An Investigation on the Current Collection Quality of Railway Pantograph-catenary Systems with Contact Wire Wear Degradations

Yang Song, Hongrui Wang, Zhigang Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
4 Downloads (Pure)


In railway pantograph-catenary systems, the contact surfaces undergo wear in long-term operations, directly affecting interaction performance and potentially deteriorating the current collection quality. The effect of contact wire wear (CWW) on the current collection quality should be evaluated to understand the system's health status in operations. This article presents a stochastic analysis of the pantograph-catenary interaction performance with different levels of CWW based on four years of measurement data. The power spectral density (PSD) estimation is carried out on the measured CWW to obtain their frequency representations. The random time histories of CWW are generated based on the PSDs. A nonlinear finite element model of catenary with a lumped-mass pantograph is built. Using the Monte Carlo method, the stochastic analysis of pantograph-catenary contact force is carried out to investigate the distribution and dispersion of assessment indices with different levels of CWW. The results indicate that the CWW mainly affects the maximum and minimum contact forces instead of the contact force standard deviation. The optimal pantograph-catenary interaction performance is observed certain years after CWW is formed, depending on the traffic density of the railway line, which is at the second year in the presented case study. Then, the performance declines with an increase in service time. Also, higher operating speed causes a more significant dispersion in assessment indices representing a lower current collection quality, particularly at the maximum operating speed (70% of the catenary wave propagation speed).

Original languageEnglish
Article number9003311
Number of pages11
JournalIEEE Transactions on Instrumentation and Measurement
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository ‘You share, we take care!’ – Taverne project Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.


  • Contact Force
  • Contact Wire Wear (CWW)
  • Current Collection Quality
  • Electrified Railway
  • Pantograph-catenary Interaction
  • Stochastic Analysis


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