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Large electrical cross-section, installation without tensioning, high robustness, low wear: when it
comes to travelling speeds of up to 140 km/h, overhead conductor rails present todays alternative to
existing tunnel overhead contact lines. The decisive advantages of overhead conductor rails are their
large electrical cross-section and installation without tensioning. They are highly break-resistant
and their rate of contact wire wear is significantly better than that of overhead contact lines. These
properties and advantages pay off especially in heavily-used tunnels and vehicle maintenance halls.
Balfour Beatty Rail is active on the railway equipment
market as a system provider for overhead conductor
rails. Its portfolio exclusively comprises certified prod-
ucts combined with universally-recognised system
expertise. Balfour Beatty Rail provides the following
services for overhead conductor rails:
Preliminary examinations for
employment of the system
System calculation
System layout
Mounted without tensioning
As a relatively rigid structure, the overhead conductor
rail TracFeed

DSS consists of an extruded aluminium
profile up to 12 m long. The individual profile sections
are mounted by means of internally-located connecting
panels. The copper contact wire applied after the over-
head conductor rail has been mounted requires no
mechanical tensioning at all. Suitable contact wire
basically includes any grooved contact wire based on
EN 50149.
Technical data
Cross-sectional area: 2,220 mm
Equivalent copper cross-
sectional area:
1,400 mm
Profile height: 110 mm
Cut lengths: 1012 m
Profile dimensions: 6.1 kg/m
Maximum designated speed: 140 km/h
Support intervals: 812 m
Max. elongation length: 2 x 250 m
Electrical voltage: 750 V DC 25 kV AC
Constant current: 2,640 A*
*Depending on temperature range.
Certified, safe and
The overhead conductor rail of Balfour Beatty Rail,

