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

04/09/2017A series of incredible events

There are a couple of announcements I’d like to make in this editor’s comment, which I believe could be very beneficial to many of our readers.  Firstly, the deadline is fast approaching to enter the UK Rail Industry Awards (UKRIA), which will take place on 22 March 2018 at Battersea Evolution in London.  Now in its fifth year, UKRIA continues to bring together the leaders and decision-makers running the rail industry for the sector’s biggest and most... read more >

last word

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

This summer, Arriva Group's CrossCountry and the Scout Association joined to launch a new partnership to promote rail safety among young people. Chris Leech MBE, business community manager at the TOC, gives RTM an update on the innovative scheme. Recognising that young people are more likely to take a risk trespassing on railway tracks, C... more > more last word articles >

interviews

Pushing forward with East West Rail plans

21/09/2017Pushing forward with East West Rail plans

Andy Free, head of engineering assurance at East West Rail (EWR) Alliance, discusses the recent... more >

'the sleepers' daily blog

Deadline for UKRIA 2018 entries extended by two weeks

26/09/2017Deadline for UKRIA 2018 entries extended by two weeks

UKIRA, the rail industry’s biggest and most prestigious awards event hosted by RTM, has officially extended the deadline for entries by an extra two weeks. Due to unprecedented high levels of demand, the cut-off has been moved from today to 9 October, giving entrants all the extra time they need to sign off on applications and get a... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >

comment

Form and function realised through advanced materials

25/09/2017Form and function realised through advanced materials

Paul Gallen, sector manager at the National Composites Centre (NCC), outlines the benefits that composite materials bring to the production and o... more >
Secure stations

25/09/2017Secure stations

Gary Heward, director at MFD International and a security consultant and member of the Register of Security Engineers and Specialists, managed by... more >
Optimising traffic management

25/09/2017Optimising traffic management

Taku Fujiyama, from University College London (UCL), and Lei Chen, from the University of Birmingham, on the work and early findings of the Devel... more >
A remarkable project

25/09/2017A remarkable project

Businesses from across the UK of all types and sizes will help make HS2 an exemplary project, writes Will Roberts, communications director UK &am... more >