Schneider Electric keeps rail powered with Compact Principal Supply Point

Schneider Electric, the global specialist in energy management and automation, offers an innovative solution to secure the power supply of the rail industry. The Compact Principal Supply Point (PSP) is an integrated solution that provides reliable and consistent signalling supplies at a lower cost. It’s innovative design and reduced size enable easier installation and greater supply security and efficiency for railways and other forms of transport infrastructure.

The UK’s rail network is faced with burgeoning demand from passenger travel and the rail freight industry as well as the consistent need for asset replacement. Operators must also ensure the safety, security and reliability of the transport infrastructure, while being under intense pressure to reduce costs while boosting electrical efficiency. With the sheer number of power-crucial assets distributed across the country’s railways, physical space has become a commodity as operators search for the most efficient, low-impact solutions.

The Compact PSP from Schneider Electric is the ideal response to the challenges faced by the rail industry. It serves as a high-end signalling replacement for the large and inefficient relocating equipment buildings (REBs) often used trackside. It delivers reliable signalling supplies up to 20kVA, or up to three secure signalling power supplies at 650V, at a fraction of the cost of a conventional PSP housed in a REB.

The Compact PSP offers two modes of simultaneous operation. On the base level, it provides crucial rail infrastructure the secure signalling supplies they require to operate and ensure a reliable supply of power. The Compact PSP also serves as a connected monitoring tool that tracks equipment status and alerts supervisors to detected faults. A local display screen aids the fast resolution of issues, while the presence of a remote terminal unit opens the possibility of remote monitoring for continuous surveillance and more effective maintenance.

Schneider Electric’s embedded Vigilohm monitoring devices underpin the solution’s fault detection capabilities. It contains intelligent, molded case circuit breakers, insulation monitoring and Class II insulation, ensuring its suitability for use in an IT signalling distribution network.

One of the primary advantages of the Compact PSP is its small size and highly efficient use of space. It is erected on a standard location case base, with none of the bespoke foundations required by REBs that must be cast in situ. This drastically reduces installation costs by eliminating the need for expensive, initial civil engineering work.

The compactness of the solution also provides increased flexibility in positioning. This makes the compact PSP ideal in track-side areas where space is limited or for isolated islands of signal assets where a conventional PSP would not be cost effective. A large area of land with access for delivery of a REB is no longer required. It also allows for the placement of more than one PSP on a single section of track, increasing efficiency whilst reducing cable sizes and the overall cost of deployment.

Despite its small size, the Compact PSP is designed for the most challenging outdoor environments. Its internal components are protected from the effects of extreme climatic conditions, guaranteeing normal operation in high and low temperature environments and under heavy winds, rain and snow. The solution also features a built-in, rack-mounted uninterruptible power supply (UPS) with integral bypass switching and automatic UPS bypass capabilities.

Tom Mennell, general manager of low voltage distribution at Schneider Electric, said: “The natural trend of technology is towards greater efficiency and minimisation. The Compact PSP not only provides rail with vital signalling supplies, it satisfies the needs of rail operators seeking truly intelligent solutions that monitor, control and optimise their electrical assets. Yet, it manages to do this at a fraction of the cost and size of your traditional REB, marrying both efficiency and value.”

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