Railway track transmission line parameters from finite
element field modelling: Series impedance
R.J.HiII, S.Brillante and P.J.Leonard
Abstract: An electromagnetic field model for identification of rail track equivalent multiconductor
transmission line distributed self and mutual series impedances is formulated, and used to illustrate
the parametric behaviour of single track impedance with reference to current, frequency, track
material properties and ground conductivity. Verification is demonstrated by theoretical analysis and
comparison with published experimental data. The skin effect in both rails and earth is a critical
phenomenon.
List of symbols
conductor radius
magnetic potential vector
magnetic flux density
distance between parallel conductors
distance between conductor and image of
another
energy per unit length
frequency
height of conductor above ground surface
magnetic field intensity
instantaneous current, RMS current
complex operator, ./<I)
current density
inductance per unit length
normal direction
(= d h or d),
parameter for calculation
of Carson correction terms
equivalent radius
resistance per unit length
time
instantaneous potential, RMS potential
power per unit length
parameter for calculating external self
impedance (= a y ) or mutual impedance (=
4
Z
Z =R
axial direction
+ jcoL = impedance per unit length
0IEE, 1999
IEE Proceedings o n h e no. 19990649
DOL 10.1049/ipq~a:19990649
Paper first received 26th June and in revised form 21st October 1998
R,J,Hilland p,J.Leonard are with the Deparhnent ofadd
and Electronic
Engineering, Univmity of Bath, Claverton Down, Bath BA2 7AY, UK
S.Bnllante is with the Dipartimento di Ingegneria Elettrica, Universita degli
Stud di Genova, Via all Opera Pia, 11a, I6145 Genova, Italy
IEE ProcElectr. Power Appl., Vol. 146, No. 6, November 1999
AR
AX
P
P
0
=
=
=
=
=
=
=
=
=
co
Subscripts
=
cm
=
dc
=
dm
d
=
=
ext
i, j (1  n) =
=
int
k, m
=
loop
=
m
=
slun depth variable = 4216
skin depth = d(2Iwpa)
Carson equation resistance correction term
Carson equation reactance correction term
permeability
resistivity
conductivity
angle between lines i  i and i j
angular frequency
commonmode
DC value
differential mode
dissipated
external
conductor indices (ii = self, i j = mutual)
internal
conductor identification
loop value
mutual
outer surface
self, stored
total
free space
T
0
Introduction
Electromagnetic field modelling solved by finite elements
(FE) represents a rational, generic technique that can identify the eauivalent distributed multiconductor transmission
link (MTL) series self and mutual impedances of rail track
[l]. The aims of the track impedance model are to:
(i) Evaluate nonlinearity with frequency and current
(ii) Determine parametric dependence with respect to
known rail, sleeper, ballast and ground electrical material
properties [2].
The paper addresses the basic question of establishing
accurate track impedance data suitable for the design and
641
audit of traction systems, specifically for electrification
system design [351, track signalling adjustment [6] and
electromagnetic compatibility/interference (EMC/EMI)
studies [7, 81.
Fundamental work in the area has been published by
Carson [9] and Pollaczek [lo], who devised theories for the
impedance of conductors on or above the surface of the
earth. Their formulae accounted for the effect of induced
ground currents, giving acceptable results for rail track
impedance. Trueblood [ 1I] modelled and measured track
self impedance with particular reference to the internal
component. The focus of recent work is on EM1 from
power electronic traction equipment, which requires accurate knowledge of track impedance [12]. Previous work by
the authors includes treatment of both rail internal [13] and
MTL impedance [14].
Most published work involving track impedance has
used simplified analytical models [6, 15, 161 describing some
applications for track signalling and traction power systems. The contribution of this work is the development of a
new method for the identification of the self and mutual
impedances using electromagnetic field computation implemented by FE, which give analysts the advantages of:
(i) Improved understanding of relevant physical processes
by calculation of field variables
(ii) Flexibility by dispensing with simplifying assumptions
(iii) Ease of parametric analyses with material properties
(iv) Identification of frequency dependency
(v) Versatility in allowing establishment of a comprehensive
data bank of reference parameters.
The paper reviews the physics of track impedance based
on a consideration of the skin effect in rails and earth. A
description of the FE model solution is given with respect
to accuracy, boundary, element size and aspect ratio, excitation mode and verification. The modelling focuses on singletrack running rails, whose massive bulk magnetic
conductors have irregular geometry, ohmic ground connection and nonhear magnetic material. Results presented
include an assessment of nonlinearity from current in internal rail impedance due to magnetic saturation, parametric
evaluation of the impedance variation from current, frequency and ground conductivity, and impedance arising
from practical measurements of ground conductivity
expressed as horizontal stratification.
2
Track distributed transmission line series
impedance
MTL series impedance arises from longitudinal current
flow. It is defined as the complex ratio between the vectors
of line voltage to line current and takes the form of a
matrix, with diagonal terms representing self components
and offdiagonal terms representing mutual components
[l]. The matrix elements have positive real and imaginary
parts, corresponding to series resistance and inductance.
The electrical material properties of the rails, track conductors, substructure and ground affect the value of track
impedance. Changes in the material properties due to current, frequency or environment cause corresponding variations in track impedance, such as current dependency of
ferromagnetism in the running rails with associated saturation and hysteresis, and moisture and frequency sensitivity
of ground conductivity.
2.1 Self impedance
The distributed MTL unitlength self impedance, referenced with respect to remote earth, is the sum of internal
648
impedance with external current return and external impedance of a circuit formed by the conductor and earth:
z 22. ,  2..
2Zi"t
+ Zii&
(1)
2.1.I Internal impedance: Internal impedance arises
from magnetic fields within the conductor and is readily
calculated for regular geometries. At low frequencies, uniform current distribution implies that the impedance of
irregularly shaped conductors (including rails) may be calculated assuming an equivalent circular cross section, the
geometric mean radius (GMR).
