Very High-Speed Third Rail Insulator Cleaner--FTA SBIR Phase 2

Metrorail systems, also called subways, rely on insulators to keep the electricity that powers trains flowing through the third rail where it belongs. The high-voltage third rail sits on insulators spaced 6 to 10 fee apart, depending on the subway, which means there are about 500 to 900 insulators in one mile of track. Dirt and grime can short circuit an insulator and cause arcing, burning and smoke, which can cause the rail system to be shut down. Rapid rail transit systems around the country report that damaged insulators are most frequently the cause of traction power shut-down. The objective of this Small Business Innovation Research project is to design and fabricate an automated very high speed insulator cleaner technology for cleaning third rail insulators on rapid transit systems in the United States. The novel technology slides on the third rail and is attached to a service vehicle that rides on the track and provides high pressure water. Although the high-speed insulator cleaner is designed and customized for cleaning insulators installed on the New York City subway track, the technology can be designed to meet the needs of any rapid rail transit system in the United States. The Task 5 effort includes the development of insulator materials: fiberglass and porcelain.

  • Supplemental Notes:
    • Program Information: National Research Program, Small Business Innovation Research


  • English


  • Status: Active
  • Funding: $500000.00
  • Contract Numbers:


  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Federal Transit Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Project Managers:

    Nejako, Henry

  • Performing Organizations:

    Arun Vohra, Consulting Engineers

    7710 Bradley Boulevard
    Bethesda, MD  United States  20817
  • Principal Investigators:

    Vohra, Arun

  • Start Date: 20091201
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 20121231
  • Source Data: RiP Project 25937

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01489205
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Federal Transit Administration
  • Contract Numbers: DTRT57-10-C-10005
  • Files: RIP
  • Created Date: Aug 4 2013 1:00AM