Landmark Euro project nearing completion

EWF LogoA workshop in support of a European mass transit initiative to develop new approaches in fire safety engineering was staged by the UK partners Exova Warringtonfire and BRE Global.

The TRANSFEU event - held at Exova Warringtonfire headquarters - brought together some of the most eminent fire safety experts in surface transport in Europe at a milestone in the project’s delivery.

This workshop highlighted present and future regulatory surface transport issues and how fire safety engineering principles can contribute to the design, development and production of improved passenger vehicles.

The European Commission (EC) project comprises 21 partners from 10 European countries including five train operators, four train builders and 12 fire laboratories.

The main goal of TRANSFEU is to develop a holistic approach to fire safety engineering to support consistency of standards in European surface transport requirements in the railway, road and marine sectors.
The workshop was chaired by Phil Hinde, rolling stock and depots manager of Crossrail Ltd, who stressed that the fire safety of rolling stock is always of concern when railway vehicles that carry passengers operate in conditions that may challenge their evacuation in the event of a fire on board, especially when the train is in a tunnel.

The objectives of the TRANSFEU Project were reviewed by Peter Briggs, project manager of Exova Warringtonfire. Peter explained that it has been run as a two-stage project. He said the main aim of stage one was to develop a new test method for the assessment of the toxicity of fire effluents from products used on trains under dynamic conditions. This method would be validated in stage two using fire safety engineering methodology and the results from real-scale tests carried out under various railway vehicle scenarios.

Richard Nowell, rolling stock engineer at the UK Railway Safety and Standards Board, described the relationship between EU Rail Directives and UK law for railways, while Jo Assael, principal for fire safety technology at the UK Maritime & Coastguard Agency, gave a detailed review of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) regulatory framework and on updates to the Fire Test Procedure Code.

Beth Dean, analytical scientist at Exova Warringtonfire, showed how the TRANSFEU research has improved the measurement of toxic gas effluents so that dynamic data can be recorded using state-of- the-art FTIR spectrometry.

Clare Barker, principal consultant on fire engineering for Exova Warringtonfire (Europe), and Peter Briggs addressed the use of test data for classification in EN 45545 Part 2.

Heinz Reimann, senior engineer of Bombardier Transportation (Switzerland) Ltd, reported on the validation work that TRANSFEU has done to establish realistic classification criteria from large and real scale fire tests of key products such as wall-ceiling linings, seats and cables.

David Crowder, senior consultant on fire & security for BRE Global Ltd, gave examples of how fire investigations in the building sector have influenced developments of improved standards and regulations.

Group workshop sessions were also held on fire safety engineering topics including changing fire safety regulations and standards, fire barriers and active fire protection and fire safety engineering and modelling in the design of fire safe transport.

Peter Briggs said: “This was another key milestone for the project and enabled clarification of some important issues and the successful sharing of the research findings and recommendations of the TRANSFEU project to date.”

The TRANSFEU project, which started in April 2009, is scheduled to complete at the end of September this year.