A quick-install ABB power innovation for Swiss rail network

A quick-install ABB power innovation for Swiss rail network

With 3,000 kilometers of track in the Swiss national rail network and one of the best punctuality rail records in the world, SBB was keen to break with this time-consuming and service-disrupting process. SBB approached ABB.

The ABB solution is highly flexible and can be adapted to meet the needs of any rail operator. It comprises pre-assembled, factory-tested medium voltage modules consisting of proven ABB power products for rail applications – load-break switches, circuit breaker, resistor, current transformer, voltage transformer, and control cabinet.

Pascal Gendre, project manager, SBB added “The ABB rail module is quick to install and doesn’t affect rail traffic. It has little need for maintenance, and the high voltage elements are reliable and proven. Its compact design allows for good integration with rail infrastructure.”

The solution is virtually maintenance-free, and has an innovative design that enables the entire module to be transported simply and efficiently in a standard ISO freight container.

Designed for plug and play operation, the medium voltage outdoor compact substation module improves the reliability and safety of the traction power supply system, while eliminating inefficiencies in the supply chain and logistics process and avoiding lengthy shutdowns of rail services.


Following the success of the prototype, which has been in operation since May 2010, SBB has placed repeat orders for seven additional modules in five different locations of the Swiss rail network.

The module solution is also operating in South Africa’s new Gautrain high-speed commuter rail link between Johannesburg, Pretoria and the OR Tambo International Airport. ABB provided a complete traction supply system for the rail link, comprising the main feeder substation and five outdoor mediumvoltage modules located at intervals along the 80-km route.