RSSB introduces new standards to save industry millions from costs of electrification

Featured story
The Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB) has introduced new standards for the rail industry which will deliver benefits of at least £27 million to the industry over the next five years.

This package of standards includes:

  • Railway Group Standard GLRT1210 Issue 3 (AC Energy Subsystem and Interfaces to Rolling Stock Subsystem)
  • Rail Industry Standard RIS-1853-ENE Issue 1 (Rail Industry Standard on AC Energy Subsystem and Interfaces to Rolling Stock Subsystem)
  • GMRT2111 Issue 3 (Rolling Stock Subsystem and Interface to AC Energy Subsystem)
  • Rail Industry Standard RIS-2715-RST Issue 1 (Rolling Stock Subsystem and Interface to AC Energy Subsystem)

The requirements in these standards support compliance and conformity under the Railway Interoperability Regulations and help achieve compatibility at route level.

The new standards include clearer requirements and guidance to achieve technical compatibility between rolling stock and the AC energy subsystem. The £27m reduction in costs is based on 100 single track kilometres (STKs) of electrification per year for the next five years, which will deliver lower electrification costs or more electrification for the same cost.

“Our new and revised standards for AC electrification systems and rolling stock will help the rail industry save millions of pounds when rolling out new electrification schemes. They also provide confidence that trains and the electrification infrastructure are compatible with each other.

“This is a great example of how standards help the industry reduce complexity and avoid unnecessary cost whilst maintaining safety and delivering good operational performance.”

Tom Lee 1
Tom Lee, Director of Standards, RSSB

The reduction in costs achieved by the changes to standards will support delivery of decarbonisation objectives including Government’s legal commitment to achieve ‘net zero’ greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. RSSB’s update to Standards has provided a solution which significantly reduces costs while still delivering a safe and reliable energy system.

“The changes to these standards make a welcome contribution to delivery of a safe and reliable contact system, while reducing the costs of electrification.”
Garry Keenor, Professional Head of Discipline – Electrification, Transportation, Atkins
“Network Rail welcomes the publication of the revised Railway Group Standard and new Rail Industry Standard for AC electrification. Having been an active contributor to this work (along with Network Rail colleagues and industry partners), I’m confident that these standards will play an important part in supporting Network Rail’s ongoing efforts to drive down the cost of AC electrification. Enhancing our electrified network will enable even more freight and passenger users to benefit from the inherent environmental advantages which electrification brings.”
Phil Doughty, Chief M&E Engineer, Network Rail

Editors’ Notes

Key Points Addressed

  • Guidance in relation to the traction power supply system and the overhead contact line / pantograph interface
  • Specifies automatic power control arrangements enabling trains to pass through electrical sectioning points within the overhead contact line
  • Minimum contact wire height requirements have been revised, which avoids expensive bridge reconstruction
  • Specifies electrification signage which supports the network operating rules
  • Guidance on power frequency harmonics and overhead line electrification resonance and pantograph cameras
  • Established a method for providing clearance between public area standing surfaces and uninsulated high-voltage live parts
  • Sets out requirements on short circuit fault protection and the vehicle cant rail warning line
  • New guidance included for several pantograph parameters such as head profile and contact force distribution

For more information contact the RSSB press office by calling 020 3142 5653, or email