Hoppecke Industrial Batteries has won a major contract from Transport for London (TfL) – the local government body responsible for most aspects of the capital’s transport system – to manage on-board battery systems for its Underground trains.
Hoppecke – the leading specialist for industrial battery systems and the largest battery manufacturer in European ownership – is to deliver a full overhaul, refurbishment and replacement programme for the battery systems on London’s busy Central and Jubilee lines.
The Central line rolling stock was built 24 years ago and Hoppecke previously installed 350 batteries on the network. The new contract involves condition assessments and overhauling of all the batteries to make sure they are still able to operate according to the specified requirements. A condition assessment determines if the battery needs to be replaced with a new one or if it is fit for continued service on board the train. The overhaul process also acts as a preventative maintenance regime for the NiCad batteries which allows their service life to be extended when compared to merely topping up. A well looked after battery will always have a long life.
The same tests are carried out on the Jubilee line, where Hoppecke has 118 batteries fitted to rolling stock built in 1996. In a contract worth around £¾m, Hoppecke is not only checking and replacing batteries where required but it is also upgrading every box that the batteries sit in.
Installing new battery boxes will play an important role in the upkeep of Central and Jubilee line Tube trains. With speed of maintenance as well as health and safety in mind, Hoppecke has designed a box with sliders that enable the batteries to be checked and worked on without removing them from the train.
Says Paul Butchart, National Sales Manager – Special & Reserve Power Systems at Hoppecke Industrial Batteries: “Power loss issues with Underground trains – which could potentially cause them to stop suddenly in a tunnel – can run up high costs for Transport for London. Ensuring Tube batteries are able to provide critical emergency power when required is exactly why these overhaul, refurbishment and replacement programmes are absolutely essential.”
Hoppecke Industrial Batteries’ Managing Director Jason Howlett adds: “We are delighted that Transport for London has called us back in to deliver innovative solutions for one of the most complex and advanced rail transport power management systems in the world.”
Lee Townsend, London Underground Senior Commercial Manager, said: “We’ve been working collaboratively with Hoppecke to improve Central and Jubilee line battery maintenance and overhaul processes, which in turn will greatly improve the life of our battery sets. We look forward to continuing to build a good contractual relationship, helping us to develop a slicker approach to the ongoing refurbishment of our Tube fleet.”