Strong winds can affect high-speed trains. TUCHONG
Since spring, many parts of the country have experienced a wave of windy days. During the May Day holiday, strong winds even affected trains.
On May 1, strong gales in Baoding, Hebei province, caused a foreign object to be caught in high-speed rail overhead lines, leading to the delay of trains. Some passengers were even stuck on their trains mid-travel.
High-speed trains are powered by electricity, and they receive power from overhead wires strung along the overhead lines, according to Worldwide Rails, a rail news website. As an important part of the power source for high-speed trains, why are rail overhead lines so fragile in face of wind?
The overhead line equipment itself has strong stability, but there are too many light objects floating along the line. “These foreign objects are extremely dynamic and difficult to control. After all, except for some tunnel sections, the railway is an open-air environment,” He Changlin, deputy head of the Catenary Technology Section of the Beijing Power Supply Section, told Beijing Daily.
Kite wires with a metal core are one of the troublemakers that haunt railway workers every year. If one end of the kite wire touches the power supply line and the other end touches the ground, it will cause a short circuit on the overhead lines, causing a loss of power.
Other conductive materials, such as tin foil and iron sheets, could also pose a threat. Although other foreign objects are non-conductive, once they are blown into an overhead line, they may disable trains’ pantographs from getting a current.
In many cases, train workers have to remove foreign objects from overhead lines manually. The bigger the foreign object, the harder it is to clean it up. Bird nests are one of the most difficult.
Due to their height and durability, overhead lines have become a popular site for birds to make a home. Birds carefully arrange their home with branches, iron wires, straw, etc. “They keep us busy. One day we deal with one bird’s nest and the next day they’ll build another,” a Xiamen train power supply worker told Xiamen TV. Their solution? To make fake nests and put them along the railway to trick birds into thinking the place is taken.