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An investigation into the mechanical damping characteristics of catenary contact wires and their effect on aerodynamic galloping instability

Stickland, M.T. and Scanlon, T.J. and Craighead, I.A. and Fernandez, J. (2003) An investigation into the mechanical damping characteristics of catenary contact wires and their effect on aerodynamic galloping instability. Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part F: Journal of Rail and Rapid Transit, 217 (2). pp. 63-71. ISSN 0954-4097

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Abstract

Measurement of the damped oscillation of a section of the UK East Coast Main Line (ECML) catenary/contact wire system was undertaken, and the natural frequency and mechanical damping were found to be 1.4Hz and 0.05 respectively. This information was used to assess the effect of increasing the mechanical damping ratio on the susceptibility of the system to an aerodynamic galloping instability. The section of line tested was known to gallop at wind speeds of approximately 40 mile/h, and theoretical and experimental work verified this. A friction damper arm was designed and three units were fitted to the section of line affected. The introduction of increased mechanical damping was found to raise the mechanical damping coefficient of the line to between 0.095 and 0.18, and the mathematical analysis produced a theoretical wind speed for galloping oscillation of between 75 and 141 mile/h respectively. For over a year since the units were fitted, no problems with galloping instability have been observed.