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ABB on track for rail electrification

ABB on track for rail electrification

ABB and UK Power Networks Services have joined forces in a consortium to deliver a turnkey project for the creation of 30 new traction power substations (25-0-25 kV) for Network Rail’s Great Western Electrification Programme. Worth in the order of £100 million split 50:50, the project will mean that journeys on the Great Western railway will be more reliable, greener and smoother for passengers, as well as quieter for people living near the railway.

Speaking about ABB working with UK Power Networks Services, Stephen Trotter, Managing Director for ABB’s Power Systems Division in the UK said: “ABB is a recognised UK leader in substation technology. UK Power Networks Services has an excellent long-term reputation with Network Rail for delivering substations with a high content of civils and cabling elements, demonstrated in many successful projects over the last five years. We therefore dovetail perfectly to create the ideal consortium to deliver the GWEP substations.”

Stewart Dawson, Director of UKPN Services added: “This is a great opportunity for both our companies to build on an existing long, successful relationship and demonstrate our complimentary areas of expertise and to support Network Rail’s investment in infrastructure projects.”

The consortium has mobilised to create a fully-integrated and collaborative project delivery team with ABB and UKPN Services colleagues deployed in Swindon, London and Stone. The work programme will create about 100 new UK jobs helping with the continued development of both consortium partners’ apprentice and graduate programmes.

The heart of the GWEP substations will be provided by ABB’s unique Structure Mounted Outdoor Switchgear (SMOS) Light modular concept, described on page 16. This type of switchgear fits Network Rail’s policy of reducing its environmental impact by minimising the use of SF6 gas in equipment.


The turnkey substation solution will be completed with ABB’s protection and control systems developed to suit Network Rail’s Rationalised Autotransformer Scheme (RATS). This is a sophisticated method of deploying the IEC 61850 standard designed to achieve a lower-cost substation solution. Protection and control equipment will be installed in a portable, fully-containerised Auxiliary Equipment Enclosure (AEE) that brings together all the vital protection and control cubicles and accessories in a fully-tested factory assembled package that creates what is virtually a plug-and-play solution.