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. (may 2013)
third rail (top) at bloor-yonge station
) on the toronto subway
. energized at 600 volts dc, the third rail provides electrical power to the power-train, and ancillaries of the subway cars.
a picture of an nyc subway
train making contact with the third rail. the rail in the foreground is the third rail for trains in the opposite direction.
a third rail, also known as a live rail, is a method of providing electric power to a railway locomotive or train, through a semi-continuous rigid conductor placed alongside or between the rails of a railway track. it is used typically in a mass transit or rapid transit system, which has alignments in its own corridors, fully or almost fully segregated from the outside environment. third rail systems are always supplied from direct current electricity.
the third-rail system of electrification is not related to the third rail used in dual gauge railways.