J Arriojas

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - rail, mode - tram/light rail, mode - subway/metro


Pole collectors, Pantographs, Newark (New Jersey), New Jersey Transit, Light rail transit, Electric power, Conversion, Catenaries (Railroads)


The New Jersey Transit Corporation (NJ TRANSIT) has contracted with Kinkisharyo to build new, modern light rail transit cars (LRTCs) to replace the aging fleet of President's Conference Committee (PCC) cars operating on the Newark City Subway. The new LRTCs will draw a significantly higher electrical current than the PCCs. Maximum peak current demand of the LRTCs considered by NJ TRANSIT may exceed 1,200 A, and the existing PCCs draw maximum peak current of about 500 A. To accommodate the higher power demand of the new LRTCs, the existing overhead distribution system was evaluated. Computer simulations of the overhead distribution system indicated that the existing system is not adequate to support the future LRTC operation and that the system needs to be either upgraded or replaced. Two options were evaluated that were capable of delivering sufficient power to the new LRTCs. They were (a) upgrading the system based on existing feeder/contact wire configuration with larger contact wire and (b) replacing the existing system with a new two-wire simple catenary system. Finally, investigations were conducted to determine the extent and type of overhead distribution modifications required to accommodate operating the PCCs with pole collectors and LRTCs with pantographs. Design considerations included selecting catenary hardware capable of accommodating the PCC pole-collector operation and easily adapting to pantograph operation to minimize disruption of passenger service.