Catenary simulator (pantograph-catenary interaction)

January 11, 2016 in

MSc Project by Evert van Veldhuizen


- ongoing


hardware-in-the-loop, modal analysis, pantograph, pantograph-catenary interaction, test rig,


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A malfunctioning catenary systems leads to long and costly delays in the Dutch railway system. To improve the system a thorough understanding of its dynamic behaviour is crucial. A hardware-in-the-loop test device (or catenary simulator) is being developed which offers a versatile, cheap and easy to use tool to better analyse pantograph-catenary performance.

The catenary system is simulated in a software environment and the pantograph is physically present. A wheel rotates according to the forward speed of the train and can be moved in vertically direction to represent vibrations in the catenary system. The force between pantograph and wheel is measured and by a real-time algorithm the catenary’s response is calculated and sent to the vertical motor.

The catenary simulator will allow for research on the prevention of catenary system malfunctions, such as catenary wire breaks, the development of extraordinary types of pantographs, the improvement and approval of current pantographs and the effects of increased speed trains. The established algorithm was especially created to allow for modelling of hard-points and optimizing the catenary design.