Overhead Line - Crossings

Crossings

Trams draw their power from a single overhead wire at about 500 to 750 V, while trolleybuses draw their power from two overhead wires at a similar voltage. Because of that, at least one of the trolleybus wires must be insulated from tram wires. This is usually solved by the trolleybus wires running continuously through the crossing, with the tram conductors a few centimetres lower. Close to the junction on each side, the wire merges into a solid bar running parallel to the trolleybus wires for about half a metre. Another bar similarly angled at its ends is hung between the trolleybus wires. This is electrically connected above to the tram wire. The tram's pantograph bridges the gap between the different conductors, providing it with a continuous pickup.

Where the tram wire crosses, the trolleybus wires are protected by an inverted trough of insulating material extending 20 or 30 mm below.

Until 1946, there was a level crossing in Stockholm, Sweden between the railway south of Stockholm Central Station and a tramway line. The tramway operated on 600-700 V DC and the railway on 15 kV AC. In the Swiss village of Suhr, the WSB tramway operating at 1,200 V DC crossed the SBB line at 15 kV AC. Some crossings between tramway/light rail and railways are still extant in Germany. In Z├╝rich, Switzerland the VBZ trolleybus line 32 has a level crossing with the 1,200 V DC railway to mount Uetliberg; at many places in the town, trolleybus lines cross the tramway. In some cities, trolleybuses and trams have shared the same positive (feed) wire. In such cases, a normal trolleybus frog can be used.

Another system that has been used is to coincide section breaks with the crossing point so that the crossing is electrically dead.

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