For 30 years, in order to optimize the traction power supply fixed installations, research has been done
to implement power electronic devices on the French rail network (RFF). This corresponds to a
permanent increased need of energy, which is the combined result of an evolution of traffic and
increased power of traction units. In this frame, improved performance and cost management are high
level requirements. Semi conductor power converters are installed, for ten years, on the French electric
rail infrastructure. Examples are:
• to guaranty power supply quality in 25kV ac (High Voltage Booster),
• to reduce the harmonic level in 1,5 kV dc (24 pulse rectifiers),
• to compensate the unbalance due to single phase traction power in 25kV ac.
Today, within the SNCF, a reduction of traction energy by 15% until year 2022 is foreseen as target in
the frame of the energy transition. New electricity production such as regenerative braking of the
trains, renewable energy operation and energy storage are solutions for a better energy efficiency of
the network. Power electronics will be a major actor in the panel of solutions to connect these
converters to the 1,5kV dc and 25kV ac power systems, with the help of the so called smart grids.