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Bahnerdung - DEHN schützt die Bahninfrastruktur
DEHN stationary railway earthing

Stationary railway earthing

Securing rail operations – protecting people

Stationary railway earthing encompasses the entire earthing system for all structural components of the rail infrastructure.

In this regard, the main objective is the protection of people within the rail environment and the safeguarding of reliable rail operations.

With DEHN, you have found a one-stop shop for all the components
from specific railway earthing (earthing bridges, earthing connectors) to building earthing, right through to products for work safety.

Why railway earthing is necessary

Railway earthing protects people and equipment in the rail environment. It is necessary for preventing voltage being transmitted to people on the railway platforms or equipment in the event of damage; e.g. the severing of a contact wire.

Railway earthing refers to a current-resistant connection between all conductive components, the return circuit and the entire earthing at the substation. This connection must be resistant to short circuit currents, because parts of the operating current and, in the event of a fault, short circuit currents are carried along it.

A permanent connection with the return circuit (running rail or return wire) is established by earthing bridges and earthing connectors. The rail potential is also reduced as a result.
A direct connection to the return circuit is only permitted with AC traction systems, however. With DC traction systems, an indirect connection must be established using voltage-limiting devices due to the danger posed by stray currents.

Railway earthing is therefore always necessary in track systems around overhead contact lines and current collectors (i.e. areas where cables can be split or severed).

In Germany, DIN EN 50122-1 is an important standard for railway earthing concepts. Specifications from this European standard can be found in the policy "Bahn-Richtlinie RIL 997, Untergruppe 02" (German Rail Directive RIL 997, Subgroup 02), with the title "Rückstromführung, Bahnerdung und Potentialausgleich" (Return Circuits, Railway Earthing and Equipotential Bonding).


What needs earthing?

Primarily the following components, systems and installations must be earthed:


  • Catenary masts
  • Tracks
  • Steel or reinforced concrete bridges above tracks
  • Tunnel systems
  • Conductive components on and over platforms
  • Noise barriers
  • Conductive fences (e.g. wire mesh)
  • Earthing systems for power supply systems, control and safety technology and telecommunications systems

Make use of synergies

Benefit from the synergies of having just one supplier for materials for

  • railway earthing as per RIL 997.02 and
  • for general lightning protection construction (lightning protection earthing).
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Civil engineering

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Lightning protection construction

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Precast component construction

Which materials and cross-sections are suitable?

Railway earthing components must supply proof of short circuit withstand capability before obtaining approval from DB AG. This comes from the directive RIL 997.0205A01 "Elektrotechnische Anforderungen und Prüfbedingungen von Verbindungen" (Electrical Engineering Requirements and Test Conditions of Connections).

The test parameters are

Ik" 25 kA: Test current 25 kA, duration 100 ms
Ik" > 25 kA: Test current 40 kA, duration 100 ms

Railway earthing - product categories

DEHN earthing bridges

Internal, invisible connection

The earthing bridges cast in concrete are intended for earthing, return circuits and equipotential bonding. They are used for connecting internal and external earthing equipment.

A connection plate forms the interface element to the external, visible earthing system  – this ensures ideal contact with the earthing connectors.

The connection to the internal, subsequently no longer visible, earthing is ensured by a copper-coated steel sheath using a defined welded connection.

DEHN earthing connectors

External, visible earthing

Earthing connectors are bolted onto earthing bridges that are embedded in concrete. They continue the invisible, internal railway earthing. For the purpose of inspection, the bolted connection must be accessible from outside at all times after completion. Steel is the material of choice here. If nothing else to prevent damage caused by theft; something which unfortunately-happens with copper components all too often.


Good to know:
You can also find products for the earthing of large-diameter pipes i.e. partially visible, partially invisible connectionsin the DEHN portfolio for railway earthing.

Product range

DEHN traction system earthing A - D BEB 4-Flex B - D BEB 29-NF C - D BEB 26 D - D BEB 1 E - D BEB 11 F - D BEB 40 G - D BEB 0-x

Have you got any questions? Contact us.

Technical support

Phone: +49 9181 906 1750

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