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ABB gets on track with first London Underground power project

ABB gets on track with first London Underground power project

ABB, the leading power and automation technology group, has made a major breakthrough on the London Underground with the first project to feature its state-of-the-art Relion IEC61850 compliant protection and control IEDs (intelligent electronic devices). The Relion IEDs will be installed at six substations currently under refurbishment for the SSR (Sub-Surface Railway) Upgrade Package 3B project to ensure the reliability and continuity of the uprated power supplies essential for the smooth running of London Underground’s new generation rolling stock.

This first Relion order for the London Underground is an early success for the new REF620 feeder protection IEDs that were launched on the UK rail market at Railtex 2013 in April. Under the contract to protect six switchboards, a total of 64 REF620 IEDs will be installed for the protection of feeders and 16 REB611 busbar IEDs will be installed to deliver differential zoned busbar protection. The order for the REB611s is also notable as it is ABB’s first UK reference project for this type of busbar device. As an integral part of the project, ABB will provide training to ensure the smooth integration of the Relion IEDs into the new switchboards.

The Relion 620 IEDs are compliant with the very latest IEC61850 standards and offer dual communications redundancy, sending data simultaneously using PRP (parallel redundancy protocol), HSR (high-availability Seamless Redundancy) and legacy protocols such as Modbus. This means they are compatible with existing network management systems (NMS) as well as having the capacity and compliance for future developments under the IEC 61850 standard.

The Relion 620 design also features an increased number of binary inputs and outputs, which means they can handle additional signals and alarms: a distinct advantage over alternative compact products. The compact design is also withdrawable, so should the need arise, they can be replaced within a few minutes, unlike comparable products, which are modular and would take several hours to replace. This can significantly reduce potential downtime.

Another operational benefit is that engineers can access the REF620 via a web interface for remote access to settings and data. ABB has also engineered out batteries, meaning that the IEDs are essentially maintenance-free.


Ian Hodkinson, Head of Distribution Automation in the UK said: “We’re delighted that London Underground’s engineers specifically requested ABB’s Relion 620 and 611 IEDs. This confirms that ABB’s technology is at the cutting edge of the fast developing IEC 61850 standard. With proposed extensions to the London Underground’s operating hours, it’s becoming ever more essential to deliver state-of-the-art technology that ensures maximum reliability and ease of maintenance.”