A consortium of Swiss power and automation technology firm ABB and UK Power Networks Services has secured a $145m contract from Network Rail to deliver improvements across southern England and Wales.

The contract forms a part of the Great Western Electrification Programme, and is the first sizable new electrification project by Network Rail over the past 30 years.

The consortium will deliver over 30 new traction substations, which will be based on ABB’s modular Structure Mounted Outdoor Switchgear Light concept. They will enable railway infrastructure owners to reduce the time required for construction, testing and commissioning by around 30%.

"These substations will provide additional supply of quality power and facilitate the expansion."

ABB power systems division head Claudio Facchin said: "These substations will provide additional supply of quality power, facilitate the expansion and upgrade of this important rail network that will benefit passengers and the community at large."

The substations will also include ABB’s advanced protection and control concept, global IEC 61850, which was developed to suit Network Rail’s own Rationalised Autotransformer Scheme.

The protection and control cubicles and accessories will be installed in a portable auxiliary equipment enclosure.

Substations will also feature ABB’s advanced eco-efficient power distribution switchgear that will help in mitigating environmental challenges.

The first substation is slated to become operational in 2015 and the project will be completed in 2017.