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ABB and UKPN win £100m substation contract


30 high-voltage auto-transformer traction power substations for Maidenhead-Cardiff

A consortium of ABB and UK Power Networks Services has won a £100 million contract for Network Rail’s Great Western electrification programme.

The consortium is to build more than 30 new high-voltage auto-transformer traction power substations for the route from Maidenhead to Cardiff. It estimates that around 100 new UK jobs will be created.

Stephen Trotter, Managing Director, ABB UK Power Systems UK & Ireland, 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.’

The heart of the GWEP substations will be provided by ABB’s Structure Mounted Outdoor Switchgear (SMOS) Light modular concept, designed to help railway infrastructure owners cut about 30 per cent of the time required for construction, testing and commissioning of traction power distribution switchgear. 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 is completed with ABB’s protection and control concept developed to suit Network Rail’s own Rationalised Autotransformer Scheme (RATS). ABB says this is an especially sophisticated method of deploying IEC 61850 to achieve a lower-cost substation solution. The 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.

Stephen Trotter continued: ‘Our System Verification Centre (SVC) at Stone, which is unique in the UK market, has played a crucial part in demonstrating how ABB can de-risk the project. Because the capability to simulate not only the operation of a complete substation, but also to carry out a complete automated factory acceptance test (FAT) of our solution, has provided a high degree of confidence that the consortium will meet the programme schedule and required functionality.’

Following the contract signing, the consortium will mobilise to create a fully-integrated and collaborative project delivery team with ABB and UKPN Services colleagues deployed in Swindon, London and Stone.

Stewart Dawson, Director of UKPN Services, said: ‘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.’

UK Power Networks Services will use their design, installation and commissioning expertise gained on previous and existing major projects across the rail and distribution networks within key transportation hubs to deliver civil construction, associated cabling works and final commissioning. The consortium working in collaboration with all parties and stakeholders will be undertaking the role of principal contractor for all works associated with the GWEP traction power programme

The first GWEP substation will be delivered around June 2015 with the remainder of the substations by March 2017.

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