Overhead Catenary System (OCS) Inspections

AutoCommute has developed an automated system for performing inspections of overhead catenary systems (OCS). Our inspection system can be used to measure:

  • Locations of overhead catenary equipment (wires and support structures)
  • Clearance envelopes (non-catenary structures or obstacles)
  • Overhead catenary properties (wire height, stagger and wear)
  • Pantograph properties (up force on catenary and/or pantograph accelerations)
  • Vehicle properties (location along rail, vehicle speed, heading, acceleration and global position)
  • Visual references obtained during inspections (panoramic view from vehicle, view of pantograph and rail during inspections)
  • Thermography
  • Voltage and current measurements
  • Rail alignment
  • Sensor suite can be adapted based on the needs of the rail system operational or inspection requirements

Inspections can be performed day...
Daytime Daytime

..or night
Nighttime Nighttime


  • Inspection suite is flexible enough to be installed on any type of vehicle
  • Inspections can be performed at any vehicle speed
  • No limit on the number of wires measured or cameras used for recording
  • Measurements can be obtained at up to 50,000 samples per second
  • All measurements and cameras are synchronized
  • All data is presented in an easy to use format
Data Recorder Monitor

Data is being monitored real time as inspections are performed.


Post-processed data is presented in tabular data files that can be viewed with our data viewing utility or other data processing software (i.e. Excel, Matlab) as well as video files with syncronized measurements (see below):

Key Benefits

  • Automated inspection system; no need for human inspections on live or in-service catenary lines
  • Determines wire wear continuously along the catenary system (not sparse recordings from each cherry picker location)
  • Automated measurements (no manual recording later transferred to electronic system)
  • Inspections can be performed during revenue service (no need to shut down service for inspections)
  • Sensor suite can verify clearance envelopes on new and expansion lines to verify no outside interference with catenary equipment as well as to verify as-built condition

AutoCommute personnel calibrating inspection equipment