The Rail Electrification Alliance has successfully switched into service the new substation at Welwyn, on the East Coast Main Line (ECML).
Completed over the weekend of 12/13 November, the commissioning was a major milestone for the alliance (VolkerRail, Network Rail, Siemens, J Murphy and Sons, TSP Projects Limited and Jacobs), responsible for the delivery of Network Rail's ECML Power Supply Upgrade Project, Phase 1 - one of a number of enhancement schemes on the 393 mile route, in support of the Government's Intercity Express Programme (IEP); which will see the introduction of faster and more environmentally friendly trains, providing an improved service for passengers.
Running from Wood Green, London to Bawtry near Doncaster, PSU Phase 1 is the enhancement/modification of the existing power supply to accommodate IEP's new trains and involves the construction of seven new electricity substations, the replacement of a further twelve on existing sites and five refurbishments (24 in total).
The substations themselves utilise switchgear – the combination of switches and circuit breakers to control the flow of electricity to the railway. For the PSU Phase 1, this equipment will be located either internally in a stand-alone modular building (containing air-insulated switchgear) or will be located externally, using a system called structure mounted outdoor switchgear (SMOS).
The weekend work, saw the commissioning of one of the first of those substations at Welwyn, which uses the SMOS layout, with further commissionings to follow over the Christmas period at Essendine and Langley Junction.
Commenting on the successful switch-on of the new substation at Welwyn, Rod Moorcroft, Director of the Rail Electrification Alliance said: "This is a milestone moment for the project and helps pave the way for the delivery of the other substations and supporting works, including the renewal/refurbishment of overhead line equipment and telecommunications and SCADA (Supervisory Data Control and Acquisition) systems."