Rigid Catenary System

Pandrol’s Rigid Catenary System is an overhead conductor rail that offers an alternative to conventional catenary.


Rigid Catenary System product overview

More than 2,000km are installed in rail networks around the world, particularly in tunnels, with a specific retractable version for application in depots.

  • The Rigid Catenary System consists of an extruded aluminium profile clamping the contact wire.
  • The profile is available in different lengths, which are connected electrically and mechanically with aluminium splices.
  • It can be used to replace the contact wire with sustentation wire or the suspended bimetallic T-rail. Key benefits include operational safety, low maintenance costs and extended product life.

Benefits of the Rigid Catenary System


Money saving

The Rigid Catenary System’s small dimensions make it extremely adaptable for use on smaller tunnels’ gauges and reducing construction costs.


Increased current-carrying capability

The copper equivalent section of approximately 1,415 mm2 (without the contact wire) provides a large cross-section delivering increased current-carrying capability. It means that the distance between substations can be increased and less overheating of the system.


Low maintenance

The Rigid Catenary System involves at least ten times fewer components than conventional catenary. As a result, it is much quicker to install, easier to maintain and there is less stock management needed.


Increased longevity

There is no mechanical tension on the contact wire, increasing product life and saving money on replacement.


Reduced risks

The contact wire doesn’t break off when it is completely worn, reducing interruptions to service and electrical risks.

Technical features of Rigid Catenary System


Aluminium alloy profile

The Rigid Catenary System’s aluminium alloy profile is manufactured by extrusion and heat treated. It is available in different lengths and two heights (80mm and 110mm).


Copper contact wire

The copper contact wire provides a large cross-section for the current, allowing operative OCS voltages from 750 to 25,000 V, without any feeding supply. The contact wire is inserted using a special tool (a ‘contact wire trolley’).


Joint plate

A self-centring aluminium joint plate is designed to deliver perfect alignment between the profiles.


PVC covers

These covers protect the aluminium profile from dust
and humidity.



The aluminium profile is suspended by insulated supports with hanger clamps. Earth and electrical connections are clamped directly onto the bar.



The gauge of the Rigid Catenary System is smaller than conventional catenary. As a result, it is adaptable to smaller tunnel sections.



The Rigid Catenary System is STI certified and meets European Standards (ENs).

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