At high frequencies, internal impedance is influenced by
production of eddy currents inside the rail. The numerical
values of rail permeability and conductivity produce significant eddy currents at about 1@12Hz [13, 171, above which
the internal inductance reduces slightly and the resistance
increases substantially.
The nonlinear rail iron BH relationship affects internal
impedance through saturation and hysteresis. Saturation,
important at low frequencies and high currents, reduces
inductance, increases resistance and introduces current
dependency. Hysteresis loss can be sigmfkant at high frequencies or large AC signal amplitudes [13].
2.1.2 External impedance: External impedance arises
from the presence of flux outside the rail surface. It is influenced by eddy currents withm the ground, its numerical
value lying between two limits corresponding to completely
insulating and perfectly conducting earth. The ground eddy
currents can spread far from the track for low earth conductivity and frequency, raising the external self resistance
and inductance. The ground slun depth can be very large in
traction systems: typically several hundred metres at power
frequencies.
A physical interpretation of external impedance may be
achieved using the concept of image conductors. Each h e
has its own current return path located below the surface at
a depth that is a functi.on of conductor height and ground
material properties (it is equal to the conductor height for
perfectly conducting, and infinity for insulating earth).
Analytical calculations of external. self impedance are
straightforward for homogeneous ground :and simplified
system geometry [9, lo]. The self resistance represents additional power dissipation in the earth from ground eddy
currents and increases with frequency and ground conductivity. The self inductance represents energy stored in the
magnetic field in the air and ground and decreases with frequency and ground conductivity. The calculation methodology using Carson's equations is given in the Appendix
(Section 10).
2.2 Mutual impedance
The mutual impedance between parallel conductors is that
between two independent circuits comprising the conductors with their individual groundreturn paths. Since there
is no internal component of mutual impedance, the mutual
resistance is zero at DC. For circular conductors and
homogeneous ground, mutual resistance and inductance
exhlbit l o g a r i t h c variation with frequency.
2.3 Impedance measurement and modelling
Independent measurements of track self and mutual impedance are dflicult to make since remote earth is not available as a reference electrical terminal [18]. Loop parameters
are, however, readily measurable. Since ground effects from
the external self and mutual resistances very nearly cancel
at power and audio frequencies, the internal resistance is
IEE Proc.Electr. Power Appl., Vol. 146, No. 6, November I999
dominant, with the proportion of internal to loop resistance reducing to 98% at lokHz [19]. The loop inductance
contains a si&icant internal contribution at all frequencies of interest in traction, the internaVloop inductance
ratio being 39% at lOHz and 8.6% at lOkHz [19].
Internal impedance measurements as functions of current
and frequency have been reported in [13, 171. Accurate
measurements are possible only if the magnetic effect of the
return current is neutralised by appropriate placing of the
return conductor for the test current. This was not achieved
in [17], the results of whlch are claimed accurate to 9% for
resistance and 18% for inductance.
An analytical external impedance model considering the
system geometry is also given in [17]. Although it appears
to be of some use for estimation of traction fault currents,
and can be considered fairly accurate for the case of equal
rail current, it does not consider the earthreturn effect
inherent in the MTL model. For unbalanced conditions, an
approximate method is described whch apportions the
loop impedances between rails, ignoring the contribution of
internal impedance.
and
1
E,,, = 2 ( L I I+ L 2 2 + 2L12) I 2
(7)
For DM, Il = I2 = I,with
wdcm= (R11 + R 2 2  2 R 1 2 ) I 2
(8)
and
1
Es,, = 2 (L11 + L22  2Ll2) I 2
(9)
For running rail symmetry, R I ,= R22and L,, = L22,so the
track resistances and inductances become
and
Track impedance from electromagnetic field
energy
The model holds for balanced conditions but may be read
3.1 Track transmission line current excitation
In a twodimensional MTL, transverse electric and magnetic @EM) conditions apply. Modelling a unitlength vertical slice of tracklground and evaluating the magnetic field
energy w i t h the slice will enable the unitlength impedances to be identified.
common mode
mutual
impedance
rail 1
line
currents
rail 2
ily extended to unbalanced conditions [16]. To calculate the
six unknowns in an unbalanced twowire system, two additional tests are required, such as short and opencircuit
excitation of one rail. To obtain the impedance of a threewire system, each pair of lines must be considered in turn.
212
299
self
impedances
'2
differential mode
////////////////////////////////////:
remote ground
d/I /
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
P Z
Fig.2
Fig. 1 Twoconductor t r m i s s w n line
Consider the twowire MTL of Fig. 1. From [l], the line
voltage equations are
R2l
R22
(2)
The total system energy per unit length is
ET =
J vlildt + J
~2i2dt
(3)
giving general expressions for the dissipated power and
stored energy as
wd
Ed
t
=  = R11I,"
+ 2R121112 + R22I;
(4)
and
1
Es  2L11I:
LlzllIz
1
+ L221,2
2
(5)
Each rail may be excited by common mode (CM) or differential mode @M) using current sources (Fig. 2). For CM,
z1 = z* = z, so
wdc,
= (Rii
+ A 2 2 + 2 R 1 2 ) l2
IEE Proc Electr Power A p p l , Vol 146, No 6, November 1999
(6)
Common and dflerentntial made rail traek ament excitation
3.2 Finite element modelling for impedance
The FE solution returns the axial magnetic potential vector
at each element node for the minimum energy condition.
The potential throughout the complete problem space is
then found by interpolation, followed by integration for the
system stored energy and dissipated power. The impedances are found using eqns. 1&13. The user procedure is
summarised in the Appendix (Section 11).
3.2. I Finite element model: Numerical modelling
requires a tradeoff between complexity, computational
speed and runtime storage. In FE work, this involves selection of model size, number and size of elements, boundary
conditions, integration time and convergence criteria.
User experience and trial and error methodology are
required to optimise an FE model. Fig. 3 shows an example of a FE mesh for single catenaryelectrified track.
