ABB to deliver complete traction chain to upgrade Romania’s locomotives

ABB to deliver complete traction chain to upgrade Romania’s locomotives

  • Retrofit project for CFR Călători will enable 19 locomotives to operate with high energy efficiency and reliability
  • Contract signed in December 2023 sees ABB partnering with local contractor Reloc in a project supported by an EU development fund
  • New transformers, converters and electric motors supplied by ABB will support the locomotives in reaching top speeds of 160 km/h verses the current 120km/h

ABB secured a large order to deliver the complete traction chain to upgrade 19 of the 5100-kilowatt (kW) locomotives operated by CFR Călători, Romania’s state-owned railway passenger transport company. ABB will supply the traction equipment, comprising transformers, converters and electric motors, in partnership with Reloc, a local contractor specialized in the overhauling and modernization of locomotives operating in Romania and the general Balkans region. The order was booked in Q4 2023.

The project will help to bring Romania’s locomotives up to high levels of energy efficiency and reliability to align with European transport standards. This is a crucial issue since the country’s aging public transport infrastructure means that its passenger trains currently run at an average speed of only 40 km/h. In recognition of the urgency of the situation, the locomotive upgrading project is being funded by Romania’s National Recovery and Resilience Plan (PNRR) supported by the EU.

The refurbishment of the 19 LE 5100 Co’Co’ with modern traction system is expected to bring significant energy and maintenance savings, while also increasing traction power to 6 MW. The use of modern IGBT traction converters with new traction transformers and AC traction motors will enable overall drive train efficiency improvements of around 5% versus the old traction system with thyristor rectifier and DC motors. In addition, 15% energy savings are expected to be achieved through the recuperation of energy during braking.

“On time delivery coupled with energy efficient solutions is critical to this project” says Gratian Calin, Chairman of Reloc, “The ability to meet challenging deadlines, combined with their expertise to offer significant efficiency improvement and drive chain competence made ABB the obvious choice of partner to secure the success of this project.”

“We are delighted to be working with Reloc on this critical retrofit project that helps put CFR on track to eventually allow its passenger trains to run at a top speed of 160 km/h versus the current 120 km/h . Boosting the reliability of CFR’s locomotives will be key to this success as each one is expected to clock up some 278,000 km a year,” says Roger Affolter, Head of Retrofit, ABB Traction. “That is where ABB’s capability to provide the complete traction chain, fully tried and tested for tough conditions, really creates value.”

Each of CFR’s 5100 kW locomotives will be retrofitted with a traction transformer, two CC 1500 MS traction converters and six AMX 500 traction motors.


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