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IEEE issues standard for battery compartment size in rail-transit vehicles

Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Standards Association (IEEE-SA) recently issued a standard that establishes physical sizes for back-up, nickel-cadmium batteries commonly used in rail-transit vehicles.

Designed to foster battery interchangeability, "Standard for Rail Transit Vehicle Battery Physical Interface" (IEEE 1536) allows for multi-agency purchasing that, in theory, could reduce battery-system costs, according to IEEE-SA.

IEEE 1536 defines maximum battery tray size based on cell number and rated capacity, and sets requirements for optimum battery compartment size and battery hardware. Sizes are consolidated in two capacity ranges for polymeric cells (80 to 120 and 120 to 240 ampere-hours) and in three capacity ranges for steel cells (80 to 120, 120 to 200 and 200 to 240 ampere-hours).

"This standard eliminates the need to customize battery trays and enclosures in rail transit operations," said New York City Transit Principal Engineer and IEEE P1536 Working Group Chair Stanley Kwa in a prepared statement. "Until now, rail car manufacturers tended to specify different battery sizes for different cars, which has made battery procurement and production much less efficient than it could be."

For more information, contact Kwa at 646-252-3189 (email:; or Karen McCabe at 732-562-3824 (email:

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 1/17/2003