Fire Safety Requirements on Rolling Stock: Charting the Course for Your Safety on Board

Our expertise in the field of passive fire protection for rolling stock has earned us great trust. Every day we receive enquiries and requests for solutions that need to meet the most varied fire safety requirements for railway vehicles of any type. As we are committed to satisfying these needs at all times, we keep up to date with the requirements set out in all relevant standards and country-specific regulations. Also, we have our products consistently undergo stringent testing procedures in accordance with the latest editions of all pertinent standards.

All constituents in perfect focus: Fire safety requirements for rolling stock materials

Whether it is cables, seat upholstery, tiny attachments or coatings – each and every installation material must meet the applicable fire safety requirements for rolling stock. Therefore, extensive testing is indispensable. The tests are designed to identify the hazards arising from materials and their constituents in the process of combustion. Fire safety is assessed based on the degree to which the safety performance targets are achieved as per the definition in the applicable standard for the specific type and area of use of the rolling stock.

The following international standards are of particular relevance in the field of materials testing:

  • EN 45545-2
  • British Standard (BS)
  • NFPA 130 (ASTM E162 / E662)
  • GOST

Materials classification to EN 45545-2

It is only after having passed all individual tests that a material will be considered fit for assessment in light of the fire safety requirements applicable to rolling stock and that it will be classified for use based on its compliance with the pertinent limit values. These limit values are defined in standard EN 45545-2. Materials that by design meet the highest standards in terms of fire behaviour are exempted from the testing requirement as they are approved for use on rolling stock of any category, e. g. components classified as A1 (non-flammable) to EN 13501-1.

What does EN 45545-2 mean?

European standard EN 45545-2 is entitled “Rail applications – Fire protection on railway vehicles“. Part 2 deals with the “Requirements for fire behavior of materials and components“. EN 45545-2 sets out the conditions and measures that are conducive to containing the spread of fire. The standard also includes a definition of the fire safety requirements for materials and components employed in the construction of rolling stock. Different hazard levels (HL) are assigned depending on a railway vehicle’s class of service (operation category) and class of design (design category).

Quelle: DIN EN 45545-2 – 2020-10 – Beuth.de

Fire safety requirements on rolling stock: svt products meet stringent standards

More than 90% of our classified fire protection products comply with the requirements of the HL3 standard and are thus approved for use on rolling stock of any design category. The table below illustrates the assignment of hazard levels in terms of operation categories and design categories:

Table illustrating the assignment of rolling stock hazard levels

Hazard levels by operation category and design category

Our fire protection solutions are tested to EN 45545-2 depending on the size of the exposed surface and the area of use on the rolling stock in accordance with the requirements set out in the table below:

Exposed surface (Intended) use Requirement set
> 0,20 m² Indoors R1
> 0,20 m² Outdoors R7
≤ 0,20 m² Indoors R22
≤ 0,20 m² Outdoors R23

Tables: © DIN Deutsches Institut für Normungen e. V. (German Institute for Standardisation)

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Fire safety: Requirements for fire barriers on rolling stock

In contrast to the fire safety requirements that relate to the materials of railway vehicles in terms of material properties and ingredients (micro level), the focus of global testing (e. g. to EN 45545-3 or NFPA 130) is on assessing the fire resistance of design components and the overall system (macro level). The centre of attention here is the fire safety requirements for rolling stock in terms of structural safety. Fire resistance testing of the latter type is conducted under simulated real-world conditions so as to ensure the safety of passengers and staff on board in the event of a real fire. Structural fire resistance is not classified in terms of hazard levels, but in terms of duration of fire resistance.

Fire barriers are subject to a variety of fire safety requirements for rolling stock that depend on the operation category: A railway vehicle that passes through long tunnels and only allows lateral passenger evacuation in the event of a fire must meet more stringent fire safety requirements in terms of overall structural resistance than, for example, a tram.

Our latest solution for passive fire protection on rolling stock meets highest fire resistance requirements

Specially for use on rolling stock, we have developed fire protection coating FLAMMADUR® TE C, a material that has given impressive proof of its protective capabilities in a fire resistance test conducted to EN 45545-3. In order to test the material and its fire protection properties in the most realistic conditions possible, the floor structure of a rolling stock was simulated with an extruded aluminium profile and an 18 mm thick plywood panel installed on top of it. The fire side of the extruded aluminium profile, i. e. the side that would be exposed to thermal attack in the event of a fire, was coated with FLAMMADUR® TE C in a dry film thickness of 1200 µm. Thanks to the fast foam formation of the fire protection coating, the aluminium profile and thus the entire floor structure were protected in a very short period of time. The fire safety requirements of class EI 45 in accordance with EN 45545-3 were fully met.

Aluminium-Strangpressprofil mit Brandschutzbeschichtung FLAMMADUR® TE C vor Großbrandprüfung

Before the fire test: Extruded aluminium profile coated with FLAMMADUR® TE C

Aluminium-Strangpressprofil mit aufgeschäumter Brandschutzbeschichtung FLAMMADUR® TE C nach Großbrandprüfung

After the fire test: Extruded aluminium profile coated with FLAMMADUR® TE C

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Frederic Tschuschke

Teamleader Rail