‘Super sewer’ emergency back-up power project a success in London, UK

The existing sewer system in London, UK, built around 150 years ago, was originally constructed for a planned population growth of four million people. With London’s population now nearing the nine million mark, the city decided to invest in the Thames Tideway Tunnel, dubbed London’s new ‘super sewer’.

The Ferrovial Agroman/Laing O’Rourke Joint Venture (FLO JV) was selected to build the central section of the new 25km Thames Tideway Tunnel to run under the River Thames. As part of this landmark project, Ampcontrol was contracted to assist with the provision of emergency back-up power.

Ampcontrol provided 1,100kVA of emergency back-up generation capacity and the associated cabling for the tie-in to the distribution system of the project.

Due to the project’s time sensitivity, temporary generators of equal capacity were supplied during the manufacturing period of the new units. Ampcontrol also provided onsite pre-commissioning support to ensure smooth installation and operational readiness of the new units supplied.

Ampcontrol is proud to have successfully completed the scope of generation capacity supply and support within the required timeframe to one of the most significant UK tunnelling projects in the heart of London.

Steven Edmund, Ampcontrol’s Managing Director in the UK, said, “A very high standard of quality is demanded by the UK industry and in true Ampcontrol style this was achieved by following sound engineering principles, providing high quality equipment, being customer centric, and recognising the requirements of all stakeholders and the environment.”

Read our Thames Tideway Tunnel case study here.

Ampcontrol is Powering Sydney’s WestConnex

Ampcontrol is helping to ease congestion and connect communities by powering Sydney’s WestConnex, the largest transport infrastructure project in Australia.

Design, supply and commission

Ampcontrol undertook the design, supply and commissioning of a complete electrical system from Ausgrid’s 11,000V (11kV) point of supply, to surface and underground facilities across the new M4 WestConnex tunnelling sites.

What we did

Our solution included engineering support and management of the supply connection from Ausgrid including development of the required Installation Safety Management Plans. As part of the design, we undertook engineering studies such as load flow, fault levels, electrical protection and power factor correction as well as earthing design and verification for all sites, underground and surface.

In addition to the front end solution engineering on the electrical system we supplied and commissioned electrical equipment including around 40,000 metres of 1,000V rubber cables and 20,000 metres of 11kV cable. This connects the electrical supply to approximately 40 roadheader tunnel excavators, five of which were electrically refurbished by Ampcontrol in Newcastle prior to being sent to site.

Hire fleet allowed speed and flexibility

To get the project up and going quickly and efficiently all electrical equipment and cables were supplied on a hire contract.

Drawing on Ampcontrol’s extensive fleet of refurbished and new power distribution equipment, this hire package provided flexibility and reliability without compromising on quality, safety or engineering design.

The equipment supplied was fully supported by HV operator familiarisation training, site acceptance testing of surface equipment and ongoing site audits to ensure correct operation and minimal downtime for the project.

H3RO simplifies communications in tunnelling applications

Reliable communications infrastructure and networks are vital to ensure the safe and on time completion of underground tunnel construction.

Ampcontrol was engaged to support the Thomson East Coast Line project in Singapore, which consisted of two tunnels with one launch shaft and one arrival shaft created by a tunnel boring machine.

Ampcontrol provided communication infrastructure for everyday and emergency voice communication requirements and for real-time monitoring and reporting to the surface.


  • Cost savings
  • System standardisation and simplification
  • Ability for expansion and dynamic network layout
  • Reduced downtime due to more suitable harsh environment connectors
  • Self-sufficient fibre optic maintenance without specialised technicians
  • Lower loss between fibre optic connectors
  • Fast and easy deployment and re-deployment of fibre optic cable for re-use in other projects


Tunnelling applications require repeatable patterns of emergency call points every 100m, these call points need to be installed as the tunnel borer progresses while maintaining reliable communications. The traditional approach to networking these emergency call points presents a number of limitations.

The fibre optic communications infrastructure relied on military spec (MilSpec) connectors. These connectors are expensive, bulky and prone to breaking where the heavy attachment joins the
cabling. Failed or broken MilSpec cable require expensive repairs and fibre experts to cut, splice and terminate long cable runs and add additional fibre optic network cabinets. This made extensions to the network difficult requiring specialist tools and labour.

Emergency call points are required to be quickly deployed in a standard fashion with quick setup, removal and re-deployment. The standard set up is for each emergency call point to be linked to other call points in a daisy chain, meaning there are two bulkheads required within each call point. Not only does this make it a costly installation, but the arrangement takes up significant space within the limited room in the fibre system enclosures.


Ampcontrol deployed H3RO, our harsh environment reticulated optic solution which reduces network complexity and offers plug and play functionality with off the shelf components which do not require fibre specialists to install. Offering superior versatility with its ‘ plug and play’ modular components, H3RO removes the requirement for patch panel cabinets and allows for system standardisation which simplifies the network and reduces complexity. When compared to traditional MilSpec connectors, H3RO connectors have loss levels up to 20 times lower, providing overall system efficiency . By using this single mode modular network solution, Ampcontrol was able to reduce the capex cost of the optical network, simplify the topology and replace error prone and expensive network cabinets with H3RO Break-Out Terminals (BOTs).

On the ground maintenance is made easy with the H3RO system, with the connectors designed to accommodate cost effective standard fibre cleaning tools. This means day to day maintenance, such as removing any dust or dirt contaminants, can be carried out onsite without requiring a fibre specialist. Not only does this enable site works to continue efficiently, it reduces unforeseen costs which can be associated with projects in these environments.

The system is designed to be future proof, with the modular components enabling quick and easy duplication or extension as required, based on any configuration. With this in mind, the system
package was designed in a way that simplified the overall communications network and consolidated spares requirements. One of the major benefits offered by the H3RO system is the versatile design. When the project scope changed and additional fibre optic networking was required, H3RO allowed for easy extension. Additional surface infrastructure was required to be connected to the network including a workshop, medical lock and office area.

Drawing on the H3RO fibre backbone of the existing network, the design was easily expanded with a single H3RO BOT (Break-Out Terminal) which allowed for three lots of 4 core fibre cables to be diverted from a 12 core trunk to the these separate areas. This network extension was completed by site labor in a quick and timely manner keeping the overall project on schedule.

MRT Line Hong Kong

Challenged with the need to produce a substation to fit into a restricted space and withstand arduous weather conditions, Ampcontrol developed a customised substation for a busy main road in Hong Kong.

The customer required the end product to be compact, safe and weather proof for its installation at Sheung Wan, Hong Kong on the MTR West Island Line. The Line runs beneath the densely populated areas of the Western District of Hong Kong. The project required power for heavy plant and machinery for the next stage of development. Our contribution to this project was the provision of temporary power by way of switchgear and substation equipment, which needed to meet regulatory authority requirements and the ability to be positioned discreetly on one of Hong Kong’s busiest roadways.

Custom built surface and underground substations were engineered to address the space constraints ensuing from the high density urban environment in Hong Kong. Ampcontrol supplied 11kv 630A VCB switchgear and metering equipment installed into a 10ft container allowing ease of unloading and installation on site reducing turnaround time and costs. The 11kv / 400v 1250kva substation was purpose built and included power factor correction equipment 1000kva and 500kva packaged substations were also provided for installation underground.

We reengineered our standard containerised substation design and then manufactured the equipment complying with local regulatory requirements. The containerised substations are strong and provide reliable power that is environmentally safe and supplied in robust enclosures.

The production of the containerised substation was completed at our Hong Kong operations, reducing turnaround time and costs. The robust enclosure also allowed for ease of installation and reduced site installation time which was critical for this project.