Network Rail sees Light at the end of the tunnel

ABB has delivered SMOS Light modular substation switchgear and other critical infrastructure to improve rail efficiency and reliability from London to Swansea for Network Rail.

Network Rail's Crossrail project in London was the first deployment in the UK of ABB's Structure Mounted Outdoor Switchgear (SMOS) Light switchgear. The use of SMOS Light and FSKII+ outdoor vacuum circuit breakers helped reduce construction, testing and commissioning time by approximately 30 percent: all the equipment is combined within a modular steel structure, which is fully assembled and tested at ABB's railway center of excellence in Switzerland and delivered to the site ready for installation.

The customer's satisfaction with ABB's delivery for the Crossrail project has helped secure a further contract with Network Rail to deliver 223 SMOS Light modules to power the catenary at 29 sites along the railway. This adds to the 50 modules already installed on Crossrail and extends the improved rail infrastructure from London's Paddington station to the west of England and South Wales along the Great Western Main Line (GWML).

The GWML is predominantly non-electrified and operates using diesel trains. Network Rail along with its partners are investing over £7.5 billion on electrification to improve energy efficiency and customer satisfaction by allowing more frequent services, with greater capacity and shorter journey times.

Bruno Melles, managing director of ABB's Medium Voltage business said: "The GWML electrification program fits well with ABB's ambition to help transport and infrastructure customers improve their performance while lowering environmental impact.

"Our plug and play, fully-tested solutions enabled safe and efficient installation to support the customer's ambitious infrastructure projects. We worked in partnership with the customer to support them with the challenges of a complex project and are satisfied that we have met all their requirements on time."

"We used ABB equipment on this project because it best met the needs of the Great Western electrification program. It was very much a collaborative design between Network Rail and ABB, and so on the strength of this partnership, the delivery of the SMOS Light concept has now been extended to the Gospel Oak to Barking Line electrification projects as well," added James Ashley-Clarke, distribution design engineer, Electrification and Plant Design Group, Network Rail.

SMOS Light integrates all the key elements required for isolating the supply to the catenaries, as well as for sectionalizing of individual parts of the track during inspection and maintenance, including: the FSKII+ circuit breaker, disconnector and voltage transformers (VTs) and current transformers (CTs).

By installing SMOS Light, Network Rail is fulfilling its strategic business decision to move away from gas-insulated switchgear (GIS) to air-insulated switchgear (AIS) for all new projects where space permits. ABB is a pioneer and the world leader in AIS solutions suitable for rail transport applications.


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