Schneider Electric: The high price of inefficiency and the railroads fighting back


Railways are missing out on opportunities to increase operational efficiency

Passenger and freight rail activity is expected to double by 2050. But even today, many railroads lack full visibility into their subsystems and how they interact because the subsystems operate in silos. This lack of integration negatively affects the overall efficiency and performance of the railways.


These 3 subsystems are the main optimization targets

Let’s take a closer look at the three railway subsystems where improvements are often needed:

Railway electrical distribution – Electrical distribution subsystems are the backbone of railways as they ensure that railways have a reliable and always available power supply for critical and auxiliary consumers, such as traction substations and overhead lines . For example, power distribution subsystems prevent downtime with automatic power restoration features that isolate faults and automatically restore power to unaffected areas of the system.

Tunnel managementRail tunnel management subsystems control and manage tunnel ventilation and auxiliary systems, as well as other functions such as telecommunications, emptying and signaling using an integrated solution.

Management of passenger stations – The railroad passenger station subsystem, which includes power systems, building facilities and third-party subsystems, is managed using integrated control systems. For example, railroads could use a building management system to help manage ventilation in an underground subway station.


Step 1: Optimize and centralize each of these subsystems

The first step towards optimizing subsystems involves remote centralization.

Railways that adopt remote centralized management of subsystems now have new ways to improve operational efficiency as they can remotely manage, monitor and control subsystems from their control center. For example, passenger stations can use centralized remote management to control station HVAC, lighting, elevator and escalators to maximize operational efficiency while ensuring passenger comfort and safety. .

They can also use these capabilities remotely to monitor subsystem performance, as railroads can access real-time information about asset health. This allows operators to quickly identify and resolve maintenance issues without even leaving the building. The result is less time spent on maintenance and the elimination of unplanned downtime.


Step 2: Integrate subsystem data to get a complete picture

Railways have better visibility when looking at subsystems as a whole – rather than by individual systems. Why is it important to have end-to-end operational visibility? Railways cannot improve their efficiency if they do not know how systems and data are used.

A Unified Operations Center (UOC) aggregates and visualizes data from individual subsystems to give railroads a single window view. A UOC that uses a “system of systems” approach can converge process and non-process information sources such as HMI/SCADA, analytics, engineering diagrams, and GIS sources under a single platform. -form. Centralized operations also bring other efficiencies. For example, they improve integration and collaboration between functional departments by allowing them to share information and coordinate day-to-day activities and processes.

ADIF has increased operational efficiency by 20% by focusing on the subsystems that power this overview

Spanish railway ADIF is focusing on developing its high-speed rail network – the longest in Europe – and modernizing its rail infrastructure. The result of this growth is that ADIF must now centrally manage nearly 3,300 kilometers of high-speed rail network with more than 170 electrical substations.

It does this by using Schneider Electric’s centralized energy management application for traction substations and auxiliary systems. This technology provides a unique, real-time view of the national high-speed rail network through integrated main and backup control centres. It optimizes energy through integrated energy monitoring and management systems. The result is a reliable power supply for traction and signaling systems using 1,000 cabinets covering the entire network. It has already led to a 20% improvement in operational efficiency.


Find out how to improve the operational efficiency of your railroad

To learn more about tools that enable data analytics to drive business productivity, explore the websites for Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure for Rail & Urban Transportation and AVEVA Unified Operation Center solutions.

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