Rail reliability will be improved by new type of pantograph
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A Somerset-based company received a £300k innovation grant from RSSB to develop a new type of pantograph.  The new cutting-edge equipment was unveiled at an industry event today 
(7 September 2016).

Pantographs, the mechanical arms attached to the roof of electric trains, are vital in ensuring continued power to the engine from the wires, called overhead line equipment (OLE).

Brecknell Willis has developed a closed loop pantograph, which measures contact with the OLE and automatically adjusts to ensure ‘optmised current collection’.  Sensors at the head of the pantograph constantly monitor the surrounding infrastructure and provide data that determines the maintenance requirements for rolling stock and OLE. Brecknell Willis collaborated with City University London to develop a prototype pantograph, and received additional funding from the Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council. Neil Webster, RSSB’s Innovation Director said: With increasing train speeds and a planned programme of route electrification, this timely innovation will help increase reliability for passengers and rolling stock and infrastructure providers. Lee Brun, Engineering and Development Manager, Brecknell Wills, added: This is an exciting opportunity to develop a key product and demonstrate our ability to work in a cross-industry team to produce innovative products that can benefit the industry.
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