Overhead Line - Multiple Overhead Lines

Multiple Overhead Lines

There are and were some railways that used two or three overhead lines, usually to carry three-phase current to the trains. Nowadays, three-phase AC current is used only on the Gornergrat Railway and Jungfraujoch Railway in Switzerland, the Petit train de la Rhune in France, and the Corcovado Rack Railway in Brazil; until 1976, it was widely used in Italy. On these railways, the two conductors of the overhead lines are used for two different phases of the three-phase AC, while the rail was used for the third phase. The neutral was not used.

Some three-phase AC railways used three overhead wires. These were an experimental railway line of Siemens in Berlin-Lichtenberg in 1898 (length: 1.8 kilometres), the military railway between Marienfelde and Zossen between 1901 and 1904 (length: 23.4 kilometres) and an 800-metre-long section of a coal railway near Cologne, between 1940 and 1949.

On DC systems, bipolar overhead lines were sometimes used to avoid galvanic corrosion of metallic parts near the railway, such as on the Chemin de fer de la Mure.

All systems of multiple overhead lines have the disadvantage of high risk of short circuits at switches and therefore tend to be impractical in use, especially when high voltages are used or when trains run through the points at high speed.

The Sihltal Z├╝rich Uetliberg Bahn is the result of a merge of two railways with different electification. To be able to use different electric systems on shared tracks one of the railways (Sihltalbahn) has overhead wire right above the train, and the other line (Uetlibergbahn) has overhead wire a bit off to one side.

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