ABB maintains track record

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National Grid has awarded ABB a ?13m contract to enhance the power supply on the West Coast Main Line.

Railway operator, Network Rail, must upgrade its local trackside power supplies to the 50kV system required for high-speed rail services.

To enable this, ABB is providing two 400/25kV connections, which involves the installation of two new ABB supergrid transformers at the 400kV National Grid substation ? one connected into an existing bay, the other into a new bay. Also included is the construction of a joint National Grid/Network Rail 25kV compound and associated switchgear and the provision of 25kV XLPE cables and associated fibre-optic pilots between the two sites.

Supplies are distributed down the trackside as a centre-tapped to earth 50kV system, with trackside auto transformers feeding conventional 25kV supply to the locomotives via catenary and pantograph. Compared with conventional systems involving booster transformers, this arrangement, says ABB, provides economies in the number of feeder stations required to supply traction loads and reduced interference on communications circuits.

To date, ABB has won all the power orders for the north-bound section of the West Coast Main Line.