Pantograph-catenary interaction in curved railway tracks

J. Ambrosio, P. Antunes, J. Pombo, A. Facchinetti

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


An approach for the dynamic analysis of pantograph-catenary interaction in curved tracks or in any generalized track trajectory is presented here. Both the catenary model and the trajectory path of the pantograph are consistent with the general geometry, which is defined as parametric curve with an associated local reference frame that defines the orientation of the track running surface. The track geometry is obtained using the standard information required for railway vehicle dynamics applications, i.e., curvature, cross level and vertical profile as function of the track arc-length. The finite element method is used to model and evaluate the dynamic behavior of a catenary system. To cope with the general geometry of the track and the path of its base, the pantograph model is developed using a spatial multibody dynamics formulation. The pantograph base motion, which is fixed to the railway vehicle roof, is defined by a prescribed kinematic motion constraint. As both pantograph and catenary use different formulations, their interaction is established through a co-simulation procedure where a penalty method is used to evaluate the contact force between the pantograph and the catenary. To demonstrate the proposed procedure, a detailed analysis of a pantograph-catenary interaction problem is presented here for a catenary model inserted in a track with a geometry including different curve radii.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdvances in Engineering Materials, Structures and Systems
Subtitle of host publicationInnovations, Mechanics and Applications - Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on Structural Engineering, Mechanics and Computation, 2019
EditorsAlphose Zingoni
PublisherCRC Press
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9780429426506
ISBN (Print)9781138386969
Publication statusPublished - 22 Aug 2019
Event7th International Conference on Structural Engineering, Mechanics and Computation - Cape Town, South Africa
Duration: 2 Sep 20194 Sep 2019
Conference number: 7


Conference7th International Conference on Structural Engineering, Mechanics and Computation
Abbreviated titleSEMC 2019
Country/TerritorySouth Africa
CityCape Town
Internet address


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