EN 50388-1:2022: A new important step to manage electrical compatibility in railways

Ensuring the electrical compatibility between rolling stock and electric traction systems is crucial for organizing a railway network. The train operating companies must be able to know the electrification parameters to confirm, after consultation with the rolling stock manufacturers, that risks of non-compatibility are minimized and that there will be no consequential disturbances on the electrification system. 

A new tool can now help the railways community on this path. CENELEC is proud to present the EN 50388-1:2022 ‘Railway Applications - Fixed installations and rolling stock - Technical criteria for the coordination between electric traction power supply systems and rolling stock to achieve interoperability - Part 1: General’.


This standard has been developed by the experts CLC/TC 9X ‘Electrical and electronic applications for railways’ in support of Directive (EU) 2016/797 on the interoperability of the rail system within the European Union. The EN 50388-1:2022 establishes requirements for the electrical aspects to achieve technical compatibility between rolling stock and electric traction systems, limited to: 

  • co-ordination of protection principles between power supply and traction units, i.e. separation sections, train set current or power limitation, short circuit current discrimination, breaker coordination and use of regenerative braking. 
  • co-ordination of installed power on the line and the power demand of trains, i.e. traction unit power factor, train set current or power limitation, electric system performance, type and characterization. 
  • compatibility assessment relating to harmonics and dynamic effects. 

The EN 50388-1:2022 covers several electric traction systems in its scope: railways; guided mass transport systems integrated with railways; and material transport systems integrated with railways. Basic considerations have also been included concerning the use of accumulator trains. 


This new standard is the first part of the new EN 50388 series for which CLC/TC 9X is currently working on the development of  Part 2 on stability and harmonics. With this new set, CLC/TC 9X demonstrates again its valuable contribution to the railways standardization and brings a new tool to facilitate the electrical compatibility of railways in Europe. 


EN 50388-1:2022 was developed by CLC/TC 9X whose secretariat is held by AFNOR-CEF



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