SPIE to supply and install Air Circuit Breakers for Merseytravel

Published on 23 November 2021

London, November 23, 2021 – SPIE UK, a subsidiary of SPIE, the independent European leader in multi-technical services in the areas of energy and communications, has been appointed by Merseytravel to carry out the supply and installation of new Air Circuit Breakers (ACB’s) to the existing Low Voltage (LV) Switchgear in its Sidney Street Ventilation Building in Liverpool. The appointment was made under the existing framework contract between Merseytravel and SPIE UK, and the work will be carried out over a ten-week period. The new ACBs will be connected to a Control and Monitoring System, which will provide remote control access for more efficient management.

The existing LV Switchgear was installed during the 1960’s and requires upgrading due to its age, and the existing LV Switches are coming to the end of their useful life. The new Air Circuit Breakers (ACBs) are equipped with increased functionality including integrated digital protection and control units.

The work will be carried out in the Sidney Street Ventilation Building. The switchgear provides sectional lighting and ventilation to the Queensway tunnel, and also serves power to Taylor street ventilation station as well as Kings Square toll plaza. Because of this, the work will be completed in three phases to avoid excess disruption, with each phase requiring the switching and isolation of circuits to ensure no loss of power occurs in the Queensway Tunnel. Before work begins, SPIE will be installing temporary power supplies for the outgoing distribution boards.

The functional units of the ACBs will include protection, automation, measurement, counting, monitoring, diagnosis, and communications functions. An interface controller will also be provided to allow Merseytravel to connect to the control unit to change parameters, interrogate readings, and allow secondary injection simulation for future maintenance. The controller will have an RS 485 connection facility for future use.

SPIE has worked with Merseytravel for over 20 years, with the current framework agreement covering the last 5 and the delivery of six similar schemes. The work will require the specialist skill of a Senior Authorised Person to isolate and switch the specific power supplies. However, in doing so, alternative power sources also need to be maintained and provided.

Chris Mayoh, a Contract Manager at SPIE UK said, “We are glad to have been chosen by Merseytravel to help them upgrade the Air Circuit Breakers at the Sidney Street Ventilation Building. The 20-year relationship we have with Merseytravel is testament to the high-quality work we deliver continuously, and we are confident that the team will do a great job this time round as well.

Colin Dever, a Technical Services Manager for Merseytravel, said, “SPIE UK has always proven itself to be a fantastic partner, so when we knew it was necessary to upgrade the ACBs they were a natural choice. It was critical to us that the new installation allowed for remote monitoring and SPIE’s expertise in this area gives us confidence that the new systems will meet our exact requirements and deliver value for money.