Home » Case Studies » Saft batteries pass the test of time for Finland's double-decker passenger trains
VR Group, the Finnish rail operator, has relied on Saft’s nickel-based batteries to provide onboard backup power for its electric double-decker passenger trains since the late 1990s. Rigorous laboratory tests carried out as part of Saft’s customer support program have verified that the batteries will continue to provide excellent performance over a projected lifespan of 20 years.
The Finnish railway network consists of a total of 5,919 km of railways, serving all the major cities and many rural areas. The country’s passenger train services are operated by the state-owned VR Group, carrying over 75 million passengers a year.
VR Group has established an excellent reputation for reliability and customer service by keeping its trains running smoothly even when operating in Lapland, close to the Arctic Circle, where winter temperatures can fall as low as - 30°C. The record measured at the same height at the most Northern train station in Finland was - 50,5°C in 1999.
In Finland’s demanding conditions, reliable backup power is essential to ensure the continuity of critical systems if the external power supply to the train is interrupted. It is not just a matter of comfort and convenience; passenger lives could depend on it.
VR Group relies on the onboard batteries on its double-decker trains to provide up to three hours of backup power for services such as emergency lighting, communications, door operation, and heating and ventilation. This is particularly important in winter should a train become stranded between two stations.
Saft’s specialized SRM rail batteries proved to be the ideal choice for VR Group as they are designed for extreme reliability with a robust sintered/plastic bonded electrode construction (S/PBE). Their nickel-based technology does not suffer ‘sudden death’ failure and provides a long service life while requiring minimal maintenance.
As part of its customer service program, Saft carried out verification tests on batteries sampled from VR Group’s train fleet. They were subjected to rigorous mechanical and electrical tests in the high-tech laboratory at Saft’s plant in Bordeaux, France. The conclusion was that, even after over 17 years in operation, the battery capacity was perfect. In fact, the batteries have fared much better than expected, with the service life extending five years beyond the 15-year design life – a 33 percent gain in lifespan.
Saft’s batteries have established an outstanding track-record for performance and reliability on our double-decker trains, so the results of the laboratory verification test were no surprise. It’s good to know that the extended lifetime means we will only need to replace the batteries once during the 40-year service life of the rolling stock.Mika Peräkylä VR Group Technical Expert, electrical systems
To ensure we can respond as efficiently as possible. Please complete this form which will be delivered to our team of experts who will help you with your enquiry.
In accordance with the provisions of the personal data protection regulation, Saft Groupe SA as data controller will process your data for the purposes of providing the services and for its legitimate interest. Any mandatory fields are marked with an asterisk.
In accordance with current regulations, you have the right to access, correct, delete and object to the use of your personal data. You may ask for your personal data to be sent to you and you have the right to give instructions for the use of your personal data after your death. You can also ask for restriction of the data, portability of the data and/or make a claim to the CNIL (the French data protection agency). For any request please send it to GDPR@saftbatteries.com or to the following address:
Saft Groupe SA
26, quai Charles Pasqua
92300 Levallois-Perret – France
Find out more