Railway line with trees

Case Study

Increasing Rail System Performance

TE Connectivity (TE) and the French National Railway company worked together to design tailor-made dropper and a specific tool to ease the installation.

The French National Railway Company is a pioneer in the development and construction of high-speed railway lines. In order to ensure the dependability of its facilities, TE and the national rail player worked in detail together to develop an innovative dropper.

Droppers have a fundamental role in the overall railway system performance since they are key connectors of the catenary. 


The droppers used by the French National Railway were articulated at upper and lower parts, they had a good mechanical behavior but the articulations led to poor electrical performance.

To overcome this loss of electrical contact between the messenger and the contact wire, a distribution connection was installed every 200 meters (maximum).

The extra weight of the distribution connection could locally bend the contact wire which limited the speed of the train.

TE demonstrated its strength in an uncommon context. It clearly positioned itself as a key railway supplier thanks to an innovative solution.


Numbers of parts already in service


Year of the official approval of TE's droppers by the French railway utility


Numbers of droppers that have been installed between 2014 and 2016

The French National Railway company and TE engineering teams worked together to an innovative solution that would ensure high mechanical behavior without lower the electrical performance. 

They designed a dropper that provides two mechanical and electrical functions without any screw or bolt. 

In order to warranty high mechanical behavior, the dropper is still articulated at the upper and lower sides. Nevertheless, a binding cable has been added at both sides to make sure to consistently maintain electrical contact between messenger and contact wires. 

TE also developed a specific tool named SIMAGRIF to ease the installation of the new innovative dropper.

As a worldwide pioneer in the development and construction of high-speed railway lines, the national railway company needed to ensure the reliability and the speed of railway lines.

With decades of expertise and experience in designing and supplying products for demanding rail applications, TE worked on developing, testing and manufacturing this new dropper along with this new tool. 

TE's SIMEL droppers have been installed in the field for more than 20 years and are still offering reliable performances.