Fire safety continues to be a high priority with the need for development of refined testing techniques and metrics of performance that can be applied by car manufactures’ and operating authorities for new equipment purchases. FRA will continue its efforts to develop enhanced passenger rail fire safety regulations. A variation on the traditional test methods and performance criteria specified by the FRA is being developed to evaluate rail car fire hazards.
Further revisions of the FRA Fire Safety Table (published May 12, 1999 and revised June 25, 2002) are planned to reflect use of heat release rate (HRR) data rather than traditional test method data and the use of modeling to determine the potential hazard of individual materials. In addition performance criteria for wire and cable fire performance and alternative smaller-scale (lower cost) floor fire endurance test are being investigated.
Alternative Fire Standards Development: FRA will continue efforts to develop enhanced passenger rail fire safety regulations. A variation on the traditional test methods and performance criteria specified by FRA is being developed to evaluate rail car fire hazards.
Conventional and Alternative Fuel Tank Performance : The objective of this effort is to determine if passenger and freight locomotives are subject to the same causes of spillage and fire during accidents, and to determine if underslung and integral tanks are equally vulnerable in accidents to spillage and fire. Additionally, alternative designs will be developed to significantly lighten the weight of the current tanks while improving the energy absorption capacities prior to rupture.