Saft Keeps Trams Running Throughout Estonia’s Winter

Nov. 30, 2015

Saft has delivered a contract for CAF to supply the on board battery systems for 16 Urbos AXL low floor trams in Tallinn, the capital of Estonia. The first of the new trams entered service in Tallinn mid-2015.

CAF is building the new trams for Tallinn’s LRV (Light Rail Vehicle) operator (Tallinna Linnatranspordi Aktsiaseltsm). These trams form a vital part of the extension to Tallinn’s LRV network which will eventually extend to the city’s airport. The first phase, which is essentially a new return loop around a new shopping centre is scheduled for 2015-2016. The second phase to replace the mainline railroad to the airport is scheduled for 2020-2022. The new vehicles will operate initially on lines 3 and 4; routes to Kopli may be upgraded at a later date.

Saft had already developed a global battery solution based on its MRX rail batteries for normal deployment on CAF’s “Urbos 100” platform. However, CAF regards the extremely cold winter conditions in Tallinn, where temperatures can fall as low as - 50°C, as some of the most demanding operating conditions ever experienced on a tram project. To ensure totally reliable backup power for the auxiliary systems for passenger safety and fail-safe train start-up, CAF therefore placed the first major order for Saft’s new generation nickel-based SRA LT (Low Temperature) batteries.

“The Tallinn tram project further strengthens Saft’s long term partnership with CAF in supplying on board battery systems for strategic rail projects around the world,” says Ghislain Lescuyer, chairman of Saft’s Management Board.  “It also confirms the capability of our new SRA LT batteries to perform in even the most challenging conditions.”