Electrical equipment and systems for railways

IEC TC 9: Electrical equipment and systems for railways, is responsible for the international standardization of the electrical equipment and systems used in railways. These include rolling stock, fixed installations, management systems for railway operation, and their interfaces and ecological environment. IEC TC 9 Standards not only cover railway networks but also metropolitan transport networks, including metros, tramways, trolley buses and fully automated transport systems, as well as magnetic levitated transport systems. These Standards relate to systems, components and software and they will deal with electrical, electronic and mechanical aspects, the latter being limited to items depending on electrical factors. A major feature of the railway field is its specificity: even if some work items are similar to those covered in other industrial fields the relevant answers have to take into account the strain of coherence of the railway system as well as the interface specification need.

ISO/TC 269 also was recently created to develop Standards for products and services specifically related to the rail industry, including construction, operation and maintenance of parts and equipment, methods and technology, interfaces between infrastructure and vehicles and rail specific environmental aspects. This excludes those electrotechnical and electronic products and services for railways which are within the scope of IEC TC 9.

train platform with family

train platform

Who is involved ?

With the safety of passengers and the environment being of paramount importance, stringent regulations are required worldwide. A close relationship is maintained with the International Union of Railways (UIC) and the International Association of Public Transport (UITP). Through this cooperation, various worldwide solutions have been prepared to satisfy design needs and regulatory requirements. Examples include the safety of signalling or control-command systems, electromagnetic compatibility (EMC), protective provisions for traction circuits, reliability, availability, maintainability and safety (RAMS) principles and methods, the design of automatic guided transportation systems and, more generally, generic concepts ensuring safety for every urban system.

How is regulatory cooperation in this field achieved?

These developments are closely and actively followed by the industry and its designers in the main regions involved in the development of railways, i.e. Europe, North America and the Far East.  Specifications and standards needs identified worldwide allow for technical cooperation, railway system coherence and interoperability. The future priorities of IEC TC 9 in particular emphasize the growing importance of urban transport and identify a need for standardization in order to avoid reinventing a costly new solution for each new metro system around the world.


More examples by industry sector

Navigation and communications

Measuring efficiency

Rapidly evolving and highly regulated

Measuring energy performance

Dependent on electric and electronic components

Cutting across many different industry sectors

Protection from interference

Electrical equipment and systems for railways

Safety, security and the environment

Power consumption tests

Test procedures