How robust batteries can keep the rail industry on track

How robust batteries can keep the rail industry on track
How robust batteries can keep the rail industry on track

South Africa has the largest rail network on the continent, spanning more than 21 000km.1 Even though the rail industry struggles as infrastructure needs repairs and replacement, rail transport remains an efficient way to move goods and passengers across the country.2 In addition, President Ramaphosa says that rail transport is vital in reviving the country’s economy.2

Industry stakeholders hold the same view, reiterating that improving the rail network can generate thousands of jobs and boost the economy.3

Reliable and well-maintained infrastructure is needed for passenger and freight trains to reach their destinations safely. A key part of this infrastructure includes reliable and resilient railway batteries that power trains and rail systems.4

“First National Battery develops and distributes train lighting batteries and diesel starter batteries which are low maintenance and long lasting,”4 said Murray Long, Managing Director of First National Battery, about the manufacturer’s range of railway batteries.

Railway batteries should feature a reliable plate design which is essential to ensure maximum safety at signalling stations.4 Railway signalling stations need to operate even during a surge or power failure and need batteries to direct trains by shifting tracks or interlocking safety systems.4 “The plate design batteries have to be trustworthy.5 Our design and technology make it possible for railway batteries to power rail signalling for up to 12 years,”5 added Murray.

Robust batteries for passenger trains

For many South African passengers, trains can be cost-effective and a less stressful way of travelling long-distance, with luxuries such as lighting and hot running water. For these amenities to function correctly at all times, robust batteries with an extended life are required.7

Rail is green
As more industries take note of their carbon footprint, rail transport is becoming more important as a green alternative. Rail transport is cleaner and reduces road traffic.2 “What’s great about lead-acid batteries we develop for rail transport,4 is that 95% of the battery is recycled to produce new batteries,”6 Murray added.

It may be a challenging time for South Africa’s rail industry, but there is space for growth and success with the support of stakeholders. For more information on how First National Battery’s railway batteries can power trains and rail stations, visit