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Article Date: 28th January 2019

ABB Distribution Solutions - Network Rail gives the Green Light to ABB’s SMOS Light Switchgear

Network Rail - SMOS Light Switchgear - Rail Traction Substations

ABB’s SMOS Light switchgear

ABB’s Structure Mounted Outdoor Switchgear (SMOS) Light switchgear has received full approval from Network Rail following a stringent five-year review process. As a family of switchgear for rail traction substations, SMOS Light features nine standard modules that can be built up to create any configuration used on the UK’s rail network.

Approval under Network Rail’s Parts and Drawings System (PADS) means that engineers, consultants and contractors can now integrate SMOS Light throughout the UK. Only products and systems that have achieved PADS approval may be installed on Network Rail’s infrastructure.

The modular approach means that the switchgear offers significant benefits to Network Rail’s operators, project managers and construction engineers. It creates certainty for major programmes and saves money and time during projects, enabling faster delivery and demonstrating value-for-money for passengers and stakeholders.

SMOS Light has already been adopted under trial certificates for the Great Western, Gospel Oak to Barking, and Crossrail projects as well as on the test track at Hitachi’s Newton Aycliffe manufacturing site. ABB has supplied a total of 354 units and the switchgear is already in operation at 18 Network Rail substations, as explained in this video. In addition, Network Rail has given ABB permission to demonstrate the switchgear at the Dr Days substation near Bristol Temple Meads station.

Martin Henry, ABB’s Project Manager said: “ABB has worked hand in glove with Network Rail on the design of SMOS Light since 2013 due to its potential to enhance value-for-money for rail passengers. Having been deployed on a number of key UK lines the switchgear is already proven on the network. Achieving full PADS approval is a win-win for Network Rail and ABB as it offers the benefits of safer and faster delivery and lower prices.”

ABB’s SMOS Light switchgearThe standardised modular approach is a significant departure from Network Rail’s previous design philosophy for traction substations. As a result, the operator set strict criteria, significant test periods and exacting requirements during multiple ‘design gates’ over the five-year project to give full confidence in the nine modules when applied separately and in combination.

The switchgear is manufactured, assembled and factory tested as pallets at ABB’s rail centre of excellence in Switzerland, meaning that it can be installed on a plug-and-play basis. The nine modules integrate circuit breakers, disconnectors, earthing switches and load break switches in pre-approved arrangements to serve incoming feeders, outgoing track feeders, bus sections and autotransformer feeders. They can be built up into any configuration to meet a wide array of site-specific requirements.

Speaking about the modular design of SMOS Light, James Ashley-Clarke of Network Rail’s Electrification and Plant Design group, said: “Because SMOS Light is a palletised system, it’s customisable to Network Rail’s needs.”

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