Substation upgrades for bushfire prevention technology

We’re upgrading train substations to make them ready for bushfire protection technology, which is being installed on the electricity network.

Damaged and falling electrical wires are a major cause of bushfire. Power distribution companies are installing technology that will reduce this risk. Train substations, which rely on and are connected to power substations, need to be ready for this technology.

Works will be delivered gradually at the following sites from early 2021:

Upgrade works will include:

  • Construction of a new building at each site to house the extra electrical equipment. This new building will reflect the local character of each location and will be approximately 9 by 13 metres. 
  • Installing an isolation transformer to protect the train power network if there is an incident
  • Possible pruning and or removing some vegetation to allow for the new technology to be installed

Known as a Rapid Earth Fault Current Limiter (REFCL), the technology works like a safety switch. If a power line falls, the equipment quickly activates and cuts off the power to the line. This prevents electrical sparks igniting a fire during extreme weather.

If the rail network is not protected and the REFCL system activates, rail power equipment may be damaged. There may be power outages affecting train operations and in some cases, there is a risk that rail power equipment may fail.

For further information on substation upgrades for bushfire technology, please contact the project team on [email protected] 

REFCL image

Image of REFCL technology