Traction substations in row houses
The trams will continue to operate while the works take place. “We’re using a mobile traction substation, in the form of a shipping container, while we renovate the existing substations. This then temporarily takes over the old power cables to keep the service running,” explains De Meyer, who is the Equans project manager responsible for renovating and building the traction substations, which are installed in row houses across the city. “We’re demolishing these old, row houses and building new, fully equipped traction substations. The new buildings will look like normal houses when the work is complete, but one major challenge we have to overcome is that the city’s row houses are often high and deep, whereas a standard traction substation is usually installed all on the same storey. Installing all the large and heavy equipment such as transformers on different floors is difficult.”
Two partners in the consortium are delivering the custom materials, Siemens Mobility providing the high-voltage installations and rectifiers, and Tranzcom delivering the 600-volt and low-voltage traction installations. “Good communication and planning are essential when working with long delivery times for transformers and safety equipment, and making sure we avoid any delays,” says De Meyer. “Our subcontractor Cosimco is responsible for the civil engineering works while our department is mainly taking care of the assembly, installation, testing and safety checks. We currently have four different construction sites, with four traction substations already completed and one more still in its test phase.” In total, Equans is renovating 16 traction substations and building 11 new ones along with 2 drivers’ rooms.
“We’re being innovative by re-using the heat generated in the traction substation to heat the drivers’ rooms.”