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

17/01/2017Rising to the digital demand

The countdown is well and truly on for this year’s UK Rail Industry Awards (UKRIA), and the whole RTM team is looking forward to welcoming you to the fourth edition of this event on 9 February.  Held once again at Battersea Evolution, the prestigious awards ceremony promises to be an extraordinary evening, celebrating some of the major achievements of the industry in the last year. You can see the awards shortlist on pages 27-29, and read more details at ukria.com. If... read more >

last word

Making rail fares simpler

Making rail fares simpler

David Sidebottom, passenger director at Transport Focus, explains how a number of initiatives over the next 12 months aim to make rail fares simpler. By the end of 2017, we hope passengers will see fairer and simpler fares.  Two recent initiatives should help achieve this.  One initiative was a response to our four-year cam... 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

Southern Rail passengers reminded to claim compensation

03/02/2017Southern Rail passengers reminded to claim compensation

Southern’s annual season ticket holders have been reminded that they are entitled to claim compensation due to the franchise’s poor performance over the 2016-17 financial year. Last year, the DfT promised that Southern season ticket holders would be able to claim the equivalent of a month’s worth of fares in compensation... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >

comment

The role of simulation in ERTMS training and system design

01/02/2017The role of simulation in ERTMS training and system design

Paul Boyle, head of ERTMS at Virgin Trains East Coast (VTEC), discusses the role of simulation in ERTMS training ahead of this year’s &lsqu... more >
Digital railway maintenance

01/02/2017Digital railway maintenance

Tim Flower, head of maintenance at Network Rail, explains how the infrastructure owner is adopting a new approach for condition monitoring to max... more >
Challenges and opportunities for big data in the Digital Railway

01/02/2017Challenges and opportunities for big data in the Digital Railway

Dr John Easton and Dr Shruti Kohli from the University of Birmingham write for RTM about the role big data can play in transforming the country&r... more >
A better railway depends on harnessing technology

27/01/2017A better railway depends on harnessing technology

Paul Plummer, chief executive of the Rail Delivery Group (RDG), argues that we must change the status quo and invest in technology if we are to c... more >