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Fire Safety of Passenter Trains: Fire Hazard Assessment.


pdf icon Fire Safety of Passenter Trains: Fire Hazard Assessment. (782 K)
Bukowski, R. W.; Markos, S. H.

Fire Risk and Hazard Assessment Research Application Symposium. Research and Practice: Bridging the Gap. Proceedings. National Fire Protection Research Foundation. June 25-27, 1997, San Francisco, CA, 121-131 pp, 1997.

Keywords:

fire hazards assessment; fire risk; hazard assessment; fire protection; passenger vehicles; fire models; heat release rate; small scale fire tests

Abstract:

Passenger rail systems in the U.S. are experiencing a renaissance as the speed and comfort of modern trains make them competitive with other transportation systems. Commuter and intercity passenger train travel is becoming more popular. The rail transportation community is interested in moving from the use of prescriptive requirements based on bench-scale test methods to the use of a performance-based approach using modern fire hazard assessment methods. Moreover, a comprehensive review of US, French, German, and British requirements showed that the European rail industry is moving toward fire hazard and risk-based methods and away from traditional bench-scale material tests. Thus, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA)/US Department of Transportation (USDOT) has contracted with the National Institute of Standards and Technolgoy (NIST) under the direction of the Volpe National Transportation systems Center (USDOT) to devlop new approaches to fire hazard analysis based on HAZARD I. The current project involves bench-scale measurements of the fire properties of existing rail materials in the Cone Calorimeter and fire testing of full-scale assemblies to verify the predictive ability of the bench-scale tests. Design scenarios for fire hazard assessment are being developed. Modifications to the HAZARD I software are planned to facilitate its use with rail car configurations. Full-scale verification testing is planned. This presentation will focus on the construction of a baseline fire hazard evaluation of current trains outfitted with existing materials. Using this framework it should be possible to evaluate the potential impact of alternative materials or arrangements on the effect of fire on passenger train system safety.