UK: Network Rail has started a four-year programme to modernise and consolidate its electric power control network, covering traction power, signalling and telecommunications. The infrastructure manager says it is the country’s largest single consumer of electricity.

NR confirmed on September 12 that it had awarded a four-year contract to Telent which will see 16 separate electrical control systems replaced by a single national SCADA network. This will support its plans to migrate staff from the existing 13 electrical control rooms into eight of the 12 new Rail Operating Centres, where they will work alongside signallers and train controllers.

Head of Operations Development Chris Rowley said the move represented ‘one of the biggest changes to the way we operate the electrified network’. As well as increasing the reliability and efficiency of the power supply network, it would provide a firm foundation for further electrification schemes, some of which are due to come on stream by 2017.

Valued at £27m, the contract will see 20 SCADA server racks installed in the ROCs at Three Bridges and Manchester, to control the 750 V DC and 25 kV 50 Hz networks, together with workstations in the other ROCs, connected with 500 substation communication devices by 700 km of optic fibre links. Around 750 remote terminal units will be transferred to the new network and 250 new RTUs installed, mainly in southeast England.

According to Telent, the ‘fully-integrated system’ will include full voice and data communications that will operate over Network Rail’s fixed transmission network. The SCADA installation will provide enhanced monitoring of energy use and improved the response to operating incidents. Approximately 310 of NR’s staff will be trained to use the new systems.

NR has also awarded two further contracts covering the conversion of the Raynes Park, Selhurst, Eastleigh and Canterbury areas from electro-mechanical to digital control.