Network Rail will install ABB’s new primary medium voltage gas insulated switchgear (GIS) at 11 sites to upgrade the power supply for the West Coast Main Line (WCML) between Stoke and Warrington
In 2012, ABB introduced the new version of its ZX GIS especially for railway applications. The ZX1.5-R models are based on the design of well-proven three-phase units and are designed to meet the requirements of two-phase high speed lines and single-phase 25 kV applications.

The new order is the first for the ZX1.5-R outside China, where it is supplying safe and reliable power along the entire length of the 968 kilometre Wuhan-Guangzhou high-speed railway line.

The switchgear is based on a modular and flexible design, with individual gas panels being housed in separate compartments for straightforward installation and operation. It features higher mean time between failures and lower mean time to recovery as a panel can be removed and the switchboard re-energised without any SF6 gas handling as the arc quenching gas is sealed for life into the switchgear units during manufacture.

Looking to the future, ABB anticipates that once it has proven itself on the WCML, it will receive Full Product Approval from the Network Rail Acceptance Panel.

It is also available as a ‘plug and play’ option as part of a compact substation package, which includes medium- and low-voltage switchgear, protection equipment and battery back-up systems in a robust steel container.

Panels of ZX1.5-R switchgear