DSS, has been certified for all railways
within the interoperable, cross-border network of the
European Union by Eisenbahn-CERT (EBC), Notified
Body for certifications under EU law. It is certified in
line with the Technical Specifications of Interoperability
(TSI) Energy. Certification in Germany was approved by
that countrys Federal Railway Authority (EBA) in 2005
for maintenance centres for a top speed of 25 km/h
(15 mph) and for tunnels for a top speed of 140 km/h
(87 mph). Balfour Beatty Rails overhead conductor rail
has also been certified by Switzerlands Federal Office
of Transport (BAV), as well as for Deutsche Bahn AG.
Overhead conductor rails by
Balfour Beatty Rail the alternative
to tunnel overhead contact lines
regular overhead line systems. Reducing the longitudinal
spans reduces the elasticity of the OCL. For that reason,
the last overhead-line mast in front of the tunnel is
located at a maximum distance of 15 m from the first
tunnel support of the overhead conductor rail. Balfour
Beatty Rail equips part of this last longitudinal span
in front of the overhead conductor rail with stiffened
contact wire, thereby balancing the elasticity of the
OCL with that of the overhead conductor rail.
In front of maintenance halls allowing speeds of no
more than 25 km/h, Balfour Beatty Rail can reduce the
transfer area to a few metres. In this case, an end
tensioning post in front of the hall is sufficient. That
way, no end tensioning power of the overhead contact
line is emitted into the hall itself. The solution of the
continuously stiffened transfer from the OCL to the
overhead conductor rail chosen by Balfour Beatty Rail
offers advantages in more ways than one:
- It allows for the simultaneous use of the transfer as a
section insulator. This makes it possible to electrically
insulate the conductor rail area from the OCL without
excess expenditure.
- The overhead conductor rail and the OCL are not
mechanically linked to each other and can be handled
separately. There is no system dependency.
- The proper adjustment of the contact wire required
at the point of transfer necessitates neither new
assembly techniques nor special know-how on the
part of the overhead-contact-line assemblers.
Simple, robust and powerful
Thanks to its tension-free, robust design and construc-
tion, the overhead conductor rail by Balfour Beatty Rail
doesnt need to adhere to the so-called overhead contact
line area otherwise required for overhead contact lines.
This area makes it mandatory that all metal components
of the overhead contact line system be connected to
their power return wire system. The longitudinal spans
of the Balfour Beatty Rail overhead conductor rail range
from 8 metres (26 ft) to 12 metres (39 ft) depending on
the intended operating speed. Heres the underlying
principle: the higher the speed, the shorter the longi-
tudinal span. The overhead conductor rail by Balfour
Beatty Rail can handle track radii of up to 120 m without
pre-bending the aluminium profiles and has a large
conductor rail cross-section. As a result, the railway
infrastructure operator can expect a high conduction
capacity. A line feeder is therefore obsolete.
Moreover, the simple, robust and compact design of
the Balfour Beatty Rail overhead conductor rail makes
it possible to remove and replace the contact wire
completely and cost-effectively in one work process.
The elastic transfer from chain
assemblies to conductor rails
Whether its a tunnel or a maintenance hall: with the
overhead contact line system (OCL) and the overhead
conductor rail, two systems with a very diverse elasticity
are going head to head. This calls for an elastic transfer
from the flexible OCL to the harder conductor rail. With
regard to its technical implementation, there are two
solutions: an overhead conductor rail designed to be
more elastic for the OCL, or an OCL continuously stiff-
ened for the elasticity of the overhead conductor rail.
Balfour Beatty Rail has decided in favour of the second
solution because of its many advantages. Here, the
incoming contact wire of the chain OCL runs parallel
to the overhead conductor rail and is tightly anchored
to the tunnel ceiling. In order to continuously increase
the stiffness of the contact wire, Balfour Beatty Rail
consistently carried on the measures familiar from
Tried and tested in projects
Balfour Beatty Rail has already installed overhead con-
ductor rails at a number of maintenance centres and
exterior-cleaning facilities in Germany. Examples include
facilities in the cities of Plochingen, Trier, Leipzig and
Dortmund-Sphenfelde. Some maintenance centres
require overhead conductor rails to swivel sideways.
Balfour Beatty Rail has a solution for this requirement
too, as exemplified at the Plochingen site, in Lichten-
berg (Berlin) and Skien (Norway): its called the
swivelling overhead conductor rail.
In 2008, Balfour Beatty Rail installed overhead con-
ductor rails in the Gemmenich Tunnel on the border to
Belgium, with more tunnel projects to follow. As part
of the electrification project Hamburg-Lbeck-Trave-
mnde, Balfour Beatty Rail was also commissioned with
equipping the adjacent track systems of the Lbeck ports
(Vorwerk pre-station and Scandinavia Quay) for electrical
operation. Use of an overhead conductor beam system
at the 202 points in the Scandinavia Quay rail-storage
sidings made it possible to dispense with a costly ter-
mination pylon and extensive earthing measures.
Fast and easy assembly
Balfour Beatty Rail has designed its overhead conductor
rail for fast and easy assembly. The tools required for
that purpose, such as contact wire retraction devices
with grease cylinder and pump, are also available from
Balfour Beatty Rail.
A rail with extension
Simple, reliable and robust: these design features of
overhead conductor rails by Balfour Beatty Rail stand out
especially in their mechanical design. Thats because
Balfour Beatty Rail divides the conductor rail into seg-
ments of a maximum of 500 m. About halfway down,
Balfour Beatty Rail applies a fixed point. The ends of
these sections are bent slightly upward and also overlap
with the next section for several metres. This enables
each section to extend freely on both sides of the fixed
point. It is this simple construction that makes the over-
head conductor rail extremely dependable and robust.
Extension compensation for
tie stations and switches
In principle, the design applied by Balfour Beatty Rail
for the extension compensation of the overhead con-
ductor rail is suitable for line sectioning, switches and
junctions. Since the extension compensation only meas-
ures a few metres, Balfour Beatty Rail also applies it for
line sectioning at points where a section insulator is
located in the overhead contact line.




Balfour Beatty Rail GmbH
Garmischer Str. 35
81373 Munich
Tel. +49 89 41999-0
Fax +49 89 41999-270
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