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Fire Safety of Passenger Trains. Phase 3. Evaluation of Fire Hazard Analysis Using Full-Scale Passenger Rail Car Tests (NISTIR 6563)



Richard D. Peacock, Jason D. Averill, Daniel M. Madrzykowski, D W. Stroup, Paul A. Reneke, Richard W. Bukowski


Fire safety is an area of particular interest for both conventional intercity and commuter passenger trains, and new high-speed trains. A systems approach to fire safety addresses passenger rail car design and materials, detection and suppression, passenger and train crew evacuation, and their interactions. The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) is sponsoring a multi-phase research program directed at providing the scientific basis for using a systems approach to evaluate the level of passenger train fire safety already achieved through the current prescriptive material requirements. Previously published interim reports document the research program results to date. Phase I focused on the evaluation of passenger rail car interior furnishing materials using data from existing FRA-cited small-scale test methods and from an alternative test method using the cone calorimeter (ASTM International E-1354). In Phase II, full-scale tests were conducted of selected interior material component assemblies using a larger scale furniture calorimeter; fire hazard analyses were then conducted for three types of intercity passenger rail cars, using data from both types of tests. This Phase III interim report compares the results of Phases I and II of the research program, with a series of full-scale fire tests conducted in an Amtrak coach rail car. The goal of Phase III was to evaluate the extent that the results of the small- and full-scale tests and fire hazard analyses using the Consolidated Model of Fire and Smoke Transport (CFAST) computer model are predictive of actual passenger rail car material burning behavior.
NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR) - 6563
Report Number


passenger trains, fire safety, evaluation, fire hazard analysis, large scale fire tests, cone calorimeters, egress, fire models, furniture calorimeters, heat release rate, railroad safety, test methods, transportation


Peacock, R. , Averill, J. , Madrzykowski, D. , Stroup, D. , Reneke, P. and Bukowski, R. (2004), Fire Safety of Passenger Trains. Phase 3. Evaluation of Fire Hazard Analysis Using Full-Scale Passenger Rail Car Tests (NISTIR 6563), NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online], (Accessed July 22, 2024)


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Created April 1, 2004, Updated February 19, 2017