Doubledecker coaches to have fire safety system

Railways has decided to equip all new doubledecker coaches with automatic smoke detector systems to prevent any fire incident.

New Delhi: Railways has decided to equip all new doubledecker coaches with automatic smoke detector systems to prevent any fire incident.

The proposed Chennai-Bangalore and Habibgunj-Indore doubledecker trains will be operational with full-fledged fire alarm systems, a senior Railway Minister involved with the safety measure said.

However, Delhi-Jaipur and Howrah-Dhanbad doubledecker trains, which are already operational, as well as Rajdhani, Shatabdi and Duronto trains, would be equipped with the system in due course as per the fire safety measures initiated by Railways, he said.

Research Designs and Standard Organisation has finalised the specification for the system and tendering process is on for awarding the contract, the minister said.

Once the vendor is selected for the job, all the LHB and doubledecker coaches will be fitted with the fire alarm system at the manufacturing level, while retrofitting procedures will be adopted for the already manufactured LHB coaches, he said.

Fire alarm systems, vital for protection of lives and assets, is very complicated in trains due to the electrical environment, vibrations, and variation in temperature and humidity, which can interfere with the system`s functioning, he said, adding, the system has been developed after several trials in the Bhubaneswar Rajdhani Express.

Describing its functioning, he said there are three layers of warning in the smoke detection system.

In the first stage, when some smoke is detected, an alert will be sent to a console, which would be manned by a guard. "The guard will alert the coach attendant accordingly after seeing the warning on the console," he said.

If more smoke starts coming out from the same coach, a strobe light would be flashed simultaneously outside that coach and on the console manned by the guard, he said.

Finally, automatic brakes will be applied to stop the train, followed by a hooter sound, if the system detects considerable amount of smoke or fire in the coach, he said.

The fire safety system will be installed only in air conditioned coaches- AC First, AC Second, AC Three Tier, AC Chaircar and AC pantry car.

The minister said the current system is meant for AC coaches only but soon an effective system for non-AC coaches will also be developed.

The LHB coaches have fire retardant quality. "The materials used for flooring, seating arrangement, curtains and vestibules in the LHB coaches are all fire retardant," he said.