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Overhead rail track

Belongs to:
Overhead power transmission line
Description:

Overhead rail tracks are transmission lines for the electric power supply of rail vehicles. Pantographs located on the roof of the vehicles are in tactile contact to the overhead lines and forward the electric power to the control and drive unit. Overhead rail tracks in the traffic system of the national railway company in Germany (Deutsche Bahn) normally operate at an AC voltage of 15 kV whereas cable cars are fed with a DC voltage between 500 - 700 V. The alternating frequency depends on the country: While overhead rail tracks operate at 16,7 Hz in Germany, Austria or Switzerland, other countries, e.g. the US or Japan, use the power frequency, i.e. 50 Hz or 60 Hz, as operating frequency,

The measured values which are provided here refer to magnetic fields caused solely by the overhead tracks. Values for magnetic fields with a rail vehicle passing by can be found under railway, cable car, metro or maglev.

Available measurement data are not only acquired for the fundamental frequency, but for a measurement bandwidth of choice.

Frequency ranges:
  • 16.7 Hz
Type of field:
electric and magnetic

Measurements (acc. to literature)

Germany
Measurand Value Feature Remarks
electric field strength 47 V/m (maximum, measured) measured at 16,7 Hz at a distance of 3 m [1]
magnetic flux density 0.7–3.7 µT (maximum, measured) frequency not specified during acceleration and deceleration [1]
France
Measurand Value Feature Remarks
magnetic field strength 10 A/m (maximum, measured) frequency not specified at a distance of 9.144 m for a 1 x 25 kV overhead rail track system (TGV-A) [2]
magnetic flux density 6 µT (maximum, measured) frequency not specified at a distance of 9.144 m for a 2 x 25 kV overhead rail track system (TGV-A) [2]
magnetic flux density 12.5 µT (maximum, measured) measured at 50 Hz at a distance of 9.144 m for a 1 x 25 kV overhead rail track system (TGV-A) [2]
Switzerland
Measurand Value Feature Remarks
magnetic flux density 200 µT (measured) 16.7 Hz at the height of the calves [3]
USA
Measurand Value Feature Remarks
electric field strength 300 V/m (mean, measured) measured at 25 Hz 11 kV overhead rail track [4]
electric field strength 350 V/m (mean, measured) measured at 60 Hz 13 kV overhead rail track [4]
electric field strength 600 V/m (maximum, measured) measured at 25 Hz 11 kV overhead rail track [4]
electric field strength 700 V/m (maximum, measured) measured at 60 Hz 13 kV overhead rail track [4]
magnetic flux density 0.003–1.07 µT (measured) measured at 100 Hz at a passenger train station [5]
magnetic flux density 0.013–0.32 µT (measured) measured at 100 Hz at the tracks in a an industrial area [5]
magnetic flux density 0.015–0.53 µT (measured) measured at 60 Hz at a passenger station [5]
magnetic flux density 0.018–0.11 µT (measured) measured at 60 Hz at the tracks in a rural area [5]
magnetic flux density 0.018–0.24 µT (measured) measured at 100 Hz at the tracks in a rural area [5]
magnetic flux density 0.15–6.98 µT measured at 25 Hz measured at 22 measuring sights at an urban rail system with eleven tracks [5]
magnetic flux density 0.39 µT (measured) measured at 175 Hz measured at 22 measuring sights for a railroad maintenace worker [5]
magnetic flux density 0.4–18.5 µT (measured) measured at 25 Hz measured at 27 measuring sights at a rural rail system with three tracks [5]
magnetic flux density 0.5 µT (measured) measured at 75 Hz measured at 22 measuring sights for a railroad maintenance worker [5]
magnetic flux density 0.51–0.86 µT (measured) measured at 60 Hz at the tracks in an industrial area [5]
magnetic flux density 0.89 µT (measured) measured at125 Hz measured at 22 measuring points for a railroad maintenance worker [5]
magnetic flux density 0.91–3.43 µT (measured) measured at 25 Hz measured at 14 measuring sights at an urban rail system with four tracks [5]
magnetic flux density 1.15 µT (measured) measured at 25 Hz measured at 22 sights for a rail maintenance worker [5]
magnetic flux density 3.5 µT (mean, measured) measured at 60 Hz 13 kV overhead rail track [4]
magnetic flux density 12.6 µT (mean, measured) measured at 25 Hz 11 kV overhead rail track [4]
magnetic flux density 30 µT (maximum, measured) measured at 60 Hz 13 kV overhead rail track [4]
magnetic flux density 65 µT (maximum, measured) measured at 25 Hz 11 kV overhead rail track [4]
Austria
Measurand Value Feature Remarks
magnetic flux density 1.73 nT (mean, measured) frequency not specified of 129 measurement locations in 2009 [6]
magnetic flux density 2.06 nT (mean, measured) frequency not specified of 129 measurement locations in 2006 [6]

References

  1. Kanz KG et al. (2004): Susceptibility of automated external defibrillators to train overhead lines and metro third rails.
  2. Gourdon CG (1993): Efforts of French railroads to reduce traction of electromagnetic fields.
  3. Halgamuge MN et al. (2010): Measurement and analysis of electromagnetic fields from trams, trains and hybrid cars.
  4. Bennett WR (1994): Cancer and Power Lines.
  5. Wenzl TB (1997): Estimating magnetic field exposures of rail maintenance workers.
  6. Tomitsch J et al. (2012): Trends in residential exposure to electromagnetic fields from 2006 to 2009.