Projects View

ABB power technologies to support expansion of Swiss rail network




ABB power technologies to support expansion of Swiss rail network


Geneva, Switzerland



Estimated Cost:

$16 Million


ABB has received an order of around $16 million from Swiss Federal Railways (SBB), to supply two Static Frequency Converters (SFC) that will enhance the availability, reliability and quality of power supply to support the expansion of the rail network in the Geneva area. The order was booked in the fourth quarter of 2017.

SBB transports over 360 million passengers and 50 million tons of freight a year. The rail operator has recently initiated multiple development programs in the Geneva area. This includes a 6 billion Swiss francs investment aimed at doubling the seat capacity on the route between Lausanne and Geneva, as well as introduction of new cross-border commuter trains in western Switzerland.

Energy demand increases with transportation volumes and the rail power network needs to be en-hanced to ensure availability, reliability and quality of power supply. The deployment of ABB’s SFC solution is one of SBB’s initiatives to reinforce power supply to the Geneva rail network (“Multiprojet Ali-mentation Genève”).

The order includes delivery of two 40 Megawatt Rail ‘SFC Light’ units. The high end, robust technology is a Multi Modular Converter (MMC) developed specifically for AC railway power supply. The units will be placed at the Foretaille substation to convert power from Swissgrid’s 220kV/50Hertz (Hz) three phase utility grid to SBB’s 132kV/16.7Hz railway power grid.

“We are delighted to be part of SBB’s impressive rail capacity expansion project,” said Patrick Fragman, head of ABB’s Grid Integration business, a part of the company’s Power Grids division. “The innovative converter technology being deployed by ABB can meet the most demanding requirements, ensuring reliable performance and cost-effective operations, supporting our commitment to sustainable mobility.”

SFCs enable the connection of three-phase alternating current (AC) public grids operating at a different frequency, to single-phase railway power grids. They not only act as a voltage and reactive power source, but can handle the smooth and interruption-free transition from interconnected system operation to island mode in case of grid disturbances.