Getting the green light from the rail industry

Oct 14, 2013 | UPS & Standby Power

Schneider Electric has announced that it has achieved Network Rail PADS approval for its Automatic Supply Restoration system – a new way of ensuring uninterrupted power for critical signalling functions.

PADS approval is given to a range of products that meet Network Rail’s exacting standards to ensure they are safe, fit for purpose and pose no risk to rail infrastructure. Only PADS approved products can be used in rail applications.

Developed in conjunction with Network Rail’s Signalling Innovations Group, Schneider Electric’s Automatic Supply Restoration (ASR) system is the first non-protection-based system available for the rail market, which can restore power to signalling equipment following FSP or cable faults.

The system isolates the circuit fault then restores power automatically, thereby reducing any power interruption to less than 30 seconds. The ASR is plug and play, and does not require specialist engineers to fit or maintain it, thus reducing installation time and expense for rail operators and contractors.

With demand on the UK rail network at its highest since the 1920s, reducing delays caused by signalling failures is essential in keeping passenger and freight customers moving. Signalling failures are often caused by cable or equipment faults, cable theft or vandalism. By incorporating ASR in signalling installations, power can be rapidly restored to significantly reduce delays, improve safety and lessen the impact on customers.

John Davis, marketing manager at Schneider Electric said, “We are delighted with the PADS approval of our Automatic Supply Restoration system, as it reflects our commitment to research and development, enabling us to produce high quality and innovative products for the rail sector. Our Advanced Services team provides automation solutions for many industries and infrastructure projects where continuity of supply is critical, and they have successfully married together that experience with the needs of the rail network.”

The system comprises of three variants, local monitoring only, remote monitoring and full ASR. The ASR also benefits from the ability to integrate into new and existing power supply distribution systems, without affecting the current network and therefore minimising down-time.

For increased functionality, the system can also be utilised in a range of topologies namely radial, manual reconfigurable and automatic reconfigurable systems depending on the needs of the site.

Chris Hodges, the system architect and project manager at Schneider Electric commented, “I am thrilled to be able to transfer many years of experience in providing ASR systems to DNOs to a new part of the UK’s critical infrastructure. Using simple, robust technology we have improved supply availability for both new installations, whilst also extending the useful operational life of existing networks.”