ABB launches innovative circuit breaker for on-board rail applications

High-speed, lightweight, compact and environmentally friendly DC circuit breaker needs half the space and weighs only two-thirds of its contemporaries - ideal for light rail, urban and inter-city rail

Zurich, Switzerland, June 14, 2012 – ABB, the leading power and automation technology group, has developed an innovative high speed DC circuit breaker, that requires half the space and weighs only two-thirds of its contemporaries making it ideally suited for light rail, urban and inter-city rolling stock.

The new DCTrac circuit breaker is the successful result of an R&D initiative to develop an on-board DC circuit breaker for metros, trams and trolley buses that maximises performance but minimizes footprint, weight and maintenance needs. The circuit breaker also has a self-tripping bidirectional operation and dispenses with the use of cadmium, making it more environmentally friendly. Both variants of the breaker, ie. the DCTrac 915 and DCTrac 1815 - have a rated operating current of 1500 A and a making-breaking capacity of up to 30 kA.

DCTrac is exceptionally compact and light in weight, taking up merely half the space and weighing only two-thirds compared with its contemporary breakers. It is engineered to perform over 200,000 operations without maintenance and to operate safely in the coldest, warmest and most humid climates.

In addition to its weight and size advantages, DCTrac is a cadmium-free application, making it environmentally friendly. It also complies with the RoHS (restriction of hazardous substances) directive for electrical equipment.

DCTrac 915 (the 900 V DC variant) has been in operation in Geneva’s city center on a BE4 / 8DUEWAG Vevey tram. This first pilot was initiated in November 2010 with Geneva Public Transport (TPG-Transports Publics Genevois). In July 2011, another pilot was installed on a tram carrying passengers on the Lyon public transport network (TCL) in France. Swiss national rail operator SBB, has also installed a DCTrac pilot for its Bem 550 EMU (Electric Multiple Unit) operating on the Geneva-Bellegarde line.

“With DCTrac, ABB continues its proud tradition of technology and innovation and reaffirms our ongoing commitment to the rail sector, a key element in our strategic growth plans”, said Bruno Melles, head of ABB’s Medium Voltage business, a part of the company’s Power Products division.

Earlier this year ABB announced a revolutionary power electronic traction transformer (PETT) that uses power electronics to reduce size, weight and noise levels while increasing the energy efficiency of the train.

ABB has a range of power and automation products and solutions for the rail industry and a vast global installed base. Increasing concern for the environment, rapid urbanization, the need to move more people and freight faster and volatile fuel prices make rail a strategic focus sector for the company.

ABB ( is a leader in power and automation technologies that enable utility and industry customers to improve their performance while lowering environmental impact. The ABB Group of companies operates in around 100 countries and employs more than 145,000 people.

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    Media contact
    • Harmeet Bawa
      Head of Communications
      ABB Power Products and Power Systems
      Tel: +41 43 317 6480
      Fax: +41 43 317 6482
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