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The low frequency of the 16.7 Hz (pre-1995: 16⅔ Hz) power supply is historical baggage: it was meant to prevent sparks on the commutators of early brushed universal motors. However, having a separate railway power supply system does have its benefits: the whole railway grid can be of the same phase, with no need for phase breaks in the catenary. (Rail passengers can notice phase breaks on multiple units with underfloor motors – motor noise stops – or most air-conditioned vehicles – ventilation stops.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Oct 2nd, 2012 at 05:10:19 AM EST
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