Railway catenary systems

Train and catenary system. Photograph by NTNU/Petter Nåvik.

The railway catenary system is a wire system that supplies electrical power to trains on electrical railway lines. The catenary system is mounted in sections along the railway line. In Norway these sections are up to 1,600 m long. The sections are very different in their properties, i.e., type of catenary system, vertical geometry, horizontal geometry, and tension forces in the contact and messenger wire. New catenary sections are designed for higher speeds and dynamic behaviour, but a majority of the existing catenary sections were designed for lower speeds and a more quasi-static behaviour. Continually increasing train speeds leads to increased loads and greater dynamic responses, necessitating that both static and dynamic regulations are fulfilled.

The main objective of this research activity is to use full-scale measurements, laboratory experiments and finite element models to assess and explore the dynamic behaviour of new and existing railway catenary systems. Our main partner in this project is the Norwegian National Rail Administration.


There is currently one Postdoc and one PhD candidate working with railway catenary systems: