UTAR News / Awards

Decoding the transient stability in railway systems

The Electric Railways have become the most efficient land-based transportation system globally. The railway grid is an important part of a nation’s infrastructure and a large amount of capital is invested in it. For railway grids operating with a different frequency than the public grid frequency, conversion of frequency is needed for the interconnection.

With the aim to broaden the understanding of the stability of low-frequency AC railway grids with a focus on transient stability, UTAR Centre for Corporate and Community Development (CCCD) in collaboration with the Centre for Power System and Electricity (CPSE) as well as the Centre for Railway Infrastructure and Engineering (CRIE) parked under Lee Kong Chian Faculty of Engineering and Science (LKC FES) organised an online training titled “Transient Stability in Railway Systems” on 7 December 2020 via Microsoft Teams.

The training was delivered by LKC FES Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering Assoc Prof Ts Dr Stella Morris. Dr Stella is also a professional technologist for the MBOT, engineering technologist for the Board of Engineers, Malaysia (BEM), as well as a life member of the Indian Society for Technical Education (ISTE).

According to Dr Stella, the objectives of the programme were to provide an overview of the low-frequency AC railways as well as to get acquainted with the techniques for the enhancement of transient stability.

Dr Stella said, “One of the challenges faced by the ‘Transient Stability in Railway Systems’ is the lack of manpower in this specialist. Thus, UTAR is one of the universities that trains manpower and provides knowledge relevant to railway system.”

One-day training on “Transient Stability in Railway Systems”

The one-day training included the overview of low-frequency AC railways, concepts of synchronous and asynchronous railway grids, basic concepts of power system stability, transient stability in railway power systems and techniques for the enhancement of transient stability.

Dr Stella started the training by introducing the historical overview of the Malaysian rail system the participants. She said, “The rail journey in Malaysia can be categorised into four periods, namely ‘Early Beginning (1880-1900)’, ‘Great Expansion (1900-1950)’, ‘Modernisation (1950-2000)’ and ‘Improvement (2000-2018)’. The first railway track in West Malaysia was the railway track from Taiping to Port Weld, which was launched on 1 February 1885 while the first railway track in East Malaysia was the railway track from Weston to Beaufort, which was launched in 1896.”

Dr Stella introducing the history of the Malaysian rail system

Then, Dr Stella also introduced some key railway projects in Malaysia. Some of the projects are still ongoing or waiting for the budget to be approved. These key railway projects include Padang Besar Container Terminal, Bukit Kayu Hitam Spur Line, Penang Port Siding Expansion, Serendah Bypass, Klang Valley Double Track Upgrading, LRT 3 Bandar Utama – Klang, MRT 2 Sungai Buloh – Putrajaya Line, East Coast Track Rehabilitation, Halogilat -Tenom Track Upgrading, Gemas – Johor Bahru Electrified Double Track, East Coast Rail Link (ECRL), High Speed Rail (HSR) and Rapid Transit System (RTS).

Dr Stella showing some key railway projects in Malaysia

Explaining the factors of the low-frequency supply, Dr Stella elucidated, “There are several reasons that cause the low-frequency supply, such as the switching problems at the commutator, the lower voltage drop, the undeveloped power electronics technology, the nature of earlier electrical grids or the unavailability of high capacity gear units.”

Throughout the training session, Dr Stella also touched on topics like the overview of the traction power system; the disadvantages and advantages of rotary frequency converters and static frequency converters; the advantages, disadvantages and challenges in an interconnected grid system, power system configurations as well as the classification of power system stability.

Speaking of the transient stability studies, Dr Stella emphasised, “We are looking for the need for transient stability studies in Industrial Applications. For example, we need more manpower in the system planning phase like distribution requirements and voltage support (VAR supply), the system design phase in aspects of excitation control, power system stabilizers, relay settings and load shedding schemes. Besides, we also need more transient stability studies in Industrial Applications during the operation phase on various operating margins and continency back-up.”

The online training ended with an interactive Q&A session between the trainer and the participants.

Dr Stella explaining the interconnected grid system to the participants

Dr Stella showing some formulas in counting the transient stability

Dr Stella explaining that frequency stability is the ability of a power system to maintain steady

Wholly owned by UTAR Education Foundation Co. No. 578227-M        LEGAL STATEMENT   TERM OF USAGE   PRIVACY NOTICE