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Express repairs to onboard traction transformers

Express repairs to onboard traction transformers

Thanks to its traction transformers expertise, ABB is able to provide a wide range of repair and maintenance services, bringing cost- and lifecycle effective solutions to day-to-day concerns of rail operators. Here is a focus on 2 examples.

The traction transformer is a crucial component in the traction chain, affecting train performance and operator services. But in case of a breakdown, quick solutions must arise to make it work again and prevent high operational costs. That is the reason why ABB has developed a strong customer orientation, offering service solutions ranging from diagnostics and preventive maintenance to upgrading, refitting and complete overhauls of equipment.

Thanks to its global presence, ABB is able to provide technical support anywhere at anytime. Then at ABB Service center in Geneva, the option of quick repairs plus a thorough inspection turned out to be the ideal solution for repairing the traction transformers on the NTN trains of the Swiss National Rail Operator SBB, as well as the traction transformers fitted on private operator Südostbahn’s (SOB) Re456 locomotives.

Indeed, SBB asked ABB to carry out an inspection and provide a detailed diagnostic assessment of the equipment. Noting a breakdown in the main coil with the entire transformer being contaminated by copper pearls, ABB completely exchanged the winding of the active part and the two tractors coils. It was possible to re-use the magnetic core and the complete tank, cover and piping after cleaning.

The same year, SOB also required ABB’s expertise for one of the transformers on its Re456 locomotives. When installed, this type of traction transformer is subjected to significant vibrational stress. After many years of service, “mechanical deformation” can be detected in the wooden beams during preventive maintenance operations. This type of mechanical stress can seriously affect the active part if suitable maintenance is not undertaken. To avoid serious failures, ABB proposed and carried out preventive maintenance to dismantle the transformer’s active part of the transformer and replace all the dunnage in order to restabilize it.


These two examples are perfect illustrations of how ABB aims to help its customers increase the reliability of on-board traction transformers while optimizing costs and life cycle.