Transportation – Rail

Case Study:  Eurostar

Eurostar, the high-speed train service connecting London and Kent in the United Kingdom with Paris and Lille in France, and Brussels in Belgium operates Class 373 trains which travel at up to 300 km/h (186 mph) on a network of high-speed lines.

Eurostar trains were designed with channel tunnel safety in mind, and consist of two independent “half-sets”, each with its own power car. In line with company policy, continuous research is carried out to establish the very best means of protecting both rolling stock and passengers while at the same time complying with all current safety & environmental issues – including the Kyoto Protocol which forbids the use of Halon as a fire suppression agent.

On behalf of Eurostar, and responding to the Kyoto requirement for legally binding commitments for the reduction of greenhouse gases, Loughborough based Brush Traction researched available fire extinguishing systems such as Water mist, FM200, Novec 1230, inert gases, and condensed aerosol systems as possible alternatives to the current Halon system installed. In their research, they were joined by Nobel Fire Systems Ltd experts in all types of fire suppression systems. This research clearly highlighted the market and product leader was Stat-X®.

As such from 2010 to 2012 Brush, Eurostar, and Nobel have been working together to prove the effectiveness of the system to the Channel Tunnel Safety Authority (CTSA) and the Channel Tunnel Intergovernmental Commission (ICG), including a series of full scale mock-up fire tests at the French fire systems approvals and testing authority CNPP based in Vernon France. On successful conclusion and with final sign off from both the CTSA and the ICG, Eurostar awarded the contract in July 2012, due for completion in 2015. The system, which also included the design of a bespoke interface control panel, is designed to protect the power compartment car including transformer, common block, and motor block. Stat-X has been installed in key locations around the power car section of the train, providing superior localized and total flood protection clearly demonstrating the versatility and effectiveness of the system.

In the event of an onboard fire, Stat-X generators can be activated either manually or automatically via the integrated dash mounted control panel. On activation, the generators produce an exceptionally effective, ultra-fine, potassium based aerosol. Unlike gaseous systems, Stat-X aerosol generators are cost effective to install and maintain as they do not require the pressure vessels, piping, or expensive installation costs associated with other extinguishing systems. Space and weight requirements are minimal and, in many applications, the compact size of the Stat-X aerosol generators makes them the only viable option.

Stat-X aerosol generators are virtually maintenance free and have a shelf life of over 10 years. This, coupled to their low installation cost, makes them an extremely cost effective fire protection solution.

The Risk: Fires in Locomotives and Railroad Cars

Fire protection of railroads is critically important as the risk of a catastrophic fire to human life and property continues to be a major concern, both in the public sector and in private operations. Downtime and replacement costs of a damaged locomotive demand that a simple, stable, durable fire suppression solution be implemented. These fires are unpredictable and often difficult to avoid. In recent years, awareness of this issue has grown tremendously, and automatic fire suppression is more and more often required by regulation or strongly recommended as an economical and sensible solution.

Most rail fires occur in electric drives, diesel fuel and electric engine compartments, hybrid battery stations, hydraulics, electric control cabinets, and braking mechanisms of the locomotive. Cylinder heads and oil filter chambers are especially at risk.

Fire protection of these areas is complicated by the limited space and the heavy wear and tear of these vehicles. The railroad environment is typically subject to constant vibrations, great changes in humidity and temperature, and dusty and dirt-filled tracks. All of these combine to make Stat-X an ideal fire suppression solution for the rolling stock industry.

The Solution: Stat-X Fire Suppression Advanced Technology

Stat-X highly-advanced fire suppression technology offers the most compact and economical fire extinguishing solution available for the rolling stock industry. A Stat-X unit consists of an extremely rugged, hermetically sealed, stainless steel canister containing a stable, solid compound.

The canister is durable and non-pressurized, and is capable of withstanding harsh, corrosive environments. In the event of a fire, Stat-X units automatically release ultra-fine particles and propellant inert gases which quickly and effectively extinguish fires without depleting oxygen levels and with no negative impact on the environment. Stat-X extinguishing units are compact and modular

Versatile Applications

Stat-X units are available either as electrically activated units integrated with a variety of fire detection systems, or as thermally-activated units, requiring no external power source. Stat-X units are modular in size, capable of protecting all high-risk component areas of a locomotive, including engine compartments, oil filter chambers, cylinder heads, hybrid and conventional battery containers, hydraulics, and all electric control cabinets.

Highly Economical

Stat-X units have very little installation expense as no piping is needed and no pressure-relief systems are involved. The simple and robust design requires virtually no maintenance, thereby reducing ongoing operating costs. Further, discharge of the extinguishing agent causes no harmful byproducts, so in the event of a fire, downtime is kept to a minimum.

At-risk areas to be protected by Stat-X Fire Suppression Systems

  • Engine
  • Diesel fuel filter chamber
  • Hydraulics
  • Hybrid systems
  • Electric control cabinets
  • Braking mechanisms

The Advantages

  • Effective fire suppression
  • 24/7 automatic protection
  • Extended service life
  • Ideal for harsh environments
  • Rugged, sealed stainless steel construction
  • Compact and modular design
  • Many certifications, including MIL-STD-801G, see below
  • No ODP, No ATL, and insignificant GWP
  • Non-toxic (when designed and operated to listing requirements)
  • Easy retrofit option
  • No maintenance required
  • Low cost

Rolling Stock Stat-X Fire Suppression Applications

  • Tunnel Locomotives
  • Standard Gauge Locomotives
  • High-speed Trains
  • Commuter and Metro Trains
  • Subways
  • Diesel, Electric, and Hybrid Trains

Approvals, Listings, and Certifications

The advanced technology used by Stat-X products is covered by NFPA® 2010 Standard for Fixed Aerosol Fire-Extinguishing Systems. Current approvals are shown below and more are pending.

UL (Underwriters Laboratories), EX 15004
ULC (Underwriters Laboratories of Canada), EX 15004
ActivFire/CSIRO Australia, afp-2284
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