The federal office of transport will soon release a report about tunnel
security and improvements necessary. However, some things were realized in
the last 10 years. 1991 Apr 4 a train caught fire in Zï¿½rich
Hirschengrabentunnel (between main station and Stadelhofen). The inevitable
happened: somebody pulled the emergency brake. People had to walk our over
nearly 1 km. As there was no "chimney effect" as in Kaprun, nobody was
Afterwards bilevel trains were equipped with an emergency brake retarder
(Notbremsï¿½berbrï¿½ckung) which gives a signal to the engineer. He can decide
whether to stop or to proceed. In a tunnel he would usually decide to
proceed. The same device is installed in trains going over Germany's new
lines (Neubaustrecken). On the RhB with it's vacuum breaks, it was not
possible to install the same device. So a system was installed which can
also be found in Undergrounds (U-Bahnen). It allows passengers to speak to
the engineer. So he also gets information about the reason of the emergency
and can thus better evaluate whether to proceed or not.
Another thing installed in many tunnels in the meantime is light and
walkways. Finally the standard for all new long tunnels is to bore two
holes, so the one not affected by an event can serve as rescue tunnel. Of
course, the chunnel system with three tunnels is even better, but also much
more expensive. New Gotthard and new Lï¿½tschberg will consist of two tunnels.
Also the good old Simplon consists of two tunnels.
SBB and BLS own a total of about twelve rescue and fire extinguish trains.
One can often be seen in Zï¿½rich and one in Bern. They have three cars and
are red. They mostly stand somewhere with a Diesel enginge coupled to them.
Until now, they had been sent for fires many times - but of houses besides
the railway lines!
Von: "klaus domes" <email@example.com>
An: "SBB-List" <SBB@egroups.com>
Gesendet: Freitag, 17. November 2000 17:32
Betreff: [SBB] Fire in a tunnel
Having read about the firy inferno in a (funicular-)tunnel in Kaprun,Austria where over 160 people lost there lives, I would like to ask a
question. What would happen if a passenger train, passing through a long
tunnel catches fire ? I could imagine a passenger detecting the smoke or the
flames pulling the emergency break. Common wisdom has it, that in case of a
fire on board of a train in a tunnel, the train should not stop but try exit
the tunnel as quick as possible. Is the train crew trained to deal with such
an emergency ? How would the train proceed if the emergency break was been
activated ? What would happen if on account of the fire the catenary is lost
There is not much talk about the a,b,c of tunnel rescue. I read that theRhB apparently has tunnel emergency trains on both sides of the Vereina
tunnel in Selfranga and Sagliains. But I can't recall having ever seen such
equipment in Goeschenen or Airolo, in Brig etc. Unfortunately those
accidents do happen (Kaprun, Channel tunnel, etc.).