Although both triangular and quadrilateral mesh elements
are used, even geometrically simple models can require very
large element numbers. Areas of large field gradient require
smaller elements, so in an eddy current model very small
elements are found near points of sharp curvature on the
rail boundary (Figs. 4 and 5). Two critical features of a
wellconditioned model are:
649
Fig.3
Twod&wwnul fmite element meshfor cuterqyekctrfzd track optiniredfor ediy current solution
Fig.4 Finite element mesh at rail
(i) A minimal difference in area between the largest and
smallest elements, impacting on the overall model size
(ii) Near unity limitation of element aspect ratio: difficult
for vertically and laterally large models.
650
The smallest and largest element areas in the model were
40 x lW9m2and 32 x 108m2,respectively. The optimised
halfmodel had 24k elements and the worstconditioned
element had sides with an aspect ratio of 40.
IEE Proc.Electr. Power Appl., Vol. 146, No. 6, November 1999
Fig.5 Finite element mesh ut railsleeper interface
3.2,2Model boundary: The position of the model
boundary is determined by the distribution of ground eddy
currents excited by rail conduction currents. The longitudinal ground current is the vector sum of both conductive
and eddy currents, so with CM excitation, where the return
current is forced through the ground, the magnitude of the
conductive current is much greater than that of the eddy
current.
'01
layer near the ground surface. The ground skin depth is the
distance at which the phase of the eddy current density is
d 4 . From Fig. 7, this varies from 10m at 0.2S/m ground
conductivity to 180m at 2 x l@"S/m.
"I
depth, rn
Fig.7 P h e o f g r d current densty m f i c t w n ofdepth from fmiie ele
ment model with ground conciuctivitympmumeter
frequency = 1kHz
4000
6000
8000
10000
depth, prn
Fig.6 Mu iiude o f g r d current density ar f i t w n of depthfrom fmite
elemrnt rnodef%th g r d eonhctivity mpurmneter
frequency = 1 !&z
2000
Fig. 6 shows the variation in eddy current magnitude
near the ground surface. The conductivity and depth of the
sleeper and ballast were 9.3 x l P S / m and 0.2m, and 9.5 x
1@S/m and 0.65m, respectively. At low ground conductivities, the sleeper acts as a conducting layer, absorbing most
of the eddy currents. The decrease in eddy current magnitude commences at a lower current than with high ground
conductivity, where sleeper and ballast form an insulating
IEE ProcElectr. Power Appl.. Vol. 146, No. 6, November 1999
The FE model must be suficiently large to enclose virtually all the ground eddy currents. For homogeneous
ground the skin depth is a function of frequency and
ground conductivity
6 , / whoa
Z
(14)
In the general case of nonuniform ground conductivity,
the FE model size may be verified using two checks:
(i) CA4 ground return current: Ths is the sum of return and
eddy current components, and noting that the former is
much larger than the latter in CM, the ground current
should be equal in magnitude and opposite in phase to the
65 1
excitation rail current. If the model is too small, the ground
current magmtude wdl be less than that of the rail current,
with the difference forced to flow in the boundary. The
optimum model size may thus be found by successive
reduction and testing for current flow along a conducting
boundary.
(U) Ground current density: From Figs. 6 and 7, the ground
current density reduces exponentially with depth to zero
before reaching the boundary. If the model is too small, the
current will be artificially forced to zero at the boundary,
with excess current flowing along the boundary.
Table 1: Finite element model boundary test results
Ground
Frequency
10Hz
100Hz
IkHz
10kHz
100kHz
2rnSlrn
239111
120m
54.lrn
26.9rn
13.5rn
POmS/rn
118m
55rn
27.1111
14.0rn
6.48177
200rnSlrn
55.7177
27m
12.3rn
6.8117
3.49177
ballast U = 10pS/m; sleeper U = 1rnS/rn
Table 2: Ground skin depth from analytical formula
Groundhallast
conductivi~
Frequency
10Hz
100Hz
IkHz
10kHz
100kHz
2OrnSlrn
1130rn
356rn
113rn
35.6m
11.3rn
2OOrnSlrn
356m
113111
35.m
11.3rn
3.56rn
Table 1 shows the results of FE tests accordmg to the
second method, and Table 2 shows the theoretical ground
skin depth using eqn. 18. Good agreement between the
methods is restricted to very high ground conductivity and
frequency because of the realistic representation of the
Fig.8
3.2.3 Solution time and convergence: The incorporation of magnetic nonlinearity into the FE model is at the
expense of degraded computational time and convergence.
Tests with models between 15k80k elements showed that
with 21 k, the computation time required was 570s using a
128 Mbyte HP Apollo Series 715 workstation.
3.2.4 Electromagnetic field results: Figs. 8 and 9
give sample magnetic potential vector plots for CM and
DM excitation on the running rails of a single track, using
realistic values of frequency, ballast and ground conductivity.
4
Impedance of a single rail track
4. I Effect of AC current and rail permeability
The internal rail impedance is obtained from post processing by summing the stored and dissipated energies withm
the rail. For linear conditions, the internal impedance is
proportional to the permeability. Generally, a nonlinear
rail iron model is more appropriate [13].
Figs. 1013 show self impedance as a function of frequency with largesignal AC current as a parameter.
VectorpotenturlfEkiplotsfor common mode track current excitation
common mode excitation = +10A, frequency = I&,
652
sleepers and ballast in the FE model [2]. The optimum
boundary is chosen from the most conservative result
between Tables 1 and 2. The limiting case is at very low
frequencies and ground conductivities since the spread of
field energy extends to very large distances; here the model
boundary was limited to 1OOkm.
