Intere UK rail firm Network Rail has signed a contract with engineering firm Atkins to develop new overhead electrification (OHL) design rules to reduce the cost of future electrification projects.
Atkins, an SNC-Lavalin company, will use digital image correlation (DIC) technology to analyze the relationship between the pantographs used with the overhead catenary line and train speeds and contact wire rise. DIC is a measurement technique in which photographs are taken quickly and are used to track and record the movement of a deforming solid such as a moving overhead cable.
Measurements and data collection will be performed by the Atkins DIC team, which specializes in non-contact measurements in a live rail environment and can measure structural deviations to an accuracy of 0.05 mm. Atkins will then develop rules to allow smaller elevations to be used in future schemes.
The new rules aim to allow a significant reduction in the required cable upgrade and will be used by NR in future electrification projects to reduce or potentially eliminate the need for expensive infrastructure changes such as bridge reconstruction and part drop-out.