Power on the line

ABB announced today that it has won a $13 million contract to upgrade a substation that feeds power to a major railway line in the UK.

ABB has today won a $13 million contract to upgrade an existing substation that feeds power to a major railway line in the U.K. The contract has been awarded by National Grid, the national electric utility.

The creation of the new substation is one of several planned for the West Coast Main Line, one of Europe’s busiest railways, carrying over 2000 passenger and freight trains every day. It will enable Network Rail, the railway operator, to upgrade its local trackside power supplies to the 50 kV system required for high-speed rail services.

ABB will be responsible for providing Network Rail with two 400/25 kV connections. This involves the installation of two new ABB supergrid transformers at the 400 kV National Grid substation, one connected into an existing spare bay, the other into a new bay.

Also included is the construction of a joint National Grid/Network Rail 25 kV compound and associated switchgear, and the provision of 25 kV XLPE cables and associated fibre optic pilots between the two sites.

In this system for high-speed services, supplies are distributed down the trackside as a centre-tapped to earth 50 kV system with trackside auto transformers feeding conventional 25 kV supply to the locomotives via catenary and pantograph.

Compared with the conventional 25 kV system involving booster transformers, this arrangement provides economies in the number of feeder stations required to supply traction loads and reduced interference on communications circuits.