. The problem is that the third rail has a very limited capacity for absorbing a sudden flood of electrical energy. As a result, the voltage of the third rail rises considerably. However, the third rail voltage is controlled within narrow limits to avoid system instabilities. If the voltage rises too much (as when slowing at a passenger stop), the excess energy must be dissipated. The third rail is then connected to a resistive load, and the braking energy is converted into waste heat.
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