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Semi-active damper for railway pantographs

DampersRailway pantographsSemi-active dampersTrainUptake


The invention allows for variation in the damping characteristics of railway pantographs in accordance with the operating parameters (type of line on which the train operates, train speed, direction of travel…etc.) of the vehicle on which the pantograph is installed through the use of a semi-active damper.

Technical features

The operation of railway networks through the use of electric traction systems based on the dynamic interaction between the overhead power line and one or more pantographs installed on train engines or carriages is common. The quality of the pick-up and therefore the maximum speed the vehicle can reach is strongly influenced by the dynamic pantograph-catenary interaction, which can be optimised by acting on the damping coefficient according to the different operating conditions.. The semi-active damper creates a by-pass between two chambers regulated by a control valve. The operating condition parameters are transmitted by the vehicle carriage or by wired signals to an electronic control unit which, on the basis of this, processes the control signal and adjusts the semi-active damper, in order to obtain the optimum damping effect for the specific operating conditions.

Possible Applications

  • Railway networks (where the capture of electrical power is achieved through the mechanical interaction between the overhead line and the pantograph installed on the train engines or carriages);
  • Railway networks (where two or more trains are coupled to form a single train set).


  • Improvement of uptake quality;
  • Improvement of performance and extension of the train’s operating range, especially under double uptake;
  • The possibility to optimize the pantograph’s damping parameters in relation to the line on which it is located favours interoperability and adaptation to the different types of overhead lines on the national rail network.