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Encyclopedia > Pantograph (rail)

A pantograph is a device that collects electric current from overhead lines for electric trains or trams. The term derives from the resemblance to pantograph devices for copying writing and drawings. It has been suggested that Overhead catenary be merged into this article or section. ... For other uses, see Train (disambiguation). ... TW2000 car in Hanover Volkswagen Cargo-Tram in Dresden on a section of grassed track. ... This page is about the duplication instrument. ...

The (asymmetrical) 'Z'-shaped pantograph of the electrical pickup on German light railway.
The (asymmetrical) 'Z'-shaped pantograph of the electrical pickup on German light railway.
Pantographs easily adapt to various heights of the overhead wires by partly folding. The tram line pictured here runs in Vienna.
Pantographs easily adapt to various heights of the overhead wires by partly folding. The tram line pictured here runs in Vienna.
Symmetrical, diamond shaped pantographs on trams in Prague.
Symmetrical, diamond shaped pantographs on trams in Prague.

The pantograph, according to the late rail historian Harre Demoro, was invented by the Key System shops for their commuter trains in the East Bay section of the San Francisco Bay Area in California. They appear in photographs of the first day of service in 1903. For many decades thereafter, the same diamond shape was used by electric rail systems around the world, and remains in use by some today. Image File history File links A Z shape pantogrpah From De Wikipedia http://de. ... Image File history File links A Z shape pantogrpah From De Wikipedia http://de. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1920x2560, 2380 KB)Photo by KF, Vienna, Austria, January 2006. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1920x2560, 2380 KB)Photo by KF, Vienna, Austria, January 2006. ... Vienna (German: Wien ; Bosnian, Croatian, and Serbian: Beč, Czech: Vídeň, Hungarian: Bécs, Romanian: Viena, Romani: Bech or Vidnya, Russian: Вена, Slovak: Viedeň, Slovenian: Dunaj) is the capital of Austria, and also one of the nine States of Austria. ... Download high resolution version (1006x830, 370 KB)Streetcar in Prague showing pantograph. ... Download high resolution version (1006x830, 370 KB)Streetcar in Prague showing pantograph. ... TW2000 car in Hanover Volkswagen Cargo-Tram in Dresden on a section of grassed track. ... Prague (Czech: Praha (IPA: ), see also other names) is the capital and largest city of the Czech Republic. ... The Key System (or Key Route) was a company that provided mass transit in the cities of Oakland, Berkeley, Emeryville, Piedmont, San Leandro, Richmond, Albany and El Cerrito in the eastern San Francisco Bay Area from the 1900s until 1960 when the system was sold to a newly formed public... East Bay Township, Michigan East Bay (California) is a subregion of the San Francisco Bay Area East Bay (Rhode Island) is a region of Rhode Island This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the same title. ... USGS Satellite photo of the San Francisco Bay Area. ... Official language(s) English Capital Sacramento Largest city Los Angeles Area  Ranked 3rd  - Total 158,302 sq mi (410,000 km²)  - Width 250 miles (400 km)  - Length 770 miles (1,240 km)  - % water 4. ...


However, the most common type today is the so called half-panto (sometimes 'Z'-shaped), with only one pair interlocking arms, which is simpler to construct but is not generally as robust.


The electric transmission system for modern electric rail systems consists of an upper load carrying wire (known as a catenary) from which is suspended a contact wire. The pantograph is spring loaded and pushes a contact shoe up against the contact wire to draw the electricity needed to run the train. The steel rails on the tracks act as the electrical return. It has been suggested that this article or section be merged into Overhead wires. ... Ground symbols The term ground or earth usually means a common return path in electrical circuits. ...


As the train moves, the contact shoe slides along the wire and can set up standing waves in the wires which break the contact and degrade current collection. This means that on some systems adjacent pantographs are not permitted. More recent systems use roller-type contact shoes which reduce this problem. Pantographs are the successor technology to trolley poles, which were widely used on early streetcar systems and still are used by trolleybuses, whose freedom of movement and need for a two-wire circuit makes pantographs impractical, and by some streetcar systems, although in most cases only heritage lines which use old-fashioned vehicles. A notable exception is Toronto, Canada. Until recently, Melbourne was the largest surviving exception. A standing wave, also known as a stationary wave, is a wave that remains in a constant position. ... Trolley poles are usually tapered cylindrical poles of wood or metal, used to transfer electricity from a live overhead wire to the control and propulsion equipment of a trolley car, tram or trolley bus. ... Trolleybus public transfer in Bratislava, Slovakia A trolleybus (also known as electric bus, trolley bus, trolley coach, trackless trolley, trackless tram or simply trolley) is a bus powered by two overhead electric wires, from which it draws electricity using two trolley poles. ... TW2000 car in Hanover Volkswagen Cargo-Tram in Dresden on a section of grassed track. ... A scene on a heritage railway. ...


