Development of a Fire Hazard Assessment Method to Evaluate the Fire Safety of Passenger Trains.
Development of a Fire Hazard Assessment Method to
Evaluate the Fire Safety of Passenger Trains.
Peacock, R. D.; Bukowski, R. W.; Reneke, P. A.; Averill,
J. D.; Markos, S. H.
Fire and Materials 2001. 7th International Conference
and Exhibition. Proceedings. Interscience
Communications Limited. January 22-24, 2001, San
Antonio, TX, 67-78 pp, 2001.
passenger trains; hazard analysis; fire safety; fire
models; test methods; heat release rate; railroads;
U.S. passenger train fire safety has historically been
addressed primarily through the citation of small-scale
flammability and smoke emission tests and performance
criteria promulgated by the Federal Railroad
Administration (FRA). This approach has focused on the
primary combustible materials of rail car components
such as seats and wall and ceiling panels. As fire
safety regulations for buildings move toward performance
codes, there has been interest in the application of
fire hazard assessment to passenger rail cars using
modeling techniques. To develop such an alternative
approach, a systematic study of the fire performance
characteristics of current rail car materials was
conducted. First, the heat release and smoke production
of actual materials in use were characterized in the
Cone Calorimeter. Next, full-scale assembly tests of
components such as seats and interior panels constructed
of these same materials were conducted in a furniture
calorimeter. Finally, full-scale tests of passenger rail
cars incorporating the tested components were conducted.
The predictive accuracy of fire hazard modeling
techniques was assessed against the full-scale test
results. The model's utility in evaluating alternative
fire safety improvements, such as automatic suppression
or smoke venting was demonstrated. The paper provides an
overview of work to date. It is expected that this work
could lead to the recognition of fire hazard-based
methods as an alternative to the current prescriptive
requirements for passenger rail and transit vehicles.