Railway accident in China: how to protect trains against lightning

The lightning discharge resulted in an overvoltage that caused a failure in the electrical and electronical systems, stopping the train and disabling the communications. Surge protection devices such as ATPV and ATLINE avoid the serious damages caused by thunderstorms.

The recent disaster caused by the collision of two trains in China highlights the need to install lightning protection systems in means of transport, thus preventing risks to people, equipment and installations.

A train is a metallic structure, equivalent to a conductive mesh, and therefore a direct lightning strike does not cause damages to the vehicle structure. However this does not avoid the overvoltages to the electric lines, which can damage or even disable the internal equipment, as happened in the case of the Chinese high velocity train. 

Aplicaciones Tecnológicas supplies devices designed to effectively protect electrical and electronic systems used in railways:

  • ATPV Series: protector against overvoltages with a high nominal voltage (750V in locomotives), designed for protecting the equipment connected to the electric line. The installation of this protection would have avoided the Chinese train to stop.  
  • ATLINE Series: protector for data lines.Transient overvoltages caused by a lightning strike generate residual voltages that damage electronic equipment such as those used in communications. The installation of this protection would have allowed the communication between the Chinese train and the appropriate emergency centres.

Detailed technical information: ATPV Series / ATLINE Series