New substation boosts South East rail reliability

A still of a time lapse of substation installation

A new $13 million, 23-tonne electrical substation will deliver a reliability boost to Queensland’s rail network ahead of the Commonwealth Games.

Located in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley, the substation will be commissioned this month.

It 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.

Transport and Main Roads Minister 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, due to be fully commissioned next week, 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.”

Member for McConnel Grace Grace congratulated QR on completing the project prior to GC2018, when significant demand on the rail network was expected.

“This piece of infrastructure shields the rail network from unforeseen events, giving us even greater ability to keep people moving during and after the Commonwealth Games,” she said.

“This is an exciting time for Queensland – we’re just 49 days out from the Games and we are working hard to put the finishing touches on our network to provide a world-class rail transport solution, which includes 24/7 service to the Gold Coast.”

Queensland Rail project manager Paul Rourke said the additional power substation was the first to be added to the inner city network in more than 10 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 47.25sq m substation required to be shoehorned into an extremely compact footprint,” Mr Rourke said.

“There was just 7m 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.

“With the substation now in place, overhead wiring is now being installed, which will be followed by testing and commissioning next week.”