A digital computer simulation technique is used to study the effects of changing pantograph characteristics upon the quality of current collection from simple catenary overhead equipment at high speed. In particular, the likely benefits to be derived by the use of controlled pantographs are assessed. Pantograph performance is judged on the basis of contact force variation and displacement responses of pantograph and contact wire. These studies have shown that the dynamic displacements of the combined system are determined primarily by the overhead line parameters rather than by the pantograph. At higher speeds droppers in the vicinity of the pantograph slacken and this is seen to influence significantly the contact force profile. On a “constant height” overhead line, the proposed “frame compensated” and “panhead inertia compensated” pantographs do not show any marked improvement in the quality of current collection.

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