Well, a few years ago, a problem of this nature could and was blamed on
the age and condition of the wires.
Today, we have fairly new wires and really a completely new catenary
system. In spite of the new catenary system, we still not only break
pantographs but when we do, the wires seem to come down everywhere.
In my opinion, this does not need to be. It all started around 1969 or
1970. On the former New Haven Railroad the pantographs were designed
to break apart or fall apart when tangled in the wires, general result,
broken and destroyed pantograph and some wire damage on the track
involved. We then went to the PRR GG-1 with a similar but much heavier
pantograph followed by M-2's with pantographs designed like battleships.
Next time you see an AEM-7, take a look at the pantograph on it, much
lighter weight and simpler construction. A round trip between Boston and
Washington is over 900 miles and yet we do not hear of the wires coming
down on three or four tracks all at once with these engines or on the
PRR side south of New York.
With realtively new wires etc, I think it is time to look at the construction
and or design of the pantographs on the Metro-North equipment.
I remember having pantograph problems on the old New Haven Railroad
equipment with both electric motors and MU equipment and not tearing
down the wires on three or all four tracks, generally only on the track we
were traveling on.
Problems are bound to happen in electric operation occasionally, the big
thing when these problems do occur is getting back in operation as quck
as possible. It is much easier and quicker when only one track is out and
not most of if not all of the railroad.