Conductor Rail

Photo: Andrew Riley [CC BY-SA 4.0 (]

Economical and reliable traction current supply via 3rd or 4th rail electrification.

Electrical conductor rails, sometimes known as power rails, provide traction current for rail vehicles and are often used in metro applications where the extra height and clearances required for overhead electrification is undesirable or cost-prohibitive. 

Rail vehicles can pick up the traction current from conductor rail via a sliding shoe. This power collector arrangement requires good rail dimensional control and excellent surface quality to ensure a smooth sliding contact for long rail and shoe life.

Each joint or weld in a conductor rail is a potential source of accelerated degradation - to minimise this, single weld-free rail lengths in excess of 91m / 300ft are available. Factory welded conductor rail lengths of 182m are also possible via our on-site flash butt welding facility. Using longer length rails allows curves to be smooth rather than faceted and minimises the number of joints to both make and maintain. 



In addition to the smooth running surface, excellent electrical conductivity is a prime requirement for conductor rails. We have carefully tailored our steel composition to ensure efficient delivery of electrical power to rail vehicles. Our steel conductor rails offer low resistance / high conductivity power transmission without the expense and complexity of other ground level power transmission solutions. Alternative multi-metal solutions often face significant challenges from electrolytic corrosion as well as containing materials often prone to theft. 

At the end of its long life, pure steel conductor rails are easily reclaimed and are fully recyclable with significant residual value.

We produce several profiles of conductor rail and the profile drawings are below for reference. 

New profiles are considered subject to minimum orders - please contact us to discuss your requirements.