Basics of Power Line Interference to Railroad Signal Systems

Course Number: T-5013
Credit: 5 PDH
Subject Matter Expert: David W. McCord, P.E.
Price: $149.75 Purchase using Reward Tokens. Details
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Overview

In Basics of Power Line Interference to Railroad Signal Systems, you'll learn ...

  • How Railroad signal systems and the signal environment work so that power engineers can better communicate with railroad signal engineers
  • How to avoid costly pitfalls when working on right-of-way contracts with railroads
  • The vulnerabilities of railroad signal systems to EMI and some possible revisions to make the system more robust
  • Ground fault issues which are a threat to both railroad personnel and equipment

Overview

PDHengineer Course Preview

Preview a portion of this course before purchasing it.

Credit: 5 PDH

Length: 50 pages

It is highly recommended that anyone taking this course that is not familiar with railroad signal systems complete the prerequisite course, "Railroad Signal Systems Fundamentals" (Course Number: T-5011).

Much of the material in this course may be difficult to understand due to unfamiliar terminology and technology. In addition, it is essential that power system engineers have a basic understanding of the operation of railroad wayside and crossing systems if they are going to effectively find solutions for Electromagnetic Interference problems or be able to design new lines that will not negatively impact nearby railroads.

The railroad signal system is complex and must operate reliably and safely at all times. Train detection equipment that protects the public at railroad crossings from trains and also the trains from each other exist on nearly 150,000 miles of railroad throughout the United States. The Corridor Concept has forced power utilities and also pipe lines and buried cable companies to share the railroad right-of-way in many locations. When it is desired to build on the right-of-way of an existing railroad, it is the responsibility of the utility to educate the railroad personnel about what interference can be expected from a new power line and what will be done to assure that the safety of the railroad equipment and personnel will in no way be compromised. To do this, the utility engineers must have a basic understanding of the railroad signal system and its vulnerability to EMI. They should also know and understand some of the mitigation techniques so they can provide a viable plan to the railroad that assures safe, trouble-free sharing of the corridor.

Although experts that work in the area of railroad signal interference are rare, there are a few specialists that are very good at analyzing EMI effects and coming up with solutions. However, even with expert help, when designing a corridor the more that is known and understood by both the railroad and the utility engineers, the lower the expense and higher the probability of a successful outcome will be.

This course provides information on power line induction to railroads that is not available from any other source. It is written by a licensed professional engineer who has spent much of his 44 year career working with both railroads and electric utilities while learning about electromagnetic induction and its effect on railroad signal systems.

Experts with much experience in this area are very rare. This course is an effort to share at least a portion of what has been learned about power line interference with new engineers who must be ready to take over from a unique group of experts that are approaching or past retirement age. Hopefully, this course will help spark interest (pun intended) in a few engineers who will choose to enter the specialized niche that overlaps the skills of both railroad signal and power line induction engineering. It is a career containing a wide variety of work and fascinating challenges. There are very few who have managed to develop the required working knowledge of both power and railroad signal engineering. Since electrified high speed rail systems and bigger transmission line grids and more alternate lines to increase our energy security fill our future, the world will need many more such individuals very soon.

Specific Knowledge or Skill Obtained

This course teaches the following specific knowledge and skills:

  • Susceptibility of sensitive train detection devices used for highway crossing protection to induced interference
  • Reasons for the Corridor Concept and how to make it work.
  • What to keep in mind when proposing a power line encroachment to a railroad.
  • Basic understanding of inductive interference from power lines to nearby railroads.
  • Effect of variables such as length of parallel, phase current unbalance, distance, and current magnitude on induced rail voltages.
  • Effect of track circuit unbalance due to shorted Insulated Joints (IJ's) or trains spanning IJ's.
  • Effect of harmonic frequency interference.
  • Effect of power line ground faults.
  • Basics of power line design for minimizing EMI to nearby railroad facilities.
  • Some techniques to mitigate EMI problems in existing power line encroachments.

Certificate of Completion

You will be able to immediately print a certificate of completion after passing a multiple-choice quiz consisting of 25 questions. PDH credits are not awarded until the course is completed and quiz is passed.

Board Acceptance
This course is applicable to professional engineers in:
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PDHengineer Course Preview

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Credit: 5 PDH

Length: 50 pages

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