LB Foster Rail Products

Contact Rail Systems

Contact Rails

There are three basic contact rail systems in worldwide use today, and L.B. Foster Transit Products can provide whichever fits your system best. Each has its own unique advantages.

Steel rail/aluminum composite rail consists of aluminum strips fastened to the webbing of conventional or specially designed steel rail. The steel rail provides the height, wear surface, and base; the aluminum strip provides high conductivity. The steel and aluminum elements are joined by Huck-type fasteners assuring good steel-to- aluminum contact.

Aluminum rail is today's most advanced power rail, providing the best available electrical performance per pound of installed weight. The aluminum body is attached to a stainless steel wear strip. The aluminum provides high conductivity, while the stainless steel provides collector shoe wear capability matching that of steel rail.

Traditional non-composite steel rail, of course, has the longest performance record and has served reliably on many systems for over fifty years. At best, however, its electrical performance is half as good as the newer and more advanced systems described above. In addition, steel rail's weight per foot is greater as compared to the other two systems. Customers include virtually all North American heavy rail transit systems.

Discover the benefits of our contact rail's extraordinary performance and economy can bring to your transit operation.

Contact Rail Insulators

L.B. Foster Transit Products has both fiberglass and porcelain insulators for all types of transit and railroad applications. Contact us for any of your insulator installations, whether it be top running, under running or side running contact rail system.

We can offer either stock insulators or develop one specific to your application. Customers include virtually all North American heavy rail transit systems.


L.B. Foster's Transit Products division has developed coverboard systems that provide maximum protection for personnel and the power rail at economical prices. These systems have been installed across North America. Each one has been specifically designed to meet the transit agency's special criteria and to perform effectively under local climate conditions such as wind, snow and ice.

The coverboards are made predominately of a strong, lightweight fiberglass composite which provides high levels of electrical insulation and includes low-smoke, flame-resistant materials. They are easily installed on new or existing systems.

You can see the L.B. Foster Transit Product's coverboard systems in service in many U.S. transit systems- among them Washington's WMATA, Baltimore's MTA, Atlanta's MARTA, SEPTA, New York City Transit, Amtrak, San Francisco's BART, and Los Angeles' MTA.

Let us show you one of our existing coverboard systems, or design a new one to meet your special needs.
Discover the difference L.B. Foster contact rail coverboard systems can make in your transit operation.

Coverboard Brackets

We have strong coverboard bracket systems that are made from electrical isolating fiberglass material that is proven to withstand hostile environment. This material and the design of the brackets are such that they will hold the coverboards in place under heavy static and impact loads. The material also electrically isolates the contact power rail from ground. We have brackets for under running, over running and side running contact power rail systems that will work with all types of contact rail.

In addition to the fiberglass bracket systems, we have the steel brackets that attach to the wood ties, concrete ties and other structures.

Contact Rail Appurtenances

As part of the various contact rail systems that L.B. Foster Company can provide we offer end approaches (ramps/inclines), expansion joints, anchor systems, concrete tie extensions and concrete insert systems designed and proven to work. Let us provide you with our complete contact rail system or design one to meet your specific needs.


Please click here for a complete Transit Rail Products reference guide. pdf