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Full-scale Fire Experiment On A Typical Passenger Train

White, N., Dowling, V.P. and Barnett, J.R., 2005. Full-scale Fire Experiment On A Typical Passenger Train. Fire Safety Science 8: 1157-1168. doi:10.3801/IAFSS.FSS.8-1157


A full-scale fire experiment has been conducted on a typical Australian passenger train. In this experiment a train fire was allowed to become fully developed involving all combustible materials within the train. This paper focuses on the results of the fully developed fire. The experiment was conducted outside rather than in a tunnel. Measurements included temperatures, vent flows, heat flux and gas analysis. Observations were recorded. It was found that ceiling and upper wall linings are more critical for fire spread than seats and lower wall linings. The ignition source consisted of 1 kg of crumpled newspaper, the equivalent of a Saturday Melbourne newspaper, located on the floor, beneath a seat in one corner of the carriage interior. The fully developed fire went to flashover 140 s after ignition and spread inside the vehicle very rapidly, spreading to have involved all fitted materials by 175 s. This highlighted the very short evacuation time available for such an event. From 150 s large plumes of flame flowed out the side doors and a very high production of smoke was observed. After flashover the peak heat release rate was ventilation controlled. From this it is concluded that many common methods of estimating train fire heat release rate are not valid and that further research into ventilation of train fires is required. This experiment provides unique full scale data for a flashover fire on a furnished suburban rail carriage.


train fires, fire size, full-scale test

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