Pantograph (rail)

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Many electric powered rail vehicles employ a mechanism called a pantograph to make contact with the overhead wire that provides electricity. They are called pantograph because they resemble an earlier mechanism, with paired arms, used for making duplicates.

Overhead power wires have advantages over the third rail used in many underground rapid transit systems. One advantage is that the greater distance between the wire and ground allows for a higher voltage.

Two other mechanisms for connecting vehicles to overhead power wires are the trolley pole and bow collector.