Rail Industry Focus

13.09.16

RSSB unveils trailblazing closed loop 'dynamic' pantograph

The cutting-edge pantograph developed by Somerset-based company Brecknell Willis, in conjunction with the RSSB, was unveiled at an industry event last week.

The closed loop pantograph, which benefitted from a £300,000 innovation grant from the RSSB, measures contact with the overhead line equipment (OLE) and automatically adjusts to ensure “optimised current collection”.

Sensors at the pantograph’s head constantly monitor the surrounding infrastructure to provide data that determines the maintenance requirements for rolling stock and the OLE.

The product, also fruit of collaboration with City University London, received additional funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

Neil Webster, RSSB’s innovation director, said: “With increasing train speeds and a planned programme of route electrification, this timely innovation will help increase reliability for passengers and rolling stock and infrastructure providers.”

Brecknell Willis’ engineering and development manager, Lee Brun, added that the project was an “exciting opportunity” that demonstrated the company’s ability to work in a cross-industry team “to produce innovative products that can benefit the industry”.

Brun was interviewed in this year’s February/March edition of RTM about the 24-month project, which had resulted in several prototypes and a first round of track testing in November 2015 at Long Marston.

During our interview, he said there are potentially lots of spin-offs from the work, but that “our holy grail is to provide a pantograph that reacts to the environment”.

“That means we can produce more reliable trains with better current collection,” Brun added. “That’s our overall objective, but there are some spin-offs, such as remote condition monitoring, where we’ve now got something that weighs not a lot, that can effectively be built into a pantograph such that the naked eye wouldn’t be able to tell much difference from a standard pantograph, and that can actually measure the forces at the interface between the overhead line and the pantograph.”

 

Have you got a story to tell? Would you like to become an RTM columnist? If so, click here.

Comments

Andrew Gwilt   22/09/2016 at 08:39

I like how Brecknell Willis has produced pantographs for heavy rail EMU (Electric Multiple Unit) & Bi-Mode rolling stock trains, Light Rail, Trams and Electric Locomotive trains across the world.

Carl   18/10/2016 at 12:49

I wonder if Brecknell Willis is planning a retrofit package for their existing pantograph designs?

Add your comment

 

rail technology magazine tv

more videos >

latest rail news

View all News

rail industry focus

View all News

editor's comment

08/03/2017A celebration of rail achievement

Welcome to this special UK Rail Industry Awards (UKRIA) review issue of RTM. The fourth edition of the prestigious awards took place on 9 February at London’s Battersea Evolution and, once again, was a huge success.  With over 1,100 rail decision-makers in attendance, the black-tie event was a great place for networking and celebrating the success of the rail industry in the last 12 months. To see who won at this year’s event, we have a special section that starts on... read more >

last word

Reasons to be cheerful

Reasons to be cheerful

Ahead of the major imminent reforms to the apprenticeship system, Simon Rennie, general manager of the National Training Academy for Rail, outlines the industry’s reasons to be positive about the future of skills. Those of a particular age will recall with a warm glow the prestige of the British Rail Apprenticeship scheme and how th... more > more last word articles >

interviews

Intertrain: ready for the future

23/02/2017Intertrain: ready for the future

RTM recently attended Intertrain’s ‘Driving for Success’ event in Doncaster, ... more >

'the sleepers' daily blog

Business as usual: Vivarail begins testing of new battery train

21/03/2017Business as usual: Vivarail begins testing of new battery train

If you were one of the many left saddened and disappointed when Vivarail’s test train caught fire over the festive period due to a fuel leak on one of the gensets, the company has some good news: its new test car, operated as a battery train, has completed its first successful run – sending a clear message to all non-believers that... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >

comment

The future connected rail system needs a connected community

21/03/2017The future connected rail system needs a connected community

The rail and tech sectors must collaborate to determine the optimal route to the digital railway, writes Julian McGougan, head of technology at t... more >
Suppliers offer boost to digital railway plans

21/03/2017Suppliers offer boost to digital railway plans

David Clarke, technical director at the Railway Industry Association (RIA), explains why the success of the supply chain will be the success of t... more >
Collecting safety culture data confidentially

21/03/2017Collecting safety culture data confidentially

Chris Langer, scheme intelligence manager at CIRAS, explains how confidential reporting can ‘deep dive’ into an organisation’s ... more >
Inclusive design of ticket sales counters

21/03/2017Inclusive design of ticket sales counters

Boaz Yariv, senior architect, and Dr Elizabeth de Mello, senior ergonomics specialist at Network Rail, discuss the complex ergonomic consideratio... more >