The Queensland Government’s new $13 million, 23 tonne electrical substation at Fortitude Valley will soon be online, providing a major reliability to boost the South East rail network.

The new substation, to be fully commissioned by the end of February 2018, will effectively split Queensland Rail’s inner-city power supply into two – isolating Roma Street and Central stations from Fortitude Valley and Bowen Hills stations.

QLD Minister for Transport and Main Roads, Mark Bailey, said this would ensure at least one side of the city network remained energised in the event of an unplanned power trip, caused by unforeseen events such as storms, debris, or wayward possums.

“This will allow trains to enter the city and turn back at Bowen Hills from the north, or Roma Street from the south and west,” Mr Bailey said.

“Currently, if there is an unplanned power outage in the inner-city area, it affects all trains between Albion and Windsor in the north, and South Brisbane and Milton in the south and west, effectively grinding the inner city network to a halt while electricians work as quickly as possible to rectify the issue.

“This innovative project will significantly boost the resilience and reliability of the inner-city network in times of a power disruption and ensure we can keep moving trains north or south of the city while the issue is rectified.”

Queensland Rail’s Project Manager, Paul Rourke, said the additional power substation was the first to be added to the inner-city network in more than ten years, and would support existing substations located at Roma Street and Mayne Yard in Bowen Hills in powering the CBD area.

It joins a series of 28 substations strategically positioned across the South East Queensland rail network to improve reliability and improve response times to incidents.

“This particular project was a highly complex and technical operation, with the 47.25 square metre substation required to be shoehorned into an extremely compact footprint,” Mr Rourke said.

“There was just seven metres between the rail corridor fence line and the live electrical infrastructure, so the substation had to be carefully installed while maintaining safety clearances.

“This operation involved two cranes and 20 personnel to lift the 23-tonne container into place, with the entire project involving around 100 Queensland Rail, Schneider Electric and other contractors to deliver the full scope.” 

Elisa is an experienced industry journalist and is a regular contributor to a range of energy and infrastructure titles. She has a unique knack for quickly finding the angle in any story her audience is most interested in learning more about.

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