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Reliable Power Supplies for Electronic Signal Centres in the German Rail Network

ENERTRONIC I with optional Touchpanel
ENERTRONIC I with optional touch panel

The German rail network covers a length of over 33,000 km. In order to ensure problem-free rail transport, Electronic Railway Control Centres (ERCC) [German: ESTW] are of paramount importance. These are parts of the railway system which provide central switching for equipment on or beside the rail tracks (e.g. points and signals) and monitor train operations. The mechanical, electrical or electronic interactions between such equipment and the control centre are achieved via software and make a significant contribution to railway safety.

However, many of the older signal boxes are still in use with mechanical or electromechanical systems that carry a residual risk. For instance, at the beginning of the year, twelve people lost their lives in a rail accident in Bad Aibling which, according to press reports, was caused by a mistake on the part of a traffic controller. This is a tragedy that could most probably have been prevented through the use of an ERCC.

19” Rectifier module TEBECHOP 13500 SE
19” Rectifier module TEBECHOP 13500 SE

Powers supplies for Electronic Control Centres

For electronic control centres to process every instruction and operate without interruption, they must possess an extremely dependable power supply. BENNING has been supplying such dependable power supplies for this application since 2011.

In order to ensure better transport interconnections for the new container terminal in the Jade-Weser Port area on the Oldenburg-Wilhelmshaven railway section, three ERCCs were installed. In mid-2012, BENNING delivered the power supply systems for the ERCCs which consisted of one ENERTRONIC I UPS (with high short-circuit current), one mains distribution board, one rectifier system (24 V and 60 V) with increased insulation voltage, a logics cabinet and a control cabinet.

A similarly interesting ERCC project involves the renewal of old systems for conductors and safety technology along a substantial section of track. Delivery to the first six of ten sites was made in 2015. If there is a failure in the public mains supply that powers the electronic control centres during normal operation, an ENERTRONIC Rail frequency converter will be deployed as a redundant power supply facility. This converts the single-phase voltage from the catenary wire or the overhead power line (15,000 V and 16.7 Hz) into a three-phase supply (400 V and 50 Hz). This means that there is no need for a diesel generator to supply replacement power with the resulting emissions problems, thereby also protecting the environment.

Power supply for Telecommunications

However, BENNING Power supplies are not only used for railway control centres, but also in telecommunications systems within the rail network. BENNING has Deutsche Bahn approval for rectifier/power converter modules for their TEBECHOP 3000 HD, TEBECHOP 13500 SE, SLIMLINE and INVERTRONIC compact LV products. An example of where these products are successfully being used is in the Hamburg suburban rail system to ensure safe monitoring of the stations.

Further Information

contact: Winfried Hoffmann
telephone: +49 2871 93 208

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