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Fire Hazard Evaluation of the Interior of WMATA Metrorail Cars. Final Report.



E Braun


A series of fire tests was conducted for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority to assist them in assessing the potential or fire hazard in the new Metrorail subway cars. Results of small-scale laboratory tests were found inadequate for this assessment. Results of full-scale tests on mock-ups of the interior (and on a real car for a smoke penetration test) show that the potential for hazard arises primarily from the seat padding and covering and from the plastic wall lining. The hazard arises both from smoke development and from spread of flame and heat. The times to reach unacceptable conditions has been determined for several test conditions. It is recommended that the authorities review these times in the context of what they consider to be appropriate times for safe escape. Recommendations are made for increasing the amount of time available for escape. These would require changes in the seating and wall lining materials.
NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR) -


flame spread, flammability, large scale fire tests, neoprene (trademark), smoke, subways, transportation, urethanes


Braun, E. (1975), Fire Hazard Evaluation of the Interior of WMATA Metrorail Cars. Final Report., NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online], (Accessed April 19, 2024)
Created December 1, 1975, Updated February 19, 2017