3rd Rail Current Collector

Our patented solutions for reliability on the 3rd rail



The operating conditions for 3rd rail current collectors close to the track bed are extreme. High mechanical loads due to vibration, the constant danger of flying sparks and parts on the ground, and very narrow space requirements place high demands on the technology. Nevertheless, our third rail current collectors have to function reliably around the clock. Schedules must be met, maintenance breaks minimized and downtimes avoided. Our solutions do just that, thanks our many years of development expertise, high-quality components and materials, and patented features.

Maintenance-friendly 3rd rail current collectors from Schunk are in use around the world. We offer optimal solutions to our customers for every speed range and every operating voltage. Even if the spacing between rail and bogie fluctuates, our developments guarantee perfect current transmission – thanks to their modular design and trailblazing technology. Our current collector modules include spring-operated systems and pneumatically operated systems – depending on our customers’ requirements and vehicle equipment. Depending on the model, they can be mounted on the bogie or on the end of the axle.


When overhead lines are not an option, the third rail is the right choice. It can transmit high current levels because of its large diameter, but only when combined with a powerful and reliable current collector. That is where we come into play. Our versatile and compact current collector systems help move millions of people all around the world on local transportation every day. Both our standard systems and complex specialized solutions fulfill the highest standards for functional safety.

Complete systems for the 3rd rail

You can benefit from our expertise in multiple ways: as one of the largest manufacturers of carbon and cast contact shoes, we offer perfectly coordinated complete systems with innovative connection technology to keep system components secure.  Comprehensive accessories such as short-circuiting devices, fuse boxes, and sensors are also available for the 3rd rail. Our third rail solutions guarantee all-around reliability, and let you take an active role in shaping the mobility of the future.

Contact shoes added to our 3rd rail portfolio

 Our long-lasting carbon contact shoes and cast contact shoes impress by delivering maximum power up to the wear limit, even with continuous, long-term use. They make improving operational safety simple, while helping to keep maintenance costs low. Our contact shoes can offer these advantages because they use materials perfectly tailored to the infrastructure. We offer contact shoes made of cast iron or machined from solid metal for steel conductor rails. Our custom carbon materials have proven to be an outstanding choice for aluminum conductor rails with stainless steel overlay – we deliver these contact shoes clamped and soldered. Both versions impress by delivering excellent temperature resistance and stable power up to the wear limit. Visual wear indicators make it easier to determine when they need to be replaced.