Exploitation of symmetry reduces model size: for example, singletrack models have centreline symmetry. The
boundary conditions are, for the centreline, normal flux
constant ( W a n = 0) for CM excitation (Neumann condition), and vector potential A = 0 for DM (Dirichlet condition). For the far boundary, A = 0 in both cases.
contour range = 4.389 to 25.6pTm,interval = 1.37wTm
IEE ProcElectr. Power Appl.. Vol. 146. No. 6, November 1999
Fig.9
Vectorpotent& fEkiplots for dflerentral mode track current excitatwn
wmmon mode excltation = +lOA, frequency = IkHz,contour range = 7 28 to +7 ZSpTm, mterval0 767~Tm
2
10
10
10
10
5
10
10
10
10
10
10
frequency, Hz
frequency, Hz
Fig. 10 Track self resktme as jimtion of jeqwncy with AC CMTent as
parameter
Fig. 12 Track mutual resistanceasjimtwn offieqwncy with AC current as
parmter
0
1
Fig. 11
pmter
lOOOA
10
10
10
10
frequency, Hz
Track self imkctance as jimctwn of jequency with AC current as
IEE ProcElectr. Power Appl., Vol. 146, No. 6. November 1999
10
10
10
10
10
frequency, Hz
Fig. 13
pameter
Track mutual kbctance asjimctwnofjequency with AC current as
653
At low frequencies the internal impedance forms a significant proportion of the self impedance. Mutual impedance
is, as expected, independent of current.
Figs. 14 and 15 show rail internal impedance from FE
using a BH curve that models saturation to a high accuracy [2]. At low currents, the impedance is insensitive to
current magnitude. A large variation occurs corresponding
to the onset of saturation, followed by little change with
very high currents.
2
lo
self resistance
2OOmS/m
2, 0.02
3
?!._
G
2!a i101
E
2, 0.02
mutual resistance
l
5
0
10
l o2
10I
10
10
10
5
" " " ~ ' 4
'
'
""""
3
' ~ " " " ' 2
'
""""1
'
'
10
frequency, Hz
Fig. 14 Rail intern1 resistance as function of freqwncy with AC current
magnitude as parmter for linear and nonlinear iron models
2.0 E
E
1.5
ai
C
2.5
'G
._
1'5L
1.5
1.0
2.0
linear
\\
1.o
0.5
015
1o1
'
'
"""'
'
. """'
10
'
3
4
0.5
0
10
10
'
"""'
'
'
2
10
""":I'
10
'
"""0
10
ground conductivity, Slm
2
10
10
10
Fig. 17
Truck riuluctunce w' fiction of g o d corhctiviry with bulbi/
sleeper conductivityas parcaneter
frequency, Hz
Fig.15 Rail internal inductance as function ofJ?equenq with AC current
4.3 Effect of ground conductivity
4.2 Effect of ballast and sleeper conductivity
In practice, the skin depth will normally be much greater
than the ballast thickness and the track impedances will be
determined by the ground conductivity and frequency. The
nature of the ground conductivity profile will thus also
affect the impedance.
magnitude as purumeterfor lineur and nonlinear iron models
The sleepers and ballast form a thin, weakly conducting
area on the ground immediately below the rails. Considering the ballast and sleeper as a single layer, the ratio of ballast to ground conductivity affects the distribution of
ground eddy currents. Consider the ground s h depth for
constant conductivity in eqn. 14. Current flows near the
ground surface for low skin depth, which will occur when
the frequencyconductivity product is hgh. Two extreme
cases are:
(i) Low frequency and ground conductivity, giving lower
resistance and hgher inductance irrespective of the ballast
conductivity. A high ballast conductivity wdl tend to concentrate eddy currents, leading to an increase of resistance
and a reduction of inductance
(ii) High frequency and ground conductivity, giving high
resistance and low inductance: in this case, a low ballast/
ground conductivity ratio will produce an insulating layer,
whereas a hgh ratio will produce a conducting layer effect.
654
4.3.1 Homogeneous ground: At constant frequency,
the resistances increase and the inductances decrease with
an increase in ground conductivity. Concentration of eddy
currents near the ground surface at low skin depths produces greater dissipated energy and lower stored energy.
This is confiied in Figs. 1821, where for generality the
range of ground conductivity has been chosen either side of
those of the sleeper and ballast.
4.3.2 Multilayer ground: Practical methods for measuring ground conductivity are well established, with a
multilayer interpretation considered sufficiently realistic for
many purposes. The FE results shown in Figs. 2225 were
obtained using a set of threelayer conductivity data from
[2], with nominal constant sleeper and ballast conductivities.
IEE Proc.Electr. Power Appl.. Vol. 146, No. 6, Novemher 1999
IO2>
10'
1o3
I o4
1o5
frequency, Hz
Track self resistance usfunction offreguency with ground corhctiv
Fig. 18
. .
01
1o2
ity os p u r m t e r
1o1
1o3
1o2
1 o5
1o4
frequency, Hz
Fig.21 Truck mutual inhcimce asfiction offvewncy with gound condctivity as parconeter
3.5
1OkHz
........................................................
rr'
0'
1o3
I o4
1o5
frequency, Hz
Truck seEf'u?ductmceusjimtion offrequencv with ground conduc
IO'
Fig.19
tivity os parameter
IO2
1o2
10
20
30
50
40
60
location
Fi 22 Effect of practical threelayer ground cordctivity profie on track
sefresutmce
3.0
1.0
0.5
2
10
IO1
Fig.20
01
1o2
1o3
1o4
1o5
frequency, Hz
Track mutual resirtwice as function ofjeqwncy with g r d con
duciivityusparmneter
4.4 Loop and commonmode impedance
Values of track loop impedance are required to design and
make adjustments to trackconnected apparatus. For a rail
pair equidistant from the ground surface, the self and
mutual effects nearly cancel, leaving the loop impedance as
z100p 211 212  2212 M 2(211  212)
(15)
With simphfications, an analytical approximation for the
railrail loop impedance is available [4]:
10
20
50
30
40
location
Fi .23 Effect of pructicd threelayer ground co&tivity
se&lui~ctance
60
profile on truck
where the first two terms represent the internal impedance,
and the third term represents the earthreturn impedance.
Eqn. 16 does not model noncylindrical rails, inhomogeneous ground, or rail iron nonlinearity. Figs. 26 and 27 show
the FEderived track loop impedance for two frequencies,
as given by eqn. 15 with self and mutual impedances evaluated from the FE model for the conditions of Figs. 22 and
25. The loop impedance is not strongly dependent on the
local ground conductivity.
