In this paper we present our work on the development of a quantitative measurement advice to capture the dynamics of pantograph arcing during loss of contact. Despite the difficulties involved, it is very important for the railroad operators to accurately measure the pantograph loss-of-contact dynamics in order to assess the current collection quality of the pantograph with the overhead contact system during the commissioning phase and long-term operation. We use photovoltaic cells to construct a simple but effective sensor that can produce a voltage signal proportional to arc strength and duration, which can then be used as a precise quantitative measure of the loss of contact dynamics of the pantograph.

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