Pantographs with overhead wires are now the dominant form of current collection for modern electric trains, because while they are more expensive and fragile than a third-rail system, they also allow for higher voltages. Third rail at the West Falls Church Metro stop in the Washington, D.C. area, electrified to 750 volts. ...

Contents


Single and double arm pantographs

Arrow IIIs use double-arm pantographs
Arrow IIIs use double-arm pantographs

Pantographs may have a single or double arm. Double arm pantographs can be considered heavier, requiring more power to raise and lower. The double arm may be more fault tolerant. For example "...NJT encountered a whole bunch of wire downings on Northeast Corridor Branch. (New York City - Trenton, NJ before they decided to replace the pantographs on Arrow-III trains with a more forgiving dual arm design, possibly in 1991...." Will D. Arrow-III trains are manufactured by Budd Corporation On ex-USSR railways, the most widely used pantographs are with a double arm, or "made of two rhombs" just recently, since the late 1990s there are some single-arm pantographs on Russian Railways. Some streetcars also use double arm pantographs, they are Russian KTM 5 KTM-8 LVS-86 (made in St Petersburg) many other Russian-made trams, some Euro-PCC trams in Belgium, and more. American streetcars use wither trolley poles, or single-arm pantographs. Image File history File linksMetadata Download high resolution version (1024x768, 243 KB) Summary Double Arm pantographs on Arrow III trains, used by New Jersey Transit . ... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high resolution version (1024x768, 243 KB) Summary Double Arm pantographs on Arrow III trains, used by New Jersey Transit . ... Flag Seal Nickname: The Big Apple, The Capital of the World[1], Gotham [2], Metropolis Location Location in the state of New York Government Counties (Boroughs) Bronx (The Bronx) New York (Manhattan) Queens (Queens) Kings (Brooklyn) Richmond (Staten Island) Mayor Michael Bloomberg (R) Geographical characteristics Area     City 1,214. ... Location in New Jersey Founded  -Incorporated c. ... A rear view of Santa Fes El Capitan and its Budd-built observation car as it approaches the Raton Tunnel (Colorado side) on June 26, 1938. ...


Metro systems and overhead lines

A tram pantograph from the side, showing the arms and contact shoe.
A tram pantograph from the side, showing the arms and contact shoe.

Most rapid transit systems are powered by a third rail, but some use pantographs, particularly ones that involve extensive above-ground running. (Hybrid metro-tram or 'pre-metro' lines whose routes include tracks on city streets or in other publicly-accessible area must of course use overhead wire, since a third rail would normally present too great a risk of electrocution.) The only current exception to this is the new Bordeaux tram system which uses a system called alimentation par sol which only applies power to segments of track that are completely covered by the tram. This system is used in the historic centre of Bordeaux where an overhead wire system would cause a visual intrusion. Image File history File linksMetadata Download high resolution version (2272x1704, 231 KB) Summary Pantograph (rail) view from above. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high resolution version (2272x1704, 231 KB) Summary Pantograph (rail) view from above. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Third rail at the West Falls Church Metro stop in the Washington, D.C. area, electrified to 750 volts. ... Bordeaux trams run without overhead wires. ...


References

The Key Route, Harre W. Demoro, (2 v.), Interurban Press (1985)


See also

Wikimedia Commons has media related to:
Pantograph

  Results from FactBites:
 
North American Light Rail Information and News Site (8935 words)
A rail or other structure laid parallel with the running rail of a track to prevent wheels from being derailed; to hold wheels in correct alignment to prevent flanges from striking the points of turnout or crossing frogs or the points of switches; or to keep derailed wheels adjacent to the running rails.
A Restraining Rail is an active rail and is designed to be in constant contact with the inside of the wheels.
A rail joint designed to arrest the flow of electric current from rail to rail by means of insulation, so placed as to separate the rail ends and other metal parts connecting them.
Pantograph (rail) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (601 words)
The pantograph, according to the late rail historian Harre Demoro, was invented by the Key System shops for their commuter trains in the East Bay section of the San Francisco Bay Area in California.
Pantographs are the successor technology to trolley poles, which were widely used on early streetcar systems and still are used by trolleybuses, whose freedom of movement and need for a two-wire circuit makes pantographs impractical, and by some streetcar systems, although in most cases only heritage lines which use old-fashioned vehicles.
Pantographs with overhead wires are now the dominant form of current collection for modern electric trains, because while they are more expensive and fragile than a third-rail system, they also allow for higher voltages.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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