University of Leeds Enters Agreement to Research ECML Power Supply

The University of Leeds and the companies working on the power supply upgrade of the East Coast Main Line have signed a co-investment agreement worth 10 million GBP.

The agreement aims to encourage research into the best and most efficient way of managing the electrical power flow on to the route. The East Coast Main Line is one of Britain’s major railway arteries linking London to Scotland via Yorkshire. It carries 20 million passengers annually and it is expected to get busier and see the introduction of faster electric trains, including high-speed trains.

The electrical power system is being upgraded, along with the installation of new track and signals, as part of a 1.2 billion GBP investment into the line called the East Coast Upgrade. The research enabled by this agreement should last two years.

Leeds University enters into a 10m GBP agreement with the REAL Alliance to research power supply on the ECML

Leeds University enters into a 10m GBP agreement with the REAL Alliance to research power supply on the ECML

East Coast Main Line Power Upgrade

Upgrading the power supply on the East Coast Main Line will require the installation of new substations, 1,600km of cables and overhead line equipment. The upgrade will allow more electric trains to run on the line.

Scientists and engineers from the University of Leeds will get access to data gathered by a number of lineside static frequency converters. These devices manage the flow of electrical power from the National Grid to the overhead lines. They will use this data for modelling to determine how well the power system is performing.

Peter Woodward, Professor of High-Speed Rail and Director of the Institute for High-Speed Rail and System Integration at Leeds, said:

“The electrification upgrade of the East Coast Main Line will create one of the most advanced and efficient rail arteries in the world.

“At the heart of that rail system is the electrical power that drives it. There has to be enough power available to enable the trains operating on the line to run at speed and at full capacity.

“This research will see University and rail industry engineers working closely together to identify the most efficient and effective ways to manage that power system.”

 

The consortium of companies involved in upgrading the power supply – the Rail Electrification Alliance (REAL) – is made up of Network Rail, VolkerRail, Siemens Mobility, J Murphy and Sons, Jacobs and Systra. It is with this consortium that the University of Leeds will collaborate.

Keith Earnshaw, Engineering Director, REAL Alliance, said:

“Through analysis of the data, we want to get a detailed understanding of how trains and other rolling stock are using the power that is being fed on to the network and importantly, are we getting the most effective use of that power.

“We also want to ensure that the power that is coming on to the line does not result in power surges or other electrical interference that could disrupt other rail equipment.

“Our aim is to have a system that is efficient and reliable, and this research will eventually enable us to access a digital power map of the UK’s network to ensure that the future electrification projects are designed as efficiently as possible.”

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