Catastrophic fires in tunnels have resulted in loss of life, significant asset damage and operational interruption. The ignition and spread of fire in rail applications remains one of the most important design and engineering challenges for tunnel owners and operators. For this reason both infrastructure and tunnel engineers are actively looking for materials with innovative flame-retardant properties, and solutions to reduce the spread of flames, temperature, smoke – and ultimately save lives.


WeRail Group have partnered directly with the tunnel owners and operators for over a decade to recognise their key ‘current’ challenges, interests and investment areas. In summary ‘Tunnel & Metro Fire Protection 2021’, is a series of technically lead webinars for the global rail community. The series focuses specifically on design, material, engineering solutions and technical innovations for improved fire performance of rail assets. WeRail Group have an established world wide leading position in delivering events, critical updates and digital content for the tunnel and tunnelling sector; and for this project we are thrilled to be partnering with the major Infrastructure stake holders to deliver high-value, practical and technical information to address their precise business needs.



Fire Protection Systems In Tunnels: Issues And Directions

Fire in road and rail tunnels spreads very rapidly due to radiation. Charged particles are reflected from the internal surfaces of the tunnel, making it act like a clay oven. Hot gasses accumulating in the tunnel can lead to a flashover. Improper use of ventilation in an emergency can lead to “ventilated oven conditions”, increasing the convection effect and allowing the fire to gain intensity and spread inside the tunnel. A fire in a tunnel should therefore be controlled in its early stages, in order to limit its spread.

Not all tunnels are provided with service tunnels connected to the main tunnel, and sometimes the driving distance for emergency vehicles can be relatively long. The electrification system to trains inside the tunnel needs to be de-energized by the people with the proper jurisdiction, authority and knowledge before manual fire fighting can be organised. Interventions may also be delayed by the difficulty involved in identifying the fire area due to heavy toxic fumes, extremely high temperatures, obstructions, derailments or unknown hazardous materials. Considering the above, property damages resulting from a fire in a tunnel can be very significant, including both tunnel structure, vehicles and track.

Tunnel owners and operators are confronted with the problem of rising costs for tunnel safety

  • Protect The Tunnel Structure And Minimise Damages On The Tunnel
  • Hampering Fire Spread To Adjacent Objects
  • Facilitate The Work Of The Rescue Services
  • Improvement of The Self Rescue Conditions for The People Inside The Tunnel
  • Structural and organisational measures: escape tunnels, escape areas, smoke extraction, concepts for stopping, rescue concepts
  • Accurate and timely fire location
  • Automatic triggering of interactions to control traffic, to assess the risk at the site of fire, to control ventilation and alarm emergency services
  • Automatic control of extinguishing systems to hold down the fire control temperature until the emergency services can be deployed

Interactive webinar sessions offer a unique opportunity for a focused audience with shared investment interests to benchmark best practice and explore solutions to critical challenges. Hosted by industry experts each webinar focuses on a single issue.

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