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September 2020

Rail News: C&S

C&S technology update: Wire and cable

Progress Rolling Stock Glands can be incorporated in design applications for both inside and outside the vehicle and trackside.
Photo – AerosUSA Inc.


Compiled By Pat Foran, Editor

AerosUSA Inc.

AerosUSA Inc. offers a line of cable glands designed for rail vehicle and trackside applications. AGRO Progress metal cable glands include a range of standard, electromagnetic-compatible (EMC), high-temperature and explosive-area-rated (EX) glands to address an array of applications. The Progress “compression technology” is key to ensuring tight sealing and exceptional strain relief characteristics in railway applications, company officials said in an email.

Progress Rolling Stock Glands, which are ASTM 1354 and NFPA 130 approved, can be incorporated in design applications for both inside and outside a vehicle and trackside. They also exceed the demands of EN 45545-3, which defines the requirements for fire resistance and fire barriers, company officials said.

The Progress EMC Rapid product line is designed to address the need for shielding. The cable glands include an integrated contact disc that “grips” the braid shield to provide “maximum” electromagnetic interference/radio frequency interference protection, company officials said. Trackside explosion proof shielding applications can be addressed with the Progress EMC Rapid line, which is rated to EX e II safety level series. And the Progress MS HT series is designed to address temperatures up to 200 C.


Comtran offers IntegraTrax™ ethylene tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE) signal and case wire, which is suitable for use in high temperatures and harsh environmental conditions found in transit control rooms, operational control centers, wayside cases and trackside signal equipment. The signal and case wire is designed to withstand the effects of acids, alkalis, chemicals, oils and physical or mechanical abuse.

All conductors are tin-plated, annealed copper per ASTM B-33 and B-3 for improved terminations, corrosion resistance and high-temperature resistance; they also are rated up to 1,000 volts. The cables utilize ETFE insulation, which offers high resistance to chemicals and solvents along with exceptional mechanical strength, stiffness and abrasion resistance, Comtran officials said in an email. Designed to meet a broad, continuous use temperature range of -100 C to 150 C, the products also feature a 40-year service life at a 115 C continuous-operating temperature. IntegraTrax signal and case wire is available in twisted pairs and multi-conductor jacketed constructions, with sizes up to 500 MCM.

An optional tin-plated copper braid shield for pairs or overall is also available, as well as an optional galvanized steel or stainless steel braid. Standards met include AREMA 10.3.14, AREMA 10.3.24, and Transit specs 940801, 82A0013 and 82A0009.


The company offers supply chain and logistics solutions for wire, cable and wire management products.

Whether it’s cutting to length, kitting, striping, printing or meeting another need, IEWC offers supply chain and logistics solutions for wire, cable and wire management products, company officials said in an email.

IEWC “leverages its global distribution network” for partners with an array of designers and manufacturers, they said. Brands available through IEWC include Brady, Champlain, General Cable, HellermannTyton, HUBER+SUHNER, Southwire and Sumitomo.


nVent ERICO Cadweld Plus for Rail comprises a complete welder (mold and frame), bond kits (bondstrand, weld material) and tools.

nVent ERICO Cadweld is used for making exothermic cable-to-rail welded bonds for signal, power and grounding applications. Exothermic welded connections are “ideal” for rail because they establish a permanent molecular bond that will not loosen or corrode, and has a carrying capacity equal to or greater than that of the conductor, nVent officials said in an email. The connections also can withstand repeated fault currents without failing, and compared with a mechanical connection, will maintain a lower resistance over time, company officials said.

nVent ERICO Cadweld Plus for Rail now includes new features designed to improve safety and precision, including self-contained weld material cups and an electronic control system that enables users to stand back at a distance of 6 feet or 15 feet, depending on the cable lead selected. Cadweld Plus for Rail comprises a complete welder, bond kits and tools. It is used to make a range of connections, including: cable-to-rail (joint head/web), cable-to-cable, cable-to-ground rod, cable-to-lug, cable-to-special trackwork, cable-to-third rail, cable-to-lug and stud-to-rail.

Cadweld Plus for Rail contains solutions for an array of rail sections, including: 85- to 141-pound T-Rail sections, as well as special rail sections including UIC, girder rail, third rail, special trackwork, light rail (ASCE) and crane rail. Rail bond kits feature a variety of bondstrand options that are available for a range of sizes and lengths.

Times Microwave Systems

The implementation of positive train control (PTC) systems requires the interconnection of antennas to various RF transmitting and receiving equipment. Many of these systems require the use of a good quality low-loss, rugged yet flexible coaxial cable, as well as matching connectors and RF lightning protection products, Times Microwave Systems officials said in an email.

The company has been supplying the LMR® brand of low-loss RF interconnects to the rail and transit industry for more than 25 years. Applications have ranged from base stations and communication shelters to on-board GPS systems, SCADA control, communications-based train control and PTC systems.

“One of the biggest challenges is to provide RF interconnect products that offer rugged outdoor performance, as well as maintaining flexibility for easy routing within the many different scenarios that installers will come across,” said Tony Fedor, the company’s product manager, cable. “In addition, one of the biggest challenges for installers of PTC systems is to attach connectors in the field, many times under adverse conditions.”

To that end, the company introduced the CST family of strip tools, along with EZ style no-braid trim connectors. Installers can use a one-piece prep tool, which trims the LMR cable to the exact dimensions for connector attachment, company officials said. After simple prepping, EZ style connectors are pushed on and then crimped to the outer braid shield of the coaxial cable. The inner contact is a “non-solder” spring finger, which eliminates the need for any special soldering attachment tools in the field.

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