Do New Trams Mean New Power?

At a Glance

  • Client(s)
  • Public Transport Victoria (PTV)
  • Project Location(s)
  • Melbourne, Australia
LTK-designed railcarNew trams meant PTV needed a traction power and system capacity analysis. 

Public Transport Victoria (PTV) in Melbourne, Australia, operator of the largest tram network in the world, was concerned about traction power system overloads as it introduced new, heavier and higher-performance trams to its network, cascading older tram models to other lines. PTV needed to rapidly identify the most cost-effective traction power upgrade program that would support reliable operation of the new and cascaded fleet assignments.

Through our Australian subsidiary, NDYLTK Rail, LTK developed a comprehensive operations and electrical simulation model of the Melbourne tram network. The network includes 24 routes with multiple shared segments and a total of 1,739 stops on 504 km (313 miles) of track.  It includes 105 substation rectifiers, 258 dc circuit breakers and 610 section insulators for power sectionalization.

LTK’s TrainOps® software was used to evaluate traction power system upgrades, to accommodate the introduction of 110 E-Class trams, and the cascading of older D-, C-, B-, and A-Class trams to other routes. PTV had identified 33 potential traction power upgrades and the TrainOps results were used to classify each project as Core or Resilience Projects. Core Projects were able to maintain adequate line voltage or to keep line currents at a level that can be protected with existing breakers. Resilience Projects improved the operational reliability of the system to a level beyond the current condition.

The TrainOps simulation model runs confirmed the need for an absolute minimum of 15 of the proposed substations, all classified as Core Projects.  A total of six of the traction power upgrades were classified as Resilience Projects and four were found not to be required, reducing PTV’s capital program costs. Finally, one traction power project was recommended for repositioning to a more optimal location; with this change, it was reclassified as a Core Project.