Rail E-ssentials


Your regular update for technical and industry information

Your regular update for technical and industry information

TÜV SÜD contact force measurement system gains product approval from DB infrago

TÜV SÜD has successfully received product approval from DB InfraGO AG for its contact force measurement system.

rail-DB NetzDB InfraGO manages significant parts of the German railway infrastructure, which is the largest rail network in Europe. An average of 50,000 trains uses DB InfraGO’s infrastructure each day, which is a subsidiary of Deutsche Bahn AG, the second-largest transportation company in the world.

TÜV SÜD has been offering contact force measurement according to EN 50317 for some time, but approval from Germany’s largest rail infrastructure operator will further enhance its reputation within the global rail industry. Additionally, TÜV SÜD provides catenary uplift measurement according to EN 50317 for mobile systems or stationary installations.


Pantograph test challenges

Pantographs are some of the components that must be verified by accredited testing laboratories within the scope of rolling stock approval requirements. This includes all elements such as the limits of the catenary, in terms of the number of working pantographs, the maximum catenary uplift, and allowable forces, which must be in accordance with relevant standards. Also, the carbon strip, the element of the pantograph that makes contact with the catenary, is subject to wear from both mechanical and electrical factors.

Mechanical wear increases if the contact force (the force acting between the carbon strip and the catenary) is set too high. However, too little contact force can cause electric arcs, and thus electrical wear of the carbon strip. Contact force is further influenced by the aerodynamic and dynamic characteristics of the drive unit, the number and distance of the uplifted pantographs per vehicle, and the design of the overhead line. The coupling of several drive units to form a train also has certain impacts, alongside deviations caused by rolling stock being coupled in multiple configurations, or pantographs of different designs being used.


TÜV SÜD’s minimises the rail industry’s challenges

TÜV SÜD’s test engineers have developed a bespoke contact force measurement method to test critical variants, which is now approved by DB InfraGO. TÜV SÜD’s test centre offers a complete portfolio of rolling stock testing, including pantograph-catenary-interaction and infrastructure tests.

Companies building new rail catenary, that will be running on the German rail network, must test and obtain approval for their new infrastructure. They therefore face the challenge of homologation according to Technical Specification for Interoperability (TSI), alongside complying with specific national regulations for catenary systems.


Catenary testing and homologation

Contact force measurement is a requirement of TSI and TÜV SÜD’s contact force measurement system can support with the testing and homologation of both new catenary types and components in cycle. With accreditation according to EN 17025 which serves as the foundation of the business, TÜV SÜD offers testing services according to EN 50317 representing a specialised aspect focused on pantographs, alongside many other rail industry standards.

We have more than 50 years of experience supporting manufacturers, operators and railway authorities with a comprehensive portfolio of inspection, testing, certification and training services, working on global rail projects across Europe, Americas and Asia. TÜV SÜD offers a one-stop solution for all admission-related measurement methods relevant in EU Member States.

Learn more about our rail services here.


TÜV SÜD - a global player in safety railway services

TÜV SÜD - A global player in safety railway services

TÜV SÜD is your partner when it comes to inspection, testing, certification, and training services along all phases of a railway project

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