How circuit breaker innovations support rolling stock’s evolution

How circuit breaker innovations support rolling stock’s evolution

Energy requirements for rolling stock are evolving. To increase the sustainability benefits of rail, vehicles must become more energy efficient – and to make rail travel more attractive for passengers means putting more comfort and convenience functions on board. Circuit breaker advances by ABB are key.

Recognized for its low carbon footprint, rail is at the heart of sustainable mobility strategies, with smart passenger stations expected to play a key role in the smart cities of the future. Public expectations for rail travel are similarly high. Electrical distribution requirements for rolling stock vehicles still focus on energy efficiency and reliability, but now also include comfort, information, and entertainment functions.

With more than 120 years’ experience in rail, ABB has built a reputation for electrification and safety, installing more than 50 million products and systems on more than 40,000 vehicles worldwide. Safety and reliability remain the focus for the company’s developments for rail.

“Rolling stock vehicles have long working lives,” says Rudolf Vidacak, ABB Electrification global Rail Segment Manager. “We support rail operators across the whole lifecycle: from servicing and maintenance, to retrofit and upgrade projects. Reliability is more than the sum of its parts and the way this additional equipment is networked and controlled is crucial.”

ABB’s systems are designed to function in rail’s extreme environments with high vibration and shock protection. The company’s switching and protection products are smaller and lighter, helping to maximize capacity and energy efficiency.

Power devices coordinated

Meeting passenger expectations for comfort and convenience with more advanced HVAC functions and charging for phones and laptops, means new electrical loads and more power that must be distributed. In rolling stock vehicles, the control and distribution panels take energy from the auxiliary power converter and ensure that all the low voltage systems on board run smoothly: lighting, communications, brakes, as well as the HVAC.

With extreme weather events becoming more common, keeping air conditioning systems running smoothly is as important as ever. “Reducing the risk of HVAC failure is a question of power availability,” explains Alessandro Iubini, ABB Smart Power division global Rail Segment Manager.Our solutions provide the robust protection needed as well as enhanced control and monitoring functions. We do it by ensuring that core power devices coordinate properly with other systems – circuit breakers are key to keeping batteries online.”

As the main power supply for hybrid systems and as the exclusive power supply for auxiliary systems, battery power keeps the HVAC, control system, communication, brake compressors, signaling and lighting systems online when the main converter is disconnected or when a power outage occurs. Protecting the batteries and switching them intelligently is essential.

Designed for rail applications, ABB’s Tmax XT molded case circuit breakers run on less power, dissipate less heat, and are optimized for space savings. Used to protect batteries and switch them intelligently, the Tmax XT helps maximize operational flexibility.

Robust reliability protection

The increasing energy demands of rolling stock are a focal point for ABB’s development work, producing solutions that help lower operating costs with the quality and durability to ensure rail services operate reliably. The S(T)200 MTR miniature circuit breaker (MCB) demonstrates this. Specifically designed to provide all-in-one protection for IEC and UL traction applications, the S(T)200 MTR is not only the first MCB in the world to meet the NFPA 130 Standard; it is also the only MCB for traction with ring tongue terminals.

ABB has also introduced a range of new miniature circuit breakers with a higher breaking capacity of 25kA. These compact devices – just 17.5 mm - are designed for more energy-efficient carriages with more advanced electrical functions.

Find out more about ABB’s solutions for rail applications: CLICK HERE

  • Tmax XT4 molded case circuit breaker for rolling stock applications
  • S200 MTR miniature circuit breaker for rolling stock applications

Did you know?

ABB has expanded its railway solutions with plug sockets and USB chargers to improve passenger journeys. With a range of configurations and design finishes, ABB has the most comprehensive rail-certified offer available.


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