Russia’s new Olympic Winter Games trains look to Saft batteries to deliver cold weather performance

Technology News |
By eeNews Europe

Saft specialized rail batteries have been selected by Siemens to support emergency backup and starting power applications onboard 38 Desiro RUS regional electric trains that will transport spectators and athletes to Russia’s Sochi Olympic Winter Games in 2014. The key factor in the selection of Saft’s nickel-based battery technology for the contract is their proven capability to deliver exceptional performance in demanding winter operating conditions in which temperatures will fall as low as -40°C.      

The Desiro RUS trains are currently under construction for Russian Railways (RZD). The first 38 of the total 54 trains are being built in Krefeld, Germany. The remaining 16 trains will partially built by Train Technologies, a Ekaterinburg based joint venture of Siemens and the Russian rail technology manufacturer Sinara. Two Saft battery systems will be fitted below the floor of each five-car trainset to provide emergency backup power to ensure the continuity of vital functions such as lighting, communication and door controls. These battery systems will also play an essential role in starting the electric trains by powering the compressed air system that raises the pantograph as well as initiating the boot-up sequence for the train computer.      

For the Desiro RUS trains, Siemens has selected SMRX cells based on Saft’s robust, lightweight Sintered/Plastic Bonded Electrode (S/PBE) construction. These cells will be filled with a special electrolyte developed to ensure optimum performance in extremely cold conditions – with the capability to operate at temperatures down to -40°C and to survive prolonged exposure to temperatures even as low as -50°C without damage. The cells have been fully tested in order to meet all specified requirements including the Russian GOST standards.      

The battery system, which was custom designed and engineered by Saft for the specific application, consists of 86 SMRX190 battery cells with a nominal capacity of 190 Ah, making this one of the largest rail battery systems delivered by Saft to date. The cells are grouped in two separate trays, mounted on telescopic sliders for easy maintenance access from each side of the train.      

The first trains are scheduled to enter service in Sochi in autumn 2013. Then, in February 2014, they will provide transportation for athletes and spectators to access the competition sites in the mountains for the Olympic Winter Games.   

Visit Saft at


Linked Articles
eeNews Power