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 Safe on a train?

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​​​Safe on a train? ​
A little maintenance goes a long way 

​​Trains are statistically amongst the safest of ways to travel but being a little safer never hurt anyone and that’s why Kaimann now offers insulation that meets the highest possible hazard class, HL3, when tested under EN 45545.

J​​ust a few years after the harmonised European fire standard for building applications, EN 13501-1, came into effect the harmonised European fire standard for rail applications, EN 45545 is gradually rolling out across the continent. Harmonisation reduces the number of fire tests that a material must undergo to be sold across Europe but EN 13501-1 and EN 45545 remain stubbornly distinct and a material that passes one with ease can fail the other completely.

Which raises the obvious question – ‘why?’​

A different track

​​It all turns out to be deeply rooted in the different ways that buildings and trains are designed to cope with the outbreak of a fire. This in turn has an impact on the properties that are deemed important for a material to exhibit.

​​When a fire breaks out in a building evacuation is normally possible. The emphasis on ancillary materials like pipe insulation is to minimise the rate of flame spread and ensure that the material doesn’t release its energy in a relatively sudden burst – adding to the intensity of the fire.

​​In a confined area like a train carriage evacuation might not be possible at all and the emphasis in fire safety changes slightly. Smoke, particularly smoke toxicity (something not considered at all under the EN 13501-1 fire codes for buildings), becomes far more important. Even a small amount of smoke can be deadly in such a confined space.

The time before combustion takes place and the rate of the burning process is also more critical inside a rail carriage. EN 45545 therefore prioritises different things to EN 13501-1 and provides fire ratings that are specific to rail applications and not transferable to conventional building applications.​

Which hazard level is my train on?

​​One of the underlying assumptions of EN 45545 is that not all trains present the same risks. A train that might operate for large periods underground with only a computer for a driver is considered a higher risk than a train that operates exclusively above ground in the open that could be easily evacuated in a fire.

​​A train can fall into one of 3 hazard levels depending on the design of the train and its operation category:

Design Category
Operation CategoryStandard VehiclesAutomated (no driver)Double Decker TrainsSleeper Carriages
1HL1HL1HL1HL2
2HL2HL2HL2HL2
3HL2HL2HL2HL3
4HL3HL3HL3HL3

Operation category 1 is for vehicles that are not designed or equipped to run on underground sections, on elevated structures or through tunnels while operation category 4 is for vehicles that are and where there is no possibility of evacuation. Categories 2 and 3 fall in-between.

​​Almost all trains in the UK and Ireland fit into the standard vehicle design category (with no double decker trains and only a bare handful of automated and sleeper trains) and most may be expected at some point to operate through a tunnel or over a viaduct.

Accordingly most trains in the UK and Ireland require materials that satisfy a minimum classification of HL2 but some may require HL3 and it can be hard to know in advance which classification is required.​

Kaiflex RailCLAD

​​When you need a material that’s capable of being used on any train in the UK & Ireland you need a material that’s a class above. Kaiflex RailCLAD, the new solution for trains from Kaimann, satisfies HL3 and can be used on any train.

Kaiflex RailCLAD is able to achieve this thanks to the combination of a thin intumescent covering that slows the rate of combustion and halogen free, low smoke and low smoke toxicity rubber substrate.​

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rains are statistically amongst the safest of ways to travel but being a little safer never hurt anyone and that’s why Kaimann now offers insulation that meets the highest possible hazard class, HL3, when tested under EN 45545 ...

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Article Date
10/22/2015
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blog-technical-insulation