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Engineering Professional Development

Fundamentals of Traction Power Systems and Overhead Contact Systems See upcoming dates

Course Overview

Upon completion of this course, you will understand:

  • Applicable design and equipment standards, guide documents and other valuable technical reference materials, and where to locate them.
  • The fundamentals of traction power substation, distribution system and overhead contact system design, construction and operation
  • Traction power load flow simulation methods, input requirements and available software for AC and DC traction power systems
  • Traction power wayside energy storage systems, substation grounding and substation automation/control

Who Should Attend?

This course introduces many of the fundamentals of rail traction power and overhead contact systems. If you work in this area or need to understand the concepts related to electrically-powered rail systems, this is the course for you. Although this is a "fundamentals" course, it will be most beneficial to attendees who have at least a limited knowledge of the topics of electrical traction power.

Course Outline

Introduction to Electrified Transportation Systems

  • Modes (Passenger, commuter, heavy & light rail, tram/trolley)
  • Traction power system types (alternating & direct current, OCS, contact rail)
  • Traction power system components
  • Traction electrification system design resources

Overhead Contact System Design

  • Project approach
  • Design criteria
  • Current collectors
  • System selection
  • Protection and control

Overhead Contact Systems Construction

  • Foundations
  • Support structures
  • Overhead contact system supports
  • Messenger and contact wires
  • In-span materials


  • Foundations
  • Ductbanks
  • Building

Overhead Contact System Operation

  • Dynamics
  • Various systems
  • Sectioning
  • High speed rail

Overhead Contact System Maintenance

  • Inspection items
  • Periods

Substation Maintenance

  • Inspection Items
  • Periods

Overhead Contact System Other Topics

  • Maintenance building
  • Substation
  • Current collectors
  • Running rail
  • Signal system
  • Planning and what gets built
  • Project savings

DC Traction Power Substation Design

  • Introduction
  • Substation types and configurations
  • Rectifier transformers
  • Rectifiers/converters
  • AC and DC switchgear
  • Protection and control
  • Utility interface

Load Flow Simulation

  • Methods
  • Vehicle modeling
  • Corridor modeling
  • Conductor modeling
  • Rectifier modeling
  • Rail Potential Modeling

DC Traction Power System Grounding

  • Equipment and system grounding
  • Rail potential
  • Negative grounding devices
  • Stray current

AC Traction Power System Design

  • System types
  • Substation types
  • Sectionalizing
  • Utility interconnection requirements
  • Switchgear
  • Protection and control
  • System and equipment grounding

DC Traction Power Distribution System Design

  • Wire and cable current-carrying capacity
  • Traction power cable systems
  • Contact rail systems
  • Raceway systems

Selected Topics in Traction Power System Design

  • Substation Automation
  • Wayside Energy Storage

Upcoming dates (0)

Take this course when it’s offered next!