To begin with, a catenary is a set of suspension cables that carries electricity to our trains, via contact with the pantograph, i.e. a collector head for electrical power. The mission of a catenary line engineer is to ensure the smooth functioning of the catenary line.
For Jérémie and his colleagues, time is the biggest constraint. Maintenance operations are conducted at night when the trains are no longer circulating – a period that generally lasts little more than two hours! A catenary maintenance train or “work train” is used for interventions. It could, for example, be a matter of replacing the catenary attachment systems (also known as “anchorage normalisation”), in order to bring the system back up to standard.
01. Safety guaranteed!
Numerous measures are taken to ensure the safety of our maintenance teams. The catenary lines are first registered with our centralised command and control post (CCP), and a mechanism for track coverage is systematically installed. This small device triggers a warning signal when a train approaches.
The average lifespan of a catenary is thirty years. The contact wires on the cables are regularly replaced to avoid premature wear and tear… and to prevent a possible incident.
When a spot becomes too critical or dangerous, we make emergency interventions. We do corrective and preventative maintenance work all year long.
02. Think fast, think sharp!
“What I like about my work is the rigour, the team spirit, and the hands-on aspect,” explains Jérémie. “In addition to my work as an electrician, I also do some mechanics.” The important thing? To work quickly but attentively, to avoid making mistakes.
To see the work accomplished is truly rewarding.
It’s a pleasure to watch the trains go by and see the passengers reach their destinations!