Pantograph lifting and controls batteries are used in electric locomotives. Batteries used for pantograph lifting have a superior cycle life and can accommodate adhoc discharges during the course of the day. The pantograph is a mechanical device driven either pneumatically or by the use of hydraulics.
The battery actuates a compressor, which allows movement of the pantograph, to make contact with the overhead utility supply cable. The supply on these cables is between 3 to 25kV.
The batteries supplied for this application are mainly Valve Regulated Lead Acid (VRLA) AGM or Gel.
After the batteries are used to perform this function, the locomotive runs off AC power and the batteries are charged while the locomotive is in operation. The same batteries are used to jump-start other electric locomotives when their batteries run flat.