One of the most crucial components of train equipment is the third rail system, which is necessary for electric traction power. Electric traction power for third rail systems refers to the electrical power supply used to power the motors of trains that run on a third rail system. The train's third rail shoe picks up the electrical power from the third rail as the train passes over it. However, not all third rails are the same, and you must know how each works when choosing the appropriate equipment.
How the Third Rail System Works
The third rail is a power supply system used in some urban rail transit systems, including subways and streetcars. It is typically a rail that carries a high voltage direct current (DC) electrical supply, which powers the train's motors and other systems. You can find the third rail in the middle of the track, and the train's wheels touch the rail while in motion. There are three types of third rails:
- Top contact
- The bottom contact
- Side contact
Each of these is an integral part of the third rail system.
The top contact current receiving method involves a rail placed on the top of the third rail, which receives power from the contact shoes of the train, which is the most common method used in third-rail systems. Contact shoes are a device used to help a train make contact with the rails or conductor rails of a track.
The bottom contact current receiving method involves a rail placed on the bottom of the third rail. The train's contact shoes then contact this rail to acquire power. This method is less common than the top contact method, but some train systems still use it.
Finally, the side contact current receiving method involves an additional rail placed alongside the third rail. The train's contact shoes then contact this rail to receive power. This method is also less common than the top contact method, but it offers some advantages regarding safety and reliability.
A third rail train relies on various forms of equipment to operate. Third-rail trains receive power from an electrified third rail. The train picks up this power through a pantograph, a device connected to the electrified third rail by a wire on the train's roof.
When the pantograph is in contact with the third rail, it acts as a conductor, allowing the train to draw electrical power from the rail. However, you may need various other equipment, and it's essential to contact a vendor specializing in selling third-rail equipment. For more information, contact a company like Mance & Associates Inc.