Maintaining power for Queensland Rail

ABB feeder station upgrade to power New Generation Rollingstock project

ABB has been contracted to upgrade the Wulkuraka feeder station to ensure sufficient traction power supply is available to support Queensland Rail’s expansion plans for the south-east of the state.


Expansion plansThe New Generation Rollingstock (NGR) Project, announced in early 2014 by the Queensland government, is the key component of a public transport expansion plan that will see the states’ train fleet increase significantly to meet the growing demand for rail services in south-east Queensland. Construction of the new 75 six-car train fleet is already well underway by Qtectic.

The first train is slated for delivery in late 2015 and will undergo testing prior to being put into service on the network from mid-2016. The remaining NGR fleet will be progressively rolled out onto the network until late 2018.

Maintaining balanced power

A significant expansion of the train fleet requires increased train maintenance capacity, and a new purpose-built NGR maintenance centre is under construction at Wulkuraka, west of Ipswich to do this. The NGR train fleet will be serviced, maintained and repaired in the new NGR maintenance centre once it has been completed in 2016.

ABB was awarded the Wulkuraka feeder station upgrade project by the local rail operator Queensland Rail. The upgraded traction feeder station will provide traction power to the new purpose-built maintenance centre and the associated rolling stock on the main line and within the service centre. As part of the feeder station upgrade project, ABB will provide a complete turnkey solution, which includes a static frequency converter (SFC), modular switch room with gas-insulated medium voltage switchgear, civil works, installation commissioning and a two-year service contract.

The feeder substation is scheduled to be completed by the 3Q 2015 and will be the first 3AC 50Hz - 1AC 50Hz (hertz) rail SFC connected at 110kV, constructed by ABB. ABB’s SFC PCS 6000 will achieve greater power unity on the rail corridor’s power and filter any harmonic disturbances, thus greatly simplifying harmonic compliance requirements set by the electrical grid operator. 


SFC technology 

SFC’s are the standard solution for rail networks in central Europe on their 16.7Hz systems and in the United States of America on their 25Hz systems. SFC technology on a 50Hz rail network is not widely used in the world.

Prior to adopting this 50Hz SFC solution, Queensland Rail carried out extensive research on the technology and concluded that there are several advantages to using an SFC instead of the conventional single-phase transformer connections.

These include network issues with unbalanced loads, step changes in load and harmonics, plus better reactive support on both the three-phase and single-phase sides of the substation. The SFC can also load share with the adjacent feeder station thus giving greater strength to the power network.

According to Patrick Naidoo, ABB’s sales manager for Power Systems in Australia, “The new SFC will enable a balanced load for the customer by converting a three-phase input to a single-phase rail output. 

“Another important advantage is that ABB’s turnkey feeder station package is an efficient solution for the customer as ABB handles the project management, coordinating the various equipment suppliers and ensuring they come together to meet overall project objectives,” concluded Patrick.

ABB has a range of power and automation products and solutions for the rail industry and a vast global installed base. Increasing concern for the environment, rapid urbanisation, the need to move more people and freight faster and volatile fuel prices make rail a strategic focus sector for the company. 


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