Always prioritising innovation, Tratos is trusted worldwide for rail, underground, power distribution, signalling and electrical cables for most applications.

Track feeder cables are used to provide electrical power to the third rail network in the South East and North West (Merseyside) of England, and problems with these cables can cause disruptions to train services. Recent research shows that in the London area, a power failure could disrupt 75% of all trains in the southern region and 25% of all trains nationally.

Tratos was approached by a Network Rail (NR)HQ (Technical Authority) for advice or thoughts on problems they were experiencing with their Aluminium Conductor Track feeder cable. Tratos engineers discovered the aluminium conductor showed signs of degrading to a white powder and, in places, causing the tape covering and, ultimately, the sheath to become brittle, swell, and show signs of cracking, split, puncturing or even bursting. Severe corrosion and deterioration of the aluminium conductor have led to damage to the sheath and, eventually, electrical fault causing overheating and failure of the sheath.

Tratos developed a new version of track feeder cable – NRS/2/ELP/23002/02 designed to resist the effects of water ingress and sheath damage using materials formulated.

The conductors are supplied with a water-blocking material then two covering layers of crosslinked material are applied in extrusion in two closely adherent layers, forming a compact, homogeneous body that fits closely over the separator tape. This two-layer covering provides the optimum balance between electrical and mechanical properties.

The cable was rigorously tested, in particular for long-term wet ageing. Tratos also tested it for use in tunnels, and it met the fire safety classification requirement of B2ca-s1a-do-a1 as defined in BS EN 13501-6 – CPR. While it can’t provide an exact figure for the hours of trackside work saved by using this product compared to its predecessor, Tratos is aware that it involves thousands of metres. Tratos is very pleased to assist in ensuring one of the primary safety goals of the rail industry, which is to minimise trackside manpower. Additionally, this product offers the advantage of decreased downtime, lower maintenance expenses, and fewer train delays.

Tratos manufacture Track Feeder cables using materials specially developed to withstand the operational and environmental conditions found in a trackside overground and underground Mass Transit environment.

Image source: Courtesy of Tratos

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