Case study: Feature-based analysis of electric arc damage to railway signal cables

Shiwu Yang*, Lei Chen, Clive Roberts, Xinghui Wang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Signal cables on Chinese heavy haul railways are often observed to have been burnt and damaged; this can cause the failure of signalling systems and can lead to accidents. In this paper, a theoretical analysis and laboratory-based test bench experiments are presented to investigate the cause and mechanism of this burning phenomenon. First, a laboratory simulation test bench is designed, to test actual cables under man-made conditions and intermittent conduction between the iron trough and. steel armour The phenomenon reproduced in the test shows good consistency with field observations and data on voltage and current levels is recorded for testing validation. A quantitative analysis of this phenomenon is carried out using Cassie and Mayr arc models on a high-current area and a zero-point-crossing area, respectively, with a comparison of the calculated and measured data being subsequently performed. Based on the characteristics of the test results, it is verified that a possible cause is an electric arc. Finally, solutions to mitigate the phenomenon are proposed, based on the analysis of the mechanism of the creation of the electric arc and how it damages the signal cables.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-11
Number of pages9
JournalProceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part F: Journal of Rail and Rapid Transit
Issue number1
Early online date13 Mar 2014
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015


  • Cassie arc model
  • electric arc
  • heavy haul railway
  • Mayr arc model
  • Signal cable
  • simulation test

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanical Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Case study: Feature-based analysis of electric arc damage to railway signal cables'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this