Maritime & Transport / Rail

ABB – Innovations in Light Rail DC Traction Networks

20150319_dsc6729The renaissance continues for Light Rail in Australia. New and ongoing investment from state and federal government is highlighting LRT as the preferred transport mode to effectively, efficiently and sustainably move people around our cities.

The Australasian Railway Association (ARA) and Informa are delighted to host the 4th annual Light Rail Conference and Exhibition at the Crowne Plaza Surfers Paradise on the 21st and 22nd February 2017. The program is set to provide project updates from around Australia as well as discuss items such as network planning, design, management and integration, customer care, safety considerations and technology innovation.

LRT – An attractive transport solution

ABB provides leading digital technologies for the rail industry and will sponsor and speak at Light Rail 2017 on the Gold Coast. Jarman Stephens, ABB’s Electrical and Computer Systems Engineer reckons LRT is such an attractive transport solution as trams “are often viewed by the general public as being an open and engaging transport solution which often complements the urban development visions within modern metropolitan areas. Additionally, as an electric form of transport, an LRT system does not contribute to direct emissions in metropolitan areas and provides an opportunity for the network to be powered from a more diverse renewable energy mix.”

abb-logo-onlyMr Stephens will give a presentation at Light Rail 2017 looking at innovations in light rail DC traction networks and says about the topic; “When comparing a modern LRT vehicle fleet with a fleet in operation 30 years ago, one can see many technological advancements in accessibility, comfort, efficiency and control. Today, the DC wayside substation is undergoing comparably important advancements. In an effort to reduce a network’s total energy consumption, many modern light rail networks are composed of vehicles with regenerative braking capability. Advancements in power electronics and storage technology have created a range of wayside devices which, among other benefits, can harness excess braking energy by either storing it for later use or by recuperating it back to the AC grid. Additionally, by combining a transformer and rectifier into a single integrated transformer rectifier design, the land requirements of a traction power substation can be minimized.

Such advancements are important in the LRT industry because they represent a capex and opex reduction.”

Challenges facing the industry: 

With many new infrastructure projects being planned, designed and delivered there will inevitably be challenges encountered during the process. Mr Stephens reflects that “cost (of these projects) can be a daunting figure to many. Additionally, the preference of many Australians to continue their urban sprawl and private vehicle use has created a cultural barrier to maximised adoption of public transport systems.”

Speaking about 3 wishes that could make the delivery of LRT more efficient, safer and productive the following topped his list:

Wish 1: The industry would develop more complex models of their DC traction networks in order to optimise future investments.
Wish 2: Transport authorities would work together to develop more dedicated light rail corridors.
Wish 3: I wish for 3 more wishes.

Light Rail 2017 Conference and Exhibition 

ABB will be joined by a host of industry leaders at the conference for two days of discussion, knowledge sharing and networking. We also look forward to hearing from our International Speaker Terry Wong from MTR Corporation Limited in Hong Kong relating to the operation of Hong Kong’s Light Rail Network.

Jarman is “looking forward to learning about new and exciting disciplines within the LRT industry. He also has “a key interest in learning how social and economic factors can be combined with engineering principles and best integrated into the technical design of existing and future LRT networks.”

If you are interested in viewing the full speaker lineup and agenda please visit the conference website. You can also register at the Early Bird Rate until Friday 23rd December and ARA members also benefit from a further reduced rate.

Thank you to Jarman Stephens for his comments and we look forward to welcoming ABB as Lanyard Sponsor for Light Rail Conference and Exhibition 2017.

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