A method is presented for estimating the contact force variation between a collector brush and a rigid third rail when the third rail has a surface with random irregularity. Results are obtained for a reference case where the third rail roughness is estimated from the roughness of other known surfaces. The surface roughness of an actual commercial third rail is measured and the results are used to estimate the performance of a collector on the measured sample at 300 mph. Conclusions are drawn about the feasibility of power collection at 300 mph.

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