In 2012, Danish rail operator Banedanmark embarked on an ambitious 14-year project to electrify large parts of the country’s rail network. The programme is designed to create a sustainable and flexible framework for the operation of modern passenger and freight rail networks, capable of delivering a more stable and more cost-effective operation.

At the same time, it is intended to achieve environmental benefits from an expanded fleet of electric trains which will provide a cleaner, quieter and more efficient operation with reduced pollution.

Joint programme

Siemens Rail Electrification was awarded a contract in May 2015 by Banedanmark to electrify nine rail routes, with the company appointed to equip about 1,300 kilometres of the country’s rail network with electrical overhead lines.

“We are extremely proud to have been awarded this prestigious contract,” said Therese Persson from Siemens Rail Electrification in Denmark. “Our overhead contact line systems increase the availability and cost-effectiveness of rail routes, while at the same time offering operators a green alternative to diesel traction.”

The company is working as part of a consortium with construction partner Per Aarsleff AS, and will fit overhead contact lines in a 2x25kV configuration to nine tracks on the network by the end of 2026. The electricity supply will also be installed with substations, autotransformer stations and remote-control equipment. This ambitious project will kick off with the electrification of the 57km double-track stretch between Esbjerg and Lunderskov in the west of the country.

This joint programme represents the beginning of the electrification project and will see the introduction of a new electrification system based on functional requirements as set out in the project specification. The programme called for a system:

  • Approved against Technical Standards for Interoperability (TSI);
  • Whose benefits have already been proven in an extensive roll-out elsewhere in Europe;
  • That could push innovation;
  • Which would be delivered by suppliers with an established track record in the design and delivery of complex, large scale projects.

Siemens’ proposal, which had at its heart the company’s Sicat SX solution for the overhead contact line, was accepted by Banedanmark and is now being rolled-out.
K-ophæng fjernbane CREDIT Robert Attermann [online]

Therese Persson continued: “The most important features of the system are its lightweight design and the reduction of poles and foundations which bring a safer working environment for the installation programme, with reduced risk of accidents due to fewer possessions being required in the build phase.

“The 10-year programme will also eliminate ramp-up and ramp-down costs, and will ensure that the knowledge and experience gained in the early stages stay with the project throughout its life.

‘The functional design-and-build turnkey approach also drastically reduces the need for handling interfaces, allowing suppliers to offer a well-integrated and optimal solution. The installation of large volumes of the same system will provide economies of scale and learning curve savings in all phases of the project, from design and procurement through to installation.”

UK impact

The Danish programme could also bring benefits to the UK. James Goulding of Siemens Rail Electrification said: “From a review of this work in Denmark, we could prepare a model to address some of the challenges that the National Electrification Programme in the UK will face, with the ultimate aim of producing a safer, more cost- efficient and a less risky approach to delivery.

“Sicat SX needs fewer foundations per kilometre as it is designed for longer span length. Being able to deliver more overhead contact line equipment construction within the UK’s tight midweek possession regime would see significant cost savings. This would be especially the case on routes that have been, or will be, affected by the Government’s electrification review.”

Electrified rail networks allow better acceleration and shorter travel times, as well as reduced operating and maintenance costs for the operators. Electric traction is globally acknowledged as the most powerful, fastest and most environmentally sound means of transporting passengers and freight.