The CM impedance is of interest in modelling the rail
return impedance for the traction current:
%
,
= 211 2 1 2 2212 = 2(211 212)
(17)
Figs. 26 and 27 also include the CM impedance for two
IEE Proc.Elecfr. Powes Appl., Vol. 146,No. 6,November I999
655
frequencies derived by FE modelling using the same
ground conductivity data. There is considerable variation
with ground conductivity.
IO2
common mode, 50Hz
0
".r+++
I +
1 OkHz
...........................................
10
E 5
++++ ++++++++*'
++
/ g
"
common mode, 1OkHz
+ +
+ + + + + + +
++++
+ + +
+++++++
10
+++
++
++
+++
+
+
++
+ ++
20
40
30
50
60
location
Fig.27
o
d
e inductance with practical threelayer
Track loop and c o m n m
condicctivityprofde
i
40
60
ground
102
10
20
30
location
50
Fig.24 Effect of practical threelayer ground conductivityprofile on track
mutual resktance
Table 3: Comparison between finite element and Carson's
equationsfor selected results
Deviation, %
Frequency,
2.0 r
1

kHz
1.2
+ +
; 1.0 
+L
Self
resistance
Mutual
resistance
Self
inductance
Mutual
inductance
2.1
1.6
3.0
0.1
3.2
3.0
4.8
0.6
10
'4.1
4.4
5.8
1.5
30
4.8
5.5
6.0
0.8
44
.c
3
0.8
Ground conductivity: 2 x IW3S/m
0.6 
IOkHz
0.4
10
o.2
00
~
30
20
40
50
60
location
Fig.25 Effeci of practical threelayer g r d condicciivityprojle on track
mutual inrlicctme
!+
common mode, 1OkHz
++++++++*+++*++++
10
:+
.
++
+++
++
loop, lOkHz
*+++++++++++++*+tCCCCCt++++++++++++++++++++++++IU+fCC
:o o o o o , ~ o o o o , o O o o o a o O o o O o o o O o o o D a w o o o o O o m O
U)
10
5.2 Simple analytical formulae
Approximating the rail as an equivalent circular conductor
gives the DC resistance as
+++++++++++++++++++ +++++++++++
+ +
Carson's formulae overestimate both resistance and
inductance compared with the FE model. The differences
may be explained by the irregular cross section of rail, and
the neglect of magnetic hysteresis and nonlinearity of the
rail iron.
which is numerically 0 . 0 3 Q h with the iron conductivity
and lowfrequency rail radius used. This value is consistent
with the DC self resistance lunit in Fig. 10.
The DC value of FEderived rail internal inductance is
p w w o M o w w m o o M o o o M o w w o ~ M o ~
loop, 50HZ
2
Since the curves in Fig. 15 are for nonlinear permeability,
they cannot be directly compared with eqn. 19. However,
the 'linear' curve in Fig. 15, obtained with a relative permeability of 30, is in good agreement with the analytical
model prediction for a DC internal inductance of 1.5mW
km.
5
Verification
5. I CarsonPollaczek equations
Analytical modelling of the external and mutual impedances using Carson's equations is straightforward for singlelayer ground. Table 3 shows the deviation between FE
and Carson calculated results with the assumption of magnetically linear rail iron. The maximum deviation is in the
region of 6%.
656
In [20], values are quoted for rail loop inductance in the
range of 2mWkm at DC to 1.3mWkm at high audio frequencies, assuming a mean rail radius of 0.06m. Using an
effective relative permeability of 18, the internal inductance
becomes 0.9mWm (1.8mWm for a tworail loop), whichis
consistent with the results of Fig. 27. The DC h t value
of loop inductance is 3.lmWkm, which agrees with the
internal inductance for currents between 200 and 500A
shown in Fig. 15.
IEE Proc.Electr. Power Appl.. Vol. 146,No. 6, November 1999
Table 4 Comparison of finite element model with measured internal
impedance: power and audio frequenciesat 10A
Internal resistance, P/krn
Frequency
FE with
classic BH
FE with
R H curve C
50Hz
0.052
0.090
10kHz
0.850
1.583
Internal inductance (mH/km)
Measured
[I21
FE with
classic E H
FE with
BH curve C
Measured
[I21
0.082
0.233
0.534
0.409
2.020
0.027
0.048
0.049
Table 5: Comparison of finite element model with measured internal
impedance: high current at 50Hz
Internal resistance, P/km
Current
FE with
classic BH
FE with
BH curve B
Internal inductance, mH/km
Measured
[I21
FE with
BH curve B
Measured
1121
400A
0.095
0.151
0.214
1.276
1.418
0.573
700A
0.169
0.199
0.280
1.859
1.763
0.649
5.3 Internal impedance
Laboratory measurements and analytical models of internal impedance, takmg into account saturation and hysteresis, may be used to verify FE models, a key objective being
to determine the appropriate form of the rail iron S H
curve to be used in FE to achieve a target overall accuracy.
Tables 4 and 5 consider the two practical cases of low
current with variable frequency and high current at power
frequency. In both cases the classic BH curve obtained
by measurement (ignoring hysteresis and linearising
between the origin and the first data point) is compared
with an optimised curve C from [2].
Table 4 applies to a current of 10A, corresponding to a
power of 0.25MW for power frequency traction and 1OW
for audio frequency track signalling. The maximum difference between experimental measurement and FE modellmg
is in the power frequency internal inductance, with a deviation from the mean value of about 13%.
Table 5 applies to a frequency of 50Hz. The best correspondence was obtained using the BH curve B from [2].
The internal resistances from FE were slightly lower than
the laboratory measurements, whereas the FE derived
internal inductances were in excess of the experimental
measurements by a factor of between two and three. The
rather poor agreement obtained at high current emphasises
the difficulties in deciding appropriate effective permeabilities for use in FE work.
