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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Development of Locomotive Powered Freight Car Electrical Power Supply System (EPSS): Method for Electrical Power Distribution on Freight Trains

Document Series
Technical Reports
Federal Railroad Administration
Report Number
Subject Rolling Stock
Electrical power supply system, EPSS, Electrically Driven Set & Release Hand Brakes, EDHB, Hand brake release sensors, HBRS, remote controlled angle cocks, RCAC, remote controlled cut levers, RCCL, remote release hand brake, RCHB, alternating current, AC

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) previously demonstrated advanced, remotely controlled, electro-mechanical systems, such as hand brakes, angle cocks, and cut levers that can contribute to increased safety and improved efficiency of freight railroad operations. The main impediment to implementation of such devices is the lack of reliable and continuous electrical power on freight cars. The objectives of this project were to develop a preliminary design/architecture for a cost-effective, scalable and robust, electrical power supply system (EPSS) for railroad freight cars, and to develop a prototype. EPSS developed under the project derives its power from the train’s locomotive, which is transformed to alternating current (AC) power and is distributed to the cars via a standardized, hard-wired configuration. Sharma & Associates, Inc. tested the prototype EPSS system at the Transportation Technology Center (TTC). The test successfully demonstrated the overall viability and performance of the prototype EPSS on a small consist which included a locomotive and two freight cars.

Last updated: Tuesday, September 13, 2022