Eurostar trains were designed