The pantograph–catenary system is responsible for the electric transmission to the locomotive via the sliding contact between the pantograph head and the contact wire. The separation of the pantograph head from the contact wire is the main source of arcing, which challenges the normal operation of an electrified railway. To properly describe the contact loss procedure using simulation tools, a mathematical model of the reattachment momentum impact between the pantograph head and the contact wire is proposed in this paper. The Euler–Bernoulli beam is adopted to model the contact and messenger wires, which are connected by lumped mass-spring droppers. The Lagrange multiplier method is utilised to describe the contact between the pantograph head and the contact wire. The momentum impact generated during the reattachment process is derived based on the principle of momentum conservation. Through several numerical simulations, the contact wire uplift and the contact force are evaluated with the reattachment impact. The analysis result indicated that the velocities of the contact wire and the pantograph head experience a sudden jump at the time instant of reattachment, which leads to a sudden increase of the contact force. When the reattachment impact is included, the maximum value and the standard deviation of contact forces show a significant increase. The effect of reattachment impact is more significant with the increase of the pantograph mass and stiffness.
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