Innovative traction power solution for UK rail network

24 July 2017

ABB has won a $20 million contract from Network Rail to provide a trackside power electronics solution for new high-speed electric trains
One of the UK’s main rail links is being prepared by its owner and operator Network Rail for the introduction of the a new 125 mph service using locomotives capable of running on both diesel and electric power. However, one section needs additional traction power for the main track and a new depot that will serve the new rolling stock.
To run on electricity, these trains will need around three times more power than is currently provided by the existing supply. A conventional solution is to construct a new high voltage grid connection, which can be costly and takes time to install.
As an alternative ABB has developed a Static Frequency Converter solution that will adapt the feed from the local distribution network, at an estimated total cost saving of 60 % compared with building a new HV connection.
In most cases, an SFC is installed to interconnect power networks operating at incompatible frequencies. In this case the SFC will not be converting the network frequency. Instead, it will convert the three-phase supply from the local distribution network (at 33 kV to the single-phase trackside supply of 25 kV.
ABB will deliver the complete SFC solution for Network Rail including the power electronics, transformers, switchgear and cabling. The company installed a similar SFC application to upgrade a feeder station at the Wulkuraka rail depot in Brisbane, Australia, to ensure sufficient traction power supply and support Queensland Rail’s expansion plans for its southeast region.



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