finite element method are implemented in a validated computational tool to handle the pantograph and the catenary dynamics, respectively. The performance of two different pantographs, when running on the same catenary, is studied. Multiple pantograph operation scenarios, with different distances between them, are also analysed here. The purpose is to understand the consequences on the contact force characteristics and on the catenary uplift. The results are assessed according to the European standards and provide indications on how the pantograph parameters can be modified, in a design environment, or tuned, in high-speed train operations, to improve the performance of the overhead contact system.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-108
Number of pages26
JournalInternational Journal of Railway Technology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


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