Industrial Fans for Railways

Fans and cooling systems that meet every challenge for the railway industry

Whether powered by diesel or electricity, whether designed for tramway, light rail or long distance high-speed routes, all rail transport systems share a need for cooling equipment that meets some very specific demands.

  • It has to be compact, to fit the very limited spaces within vehicle structures.
  • It has to be lightweight, because all additional weight is an additional burden to be carried.
  • It has to be robust enough to handle long periods of shock and vibration, day after day and month after month.
  • It has to be quiet enough to operate within acceptable noise levels for urban situations and passenger comfort.
  • It has to be affordable enough to find a successful role in an extremely price-sensitive environment.

The range of fan units and cooling systems we have developed specifically for the transport industries addresses every one of these issues, often in unique and innovative ways, to provide rolling stock manufacturers and operators with equipment they can rely on with complete confidence.



Moving transport technology forward for more than five generations

Howden technologies have been an integral part of international transport for well over a century. The sector depends heavily on fans and cooling units that are custom designed to meet the precise requirement of each operator, then produced in series to provide bespoke performance and reliability at minimal cost.

Our range includes centrifugal, axial and hybrid technology fans for rail traction motors, locomotive engines, traction and auxiliary converters, braking resistors and traction transformers cooling systems. As well as high speed rail applications such as TGV and ICE, our range covers end users as diverse as cooling fans for off-road vehicles and suction fans for road sweeping equipment.

Why choose Howden fans and systems for your rolling stock?

Precision engineering

We work closely with major manufacturers of rolling stock to determine their precise requirements, and then we subject our designs to the most severe test conditions to ensure that we are providing exactly what the industry needs.

Aerodynamic performance

We produce complete aerodynamic performance curves following ISO5801 procedures.

Acounstic performance

Acoustic tests are CETIAT calibrated and comply with ISO 13347 standards.

Safe and reliable

We investigate the temperature rise in motor windings to ensure safe long-term running.

Strong and Robust

Vibration and shock testing is used to eliminate natural frequencies and carry out vibration spectrum analysis.

Tested to destruction

Over-speed and fatigue tests, using a concrete test bed capable of taking impellers up to 1250mm, are used for testing to destruction to establish safety margins and regulatory compliance.

Industrial Fans for Railways - Brochure



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​Dependable performance at the critical points

Our fans and cooling systems are the first choice for critical areas where excessive heating would have serious consequences for safety, and could potentially cause complete stoppage. They are also widely used in more general applications like carriage air conditioning. Whether their role is safeguarding against failure or maintaining the comfort of passengers, Howden’s reliability and resilience ensures continued operation in the most challenging environments.

Railway fans axial and centrifugal

Traction motor

An AC induction or synchronous AC motor used to drive electric trains. Our fans can minimise energy loss.

Products: Centraxial, CEU & CHK, BZi, Cooling system, Micropal

Traction converter


Products: Centraxial, CEU & CHK

Line inductance


Products: Centraxial, CEU & CHK



Products: Centraxial, CEU & CHK, BZi, Cooling system

Braking resister


Products: BZi & HMP

Air conditioning


Products: CEU & CHK, BZi

Auxilliary Converter


Products: CEU & CHK, BZi


Taking cooling technology into the future

Howden's leading edge technologies are driven by our philosophy of continuous improvement and innovation. Every fan is the product of many decades of research, development and evolution using state-of-the-art software and analytical tools. The final products are customised and fine-tuned as appropriate to offer the precise performance needed in the most efficient way.

Our advanced aerodynamic designs are based on aerofoil geometries developed for the specific duties of the fan. The units we produce for rail transport applications are low noise, lightweight products that make use of the most advanced materials available, including aluminium alloys and carbon fibre composites. Their compact structures and casings can be readily integrated into the key vehicle locations and, crucially, their low power requirements bring significant energy savings.

Axial fans for trains

Axipal fans - BZi and HMP

These adaptable axial fan units, most suitable for clean air environments, are available in diameters from 315mm to 1250mm and a choice of casing lengths and impeller designs that makes them one of our most adaptable units for rail transport applications. The pitch of the aluminium blades can be adjusted while the unit is stopped, making it possible to optimise the performance of an already highly efficient design.

Applications: Traction motor, Transformer, Braking Resister, Air conditioning, Auxilliary converter

centrifugal fans for railways

离心风扇- CEU & CHK

Our centrifugal fans are available in more than 30 different aerodynamic configurations, producing flow volumes up to 25 cubic metres per second or pressures of more than 6000Pa. The radial impeller blades, normally between 250mm and 800mm in diameter, draw on a variety of designs and materials to cope with dusty environments or clogging particles. This makes the fan ideal for highly demanding situations such as the undersides of bogies. The flexibility of the design means it can be customised to suit virtually any vehicle architecture.

Applications: Traction motor, Traction converter, Line inductance, Transformer, Air conditioning, Auxilliary converter

mixed flow fans for railways

Centraxial fans

The centraxial fan uses an innovative approach that combines a centrifugal or mixed flow impeller design with an axial fan style casing. The fan is placed within a cylindrical housing that can be readily integrated into the design of rolling stock. With a range of impeller diameters from 315mm to 630mm, centraxial fans provide low-noise, high efficiency delivery of up to 5 cubic metres of flow per second at pressures of up to 4500Pa. They are eminently suitable for driving the airflow from roof level downwards into various locations where cooling is required.

Applications: Traction motor, Traction converter, Line inductance, Transformer

Cooling systems for rolling stock

Cooling systems

This compact packaged cooling system has been specially developed for the particular requirements of transformer cooling. Custom designed to fit alongside the step-down transformer beneath the body of the vehicle, the unit incorporates an integral radiator and plenum as well as fans and motors, and the supporting frame is ready for chassis mounting. Their power ratings typically lie within the 50kW to 150kW range.

Applications: Traction motor, Transformer

micropal industrial fans for locomoives

Micropal fans

The micropal fan provides powerful performance in a very compact unit by using a specially developed arrangement of twin twisted impeller blades. The high efficiency design places the fan motor in the airflow, creating an integrated unit suitable for mounting in virtually any position. With impeller diameters typically between 315mm and 400mm, the micropal fan is enormously versatile in rolling stock applications ranging from auxiliary cooling of power packs to carriage air conditioning.

Applications: Traction motor

If you would like to submit an enquiry please get in touch.


Are you ready for ultra-reliable cooling technology?