ABB continues to offer innovative railway solutions that are sustainable, reliable and economically sound

2016-12-02 - ABB recently delivered and installed a medium-voltage outdoor compact substation module in Nyon, Switzerland. This is the 8th unit produced for Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) in the last seven years, as part of a retrofit campaign to upgrade existing coupling posts and to ensure the energy supply to the catenary is reliable.

Previous-Gardy section Post in Nyon (VD)

New Section Post in Nyon (VD)

Switzerland is known for its world leading public transit system, linking urban buses, trams and commuter trains to regional rack-and-pinion mountain trains and alpine buses. SBB railways is the core of this highly efficient transport network. With more than 87 percent of trains on time (Percentage of passengers who arrive on time or less than 3 minutes late), Swiss rail has a reputation as a reliable partner for commuters and travelers. SBB carries more than 440 million passengers and around 50 million tons of freight a year across 3,000 kilometers of track.

ABB has a range of power and automation products and solutions for the rail industry and a vast global installed base. Rail is an important strategic sector for ABB, particularly now that the world is experiencing greater urbanization, the need to move more people and freight faster, volatile fuel prices and is focused more on carbon emissions reduction.

Advantages of modular technology

ABB has a long history of innovation and this continues today with the modular design and small footprint of the compact outdoor railway substation module, which is shipped fully pre-assembled and factory tested. Traditionally coupling posts were assembled onsite, which involved a complex logistical process to bring together a wide variety of products from multiple vendors. The new outdoor railway module is a real advantage for rail operators like SBB, since they can now install the complete plug-and-play unit during a quiet night shift, minimizing the impact on passenger trains. The new medium-voltage outdoor compact substation module improves the reliability and safety of the traction power supply system, while eliminating inefficiencies in logistics and supply chain, and the possibility of lengthy shutdowns in rail services. The module can be delivered to the site by train, which also resolves site access issues. The compact, slim design is ideal for the long, thin strips of land typically available next to railway lines.

In addition to these benefits, the new module is manufactured using fewer resources, which is better for the environment. Less material for the same functionality is needed than that previously offered by containerized, gas-insulated switchgear. A reduction of steel use of 10 tons gives a simplified estimate of 300,000 MJ or 83 MWh steel manufacturing energy savings for the new module compared with older systems (assuming the energy required to manufacture steel is about 30 MJ/kg). Although these figures give only a ballpark figure, they are significant and should not be ignored by companies taking their environmental responsibility seriously. Furthermore, the ABB module contains no greenhouse gasses, since the circuit breakers FSG/GSL/FSKII are filled with environmentally friendly N2.

The module consists of circuit breakers or load break switches and disconnectors required for connection to trackside conductors (catenary and feeder), as well as autotransformers and other modules (where more than one module is used in a substation). In addition, the modules include the usual primary equipment such as current transformers (CTs), voltage transformers (VTs) or surge arresters.

The success of ABB’s outdoor railway module is reflected by SBB’s order for Nyon, the eighth unit acquired by SBB having already installed seven modules at locations in Les Palluds, Moutier, Croy-Romainmotier, Cully, Rosé, Cossonay and Lengnau since 2009.