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Technical Reports

EMF Monitoring on Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor: Post-Electrification Measurements and Analysis

  • 01
  • Oct
  • 2006
SUBJECT: Amtrak, Passenger Rail
AUTHOR: Dr. David Fugate, William Jacobs
OFFICE: RPD
REPORT NUMBER: DOT/FRA/RDV-06/01
KEYWORDS: Northeast Corridor, Amtrak, Acela, electromagnetic fields (EMF), electromagnetic radiation (EMR),

This survey of electromagnetic fields (EMF) and radiation (EMR) due to the electrification infrastructure and operations of Amtrak Acela trains on the Northeast Corridor from New Haven, CT, to Boston, MA, was performed by Electric Research & Management (ERM) with Amtrak cooperation. The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and Volpe National Transportation Systems Center sponsored this survey to comply with environmental requirements. EMF levels were measured as a function of frequency and location on board the locomotive, inside a passenger coach, under the catenary and along the wayside in urban and rural locations, and near 10 representative traction power substations. Observed temporal and frequency-variability on board Acela and near the wayside is common to all of the electric transportation systems. Average magnetic fields in the passenger compartment were lower than, and maxima were comparable to most other rail and maglev systems. EMF exposures of passengers onboard Acela are lowest among rail and maglev systems studied to date. Average and maximum magnetic fields in the locomotive cab were lower than most other electric rail and maglev systems. Background EMF levels increased by 1-2 orders of magnitude after rail electrification but are well below limits in all applicable human exposure safety standards.

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