Table 6 Comparison of finiteelement derived and measured loop impedance
~
FE with
classic BH
~~
Loop impedance
Frequency
Loop resistance, Wkm
Loop inductance rnH/km
FE
Measurement
FE
Measurement
50Hz
0.1
0.14
1.70
1.88
500Hz
0.3
0.58
1.45
1.50
1kHz
0.5
0.73
1.35
1.44
5kHZ
1.1
3.00
1.30
1.35
10kHz
1.8
5.45
1.28
1.32
2OkHz
3.5
8.50
1.27
1.30
5.4 Loop impedance measurements
Loop impedance represents a useful verification technique
since the results are independent of ground conductivity,
which in any case is unknown. A comparison between loop
impedance measured on a short test track [21] and the FE
IEE ProcElectr. Power Appl , Vol. 146, No. 6, November 1999
model results of Figs. 2225, using eqn. 15, is shown in
Table 6. The agreement of loop inductance is 10%)from the
mean at low frequency, reducing to 2.3% at hrgh frequency,
whereas the results for loop resistance differ by 17% at low
frequencies, increasing to 83% at high frequencies. The
deviation in resistance is believed to be due to the effects of
rail joints.
5.5 Self and mutual impedance measurements
Practical measurements of self and mutual 50 Hz track
impedance [18] were compared with FE results. The inductances were in agreement to within 11%, whereas the resistances differed by up to 164% (Table 7). The deviation is
believed to be due to inaccuracies in processing the experimental results.
Table 7: Comparison of measured (insitu) and FE self and
mutual impedance at 50 Hz
Self impedance
Mutual impedance
Measured
FE
Measured
FE
0.55P/km
0.1 P/krn
0.51 Wkrn
0.05Wkm
1.56 mH/km
1.75 mH/km
0.99 rnH/krn
0.9 mH/krn
6. I
Discussion
Size of model
The large model size required at low frequency and ground
conductivity is consistent with the observed spread of electromagnetic fields near 16.7Hz traction systems found, for
example, in the high resistivity geological areas of Scandinavia. Care must be taken when truncating the model size
in such cases.
6.2 Rail iron nonlinearity
The method of calculating equivalent circuit components
from their energy dissipation and storage behaviour makes
no assumptions regarding field wave shape, because the
integrals are true irrespective of sinusoidality. The FE package used can perform either steady state AC or transient
solutions, the latter being available for complex wave
shapes but with a heavy computational overhead, especially
for nonlinear problems. In a nonlinear AC solution with
sinusoidal H excitation, the B field will be distorted. The
working point is fmed by considering the RMS value of H
and iterating. Thereafter, only the fundamental of B is
used. This methodology ignores the detailed shape of the
651
BH curve, and so gives only a rough estimate for the
losses and change in apparent inductance, through modifying the energy storage and dissipation patterns due to saturation.
This explains the large discrepancy between measured
and FE internal inductance at low frequencies and hgh
currents in Table 6. It also questions the accuracy of the
same regions in Figs. 11 and 15. In such cases, the behaviour under nonlinear conditions is of less interest so linear
models may be used with accuracy to within 10%. The
issue then arises as to what would be an appropriate effec,
tive relative permeability, for which [20] suggests a value of
18.
The effect of nonlinear changes to the BH curve around
the origin is of interest at higher frequencies and lower currents in the assessment of track impedance for EMC.
Table 4, in comparison with measurements from [13], suggests that results in this region will be accurate to about
? 15%.
6.3 Rail iron hysteresis
The FE method ignores hysteresis loss, which could be significant for smallsignal audio frequency or largesignal
power frequency conditions [131. The FEdetermined resistance and inductance should both be lower than those from
practical measurements. Table 5 shows that this is the case
for high currents at 50Hz.
Consideration of saturation and hysteresis reveals a compromise between achieving accuracy in the resistance and
inductance components at both low and high frequencies.
The nonlinear model is therefore most useful for small signal conditions.
6.4 DC traction systems
The method can be applied to steady DC with incremental
AC, whch is the case of DC railways with traction and
substation harmonics superimposed on the power current.
In an FE model, this could be achieved by altering the
steady DC operating point. In such a model, premagnetisation of rail iron found in DC traction systems could be a
significant feature affecting the equivalent MTL impedance, particularly at low excitation current.
6.5 Loop impedance
To assess the difference in internal inductance found from
measurement and FE modelling, the FE internal impedance at 10 A from Figs. 14 and 15 has been compared with
the self impedance from Figs. 1821 (20mS/m ground conductivity), and the loop impedance from Figs. 26 and 27.
Table 8 shows that the internal resistance is the most critical component because under loop excitation it represents
nearly all the loop resistance. The fraction of internal to
both self and loop impedance reduces numerically with
increasing frequency. The sensitivity of the result to FE
internal inductance is lower than both self and loop inductance.
Table 8 Importance of rail internal impedance within track
transmission line parameters
Frequency
Rint/R1l
Rintl(R1l  R12)
LintlL11
Lintl(L11Liz)
10Hz
77.0%
100%
14.0%
33.3%
50Hz
50.7%
100%
11.2%
26.7%
500Hz
25.6%
100%
5.9%
14.0%
5kHz
11.1%
99%
2.6%
5.80%
8.4%
98%
2.2%
5.06%
10kHz
56kg/m rails, soil conductivity: 2 x 102S/rn
658
The internal component is a very significant part of loop
impedance because the external impedance component
nearly cancels with the mutual impedance. This is consistent with the observation that loop impedance is virtually
independent of the ground conductivity (verified in Figs. 26
and 27 for practical threelayer stratification) . However,
the above is not the case for self and mutual impedance
considered as individual variables.
~6.6 Transmissionline assumptions
MTL end effects have been neglected in the present model.
Their inclusion could explain discrepancies in smallsignal
modelling, where the FEdetermined resistance appears less
than the measured value, whereas the FEdetermined
inductance is either slightly low or correct. Threedimensional FE modelling would be necessary to elucidate this
problem.
6.7 Extension to unbalanced and multitrack
conditions
The FE method is suited to model unbalanced conditions
and multitrack arrangements. T h s is important if rail currents are unequal, which is in fact generally the case due to
mutual effects with parallel tracks, bonding arrangements,
and track circuit transpositions.
7
Conclusions
The paper has demonstrated:
(i) A technique for evaluation of self and mutual impedances of rail track, with current, frequency and track material properties as parameters
(ii) The effect on track impedance of rail and ground skin
effect. The model also computes ground eddy current density profiles. Results have been presented for:
(i) Internal rail impedance, whch dominates self impedance
at very low frequencies
(ii) Track self and mutual impedance, with ground conductivity as a parameter.
The strength of the FE method lies in the complexity of
models that may be achieved, which are not possible from
a simplistic theory requiring unrealistic assumptions.
8
Acknowledgments
The authors acknowledge the provision of EPSRC research
grant J/51689.
References
HILL, R.J., BRILLANTE, S., and LEONARD, P.J.: Electromagnetic field modelling for transmission line distributed parameters of
railway track, IEE Proc., Elecfr. Power Appl., 1999, 146, (I), pp. 5359
HILL, R.J., BRILLANTE, S., DE SOUZA, C.R., and LEONARD, P.J.: Electrical material data for railway track transmission line
parameter studies, IEE Proc., Elecrr. Power Appl., 1999, 146, (l), pp.
6M8
KNESCHKE, T.A., HONG, J., NATARAJAN, R., and NAQVI,
W.: Impedance calculations for SEPTAS rail power distribution system. Proceedings of 1995 IEEWASME Joint Railroad conference,
Baltimore, MA, 1995, pp. 7985
TYLAVSKY, D.J., and KULKARMI, A.Y.: Inductance calculations for earthreturn trolley systems. Proceedings of 1988 IEEE
Industry Applications Society Annual Meeting, Pittsburgh, PA, 1988,
Vol. 2, pp, 121C1223
STANEK, E.K., CATALTEPE, T., and WUTANEN, D.O.: Phenomena that affect the calculation of the inductance and resistance of
mine tracWtrolley systems. Proceedings of 1984 IEEE Industry Applications Society Annual Meeting, Chicago, IL, 1984, pp. 10G106
IEE ProcElectr. Power Appl.. Vol. 146, No. 6, November 1999
FRAZIER, M.J., LITTLE, D.R., HALL, J.F., and LIPSITZ. I.: A
versatile railroad track simulator for testing the susceptibility of track
signaling equipment to powerline interference. C&S Division, AAR,
Committee Reports and Technical Papers, 1993, pp. 58M09
CARPENTER, D.C., and HILL, R.J.: Railroad. track electrical
impedance and adjacent track crosstalk modelling using the finiteelement method of electromagnetic systems analysis, IEEE Trans. Veh.
Technol., 1993, 42, (4), pp. 555562
LUCCA, G., and SOLBIATI, G.L.: Transmission line circuit with
nonlinear impedances, application to EMC problems. Proceedings of
1 Ith international Zurich symposium and Technical Exhibition on
Electromametic comnatibilitv. Zurich. 1995
CARSON J.R.: Wave propagation in overhead wires with ground
return, Bell Syst. Tech. J., 1926, 5, pp. 539556
10 POLLACZEK, F.: Uber das Feld einer unendlich langen wechsell
stromdurchflossenenEinfachleitung, E.N. T., 1926, 3, (9), pp. 339359
11 TRUEBLOOD, H.M., and WASCHEK, G.: Investigation of rail
impedances, AIEE Trans., 1934, 53, pp. 17711780
12 HOLMSTROM, F.R.: The model of conductive interference in rapid
transit signaling systems, IEEE Trans. fnd. Appl., 1986, 22, (4), pp.
15(LIh?
13 HILL, R.J., and CARPENTER, D.C.: Determination of rail internal
impedance for electric railway traction system simulation, fEE Proc.
B, 1991, 138, (6), pp. 311321
14 HILL, R.J., and CARPENTER, D.C.: Rail track transmission line
distributed impedance and admittance: theoretical modeling and
experimental results, fEEE Truns. Veh. Technol., 1993, 42, (2), pp.
225241
15 Experimental study of induced noise voltages in telecommunications
16
17
18
19
20
21
line along the 3kV electrified singletrack SkawinaChabowka railway
line. Question A122, Technical Document DT73, International Union
of Railways, Office for Research and Experiments, Utrecht, 1980
HILL, R.J., BRILLANTE, S., and LEONARD, P.J.: Modelling rail
track electrical behaviour using twodimensional finiteelements. Proceedings of Joint ASME/IEEE Railroad conference, Chicago, 1996,
pp. 101109
BROWN, J.C., ALLAN, J., and MELLITT, B.: Calculation and
measurement of, rail impedances applicable to remote short circuit
fault currents, ZEE Proc. B, 1992, 139, (4), pp. 295302
HILL, R.J., and CARPENTER, D.C.: In situ determination of rail
track electrical imnedance and admittance matrix elements. IEEE
Duns Instrurn Mias, 1992, 41, (5), pp. 6673
HILL, R.J , and CARPENTER, D C.: Correspondence Calculation
and measurement of rail impedances applicable to remote short circuit
fault currents, IEE Proc. B, 1993, 140, (6), pp. 417420
Electrical properties of a track laid on wooden sleepers and technical
determination of its essential characteristic data. Question A25,
Interim Report no. 6, International Union of Railways, Office for
Research and Experiments, Utrecht, 1963
HILL, R.J., and BRILLANTE, S.: Portable measurement equipment
for site determination .of rail track parameters. Proceedings of 1998
Joint IEEE/ASME Railroad conference, Philadelphia, PA, 1998, pp.
5964
22 BICKFORD, J.P., MULLPTEUX, N., and REED, J.R.: Cornputation of power system transients (Peter Peregrinus, London, 1976)
23 CCITT Directives concerning the protection of telecommunication
lines against harmful effects from electric power and electrified railway
lines (CCITT, Geneva, 1989), 9 vols.
24 DERI, A., TEVAN, G., SEMLYEN, A., and CASTANHEIRA, A.:
The complex ground return plane, a smplified model for homogeneous and multilayer earth return, IEEE Trans. Power Appar. Syst.,
1981, 100, (8), pp. 36863693
10
Appendix: Carsons equations
J
cos()\d) exp[(hi
x+j/=
+ hj)X]dX
(23)
In electric railways the inductive component of mutual
impedance dominates in the vicinity of the track, whereas
at large distances the resistive component dominates. The
mutual resistance term represents the inphase component
of induced voltage on one conductor due to current in
another; the magnitude is governed by the quantity of
power dissipated in the target conductor due to eddy currents.
IO.2 Closedform expressions
Eqns. 2023 are sufficient for approximate modelling of
track impedance. However, they are not easily accessible
for quick calculations. In [23], alternative formulae are
given with external self impedance
and earthreturn mutual impedance
The correction terms may be calculated by making approximations in terms of parameters p (for self impedance p =
a2h, for mutual impedancep = ClD) and 0. Since for rail
track
which is in the range zero to two, then 2ha = 0.4, which
enables simplifications to be made in the closedform series
expressions that depend on local values of the variables x
(function of earth resistivity and frequency) and 0 (function
of geometry). The correction terms may be evaluated using
approximate expressions in the form of truncated infinite
series as functions of the variables p and 8. The infinite
series is then, for p s 4:
i
i
gblpcos B+b2p2[(czlnp) cos 28+8 sin 28]+b3p3 cos 38
d4p4 cos48bsp5
+b7p7
cos 58+bspG[(cslnp) cos 68+8sin
and p and o are the earth permeability and conductivity.
681
cos78dgp8cos88 ...
1
1
(27)
A X = w2 x 10P4x
$(0.61593151n p)blpcos 8dzp2
COS
28+b3p3 COS 38
b4p4[(c4lnp) cos48+8 sin48]+bsp5 cos58dsp6 cos 68
+b7p7 cos 78bs[(csln
2,
IEE ProcElectr. Poller Appl., Vol. 146, No. 6, November. 1999
In (hi h j ) 2 d2
P
+jwJm
(22)
27r
(hi  h j ) 2 + d2
7r
where J, is an integral function with variable A given by
2,
AR = w2 x lOP4x
IO.1 General principles
The Carson formulae [9] model external self impedance of,
and mutual impedance between, long parallel cylindrical
wires at or near the surface of homogeneous semiinfinite
earth. They facilitate the calculation of induced voltages
between parallel lines, and in analytic form have proved
useful at traction and power frequencies.
In the original Carson formulae, the terms are in the
form of infinite integrals evaluated by calculation of integral functions by numerical integration. The external self
impedance is [22]:
Po
2hi
P
=jwln+jwJ,
21r
r
7r
where J, is an integral function with variable h given by
The impedance is the sum as if the ground conductivity
were infinite, with a correction from finite ground conductivity (generally much larger than the first term).
The Carson formula for mutual inductance is
p)ps cos 88+eps sin 8 8 ] + . . .
(28)
in units of Qh,
with successive terms forming a fourfold
repetitive pattern. In [23], the values of the coeflicients 6 , ci
and diare given, obtained from recursive formulae, as well
as information about the appropriate number of terms to
use as a function of the truncated part of the coefficientp .
659
10.3 Application to rail track
Carsons equations must be used with care for rail track
since:
(i) The rails are in ohmic contact with the earth
(ii) The rail height above ground is comparable to its equivalent radius
(iii) The actual rail height is imprecise due to variability of
ballast conductivity with moisture
(iv) The rail separation is not much greater than the rail
diameter
(v) Proximity effects may be important due to the presence
of massive conductors
(vi) The conductors are non cylindrical in shape
(vii) The earth is not homogeneous.
Extension of the equations for multilayer earth is
straightforward by introducing a twolayer earth model,
whereupon the value of the coefficient a is obtained from
precalculated curves relating an equivalent single conductivity to the two layer conductivities, the top layer depth
and frequency. For horizontally stratified multilayer earth,
the equivalent resistivity is complex and the complex image
method can be used [24].
11 Appendix: Finite element modelling user
procedure
Numerical computation of the electromagnetic fields
around electrical systems is possible using various techniques to calculate the field variables and potentials at a
number of discrete points in space.
The principle of the FE method is to determine the minimumenergy values of the magnetic potential vector or
electric scalar potential at discrete points in the model
space, talung into account relevant electrical material relationshlps, including nonlinear magnetic characteristics. The
finite element package utilised exploits the dzerential for
660
mulation of the relevant equations, and can solve steady
state sinusoidal and transient excitation problems.
Postprocessing allows the electromagnetic field variables
to be calculated over the problem space at defined mesh
nodes. The complete field distribution withm the model is
then determined by interpolation using shape (weight) functions. The algorithms employed are embedded in software
which is designed for solution stability, minimisation of
storage and maximisation of run time.
The user procedure is:
(i) Construct a physical representation of the system, defining each material region in terms of electrical conductivity,
permeability and permittivity
(ii) Divide each region into triangular or quadrilateral elements for two dimensional models, with the size of the elements depending on the field gradients expected
(iii) Specify the formulation (equation set) required
(iv) Define the model boundary conditions (usually in
terms of the behaviour of the electric and magnetic field
vectors)
(v) Define excitation conditions (current excitation for electromagnetic solutions and voltage excitation for electrostatic solutions), and the type of problem (transient or
steadystatesinusoidal excitation)
(vi) Invoke solver  node potential for minimum energy
condition, arbitrarily setting the starting condition.
Postprocessing routines calculate the remaining field
variables throughout the model. From these, conductor
currents and voltages may be found by integration. External ports may be regarded as physical circuit terminals connected to conductors withm the FE model. They may be
used as inputs by exploiting the facility to apply prescribed
input voltages (including ground) or to inject current into
the model, or as outputs to test induced voltages or currents for specific current or voltage excitation conditions.
IEE ProcElectr. Power Appl., Vol. 146, No. 6, November 1999
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