Conductor Rail for tunnels, high reliability and for special applications
Practical Experience since 1984, for line speeds up to 302km/h
Fault-free experience has been achieved since 1984. Over one hundred tunnels and 80 depots and bridges have been installed with Conductor Rail system throughout the world totalling to over 1900km of tracks. In November 2014, the Speed of 300kmph was achieved on the conductor rail system in Sittenberg-Tunnel in Austria.
Conductor Rail was initially developed to solve space constraints and allow electrification of smaller tunnels originally built for steam or diesel traction. The system‘s major advantage is its low overall height, plus the fact that there is no contact wire uplift even if operated with multiple pantographs. The use of conductor rail has now evolved to solve various electrification problems. The latest application of conductor rail systems include; moveable conductor rails for bascule and swing bridges, moveable conductors for electrification of train depots and container terminals etc. Overhead conductor rail is not a new product; it is as old as electrical railway transportation and was used in the first fully electrified railway in Baltimore, although in a different form.
A contact wire of conventional cross section is clamped into the conductor rail profile (called CR). The CR is manufactured in partial lengths which are connected with interlocking joints.
The CR is suspended from hinged or gliding supports provided with insulators. To compensate temperature variations, longer CR sections are divided by expansion joints. The sections between two expansion joints are stabilised by means of a midpoint anchor. The point of transition from the conventional overhead line to the conductor rail is equipped with a transition bar, contact wire anchoring bar and an endpoint anchor. CR‘s being part of different feeding sections are separated by section insulators. Turnouts are equipped with end sections that are curved upwards at one end and are routed parallel with the continuous CR. Parallel routed CR’s can also be used as an alternative arrangement for expansion joints and section insulators, however this is not advised for higher speed applications, because of increased lateral movements of the pantograph which will influence the contact quality.
In the morning of November 17 2014, at 0300hr, a German measuring train ICE reached the Speed of 300kmph on the conductor rail system in Sittenberg-Tunnel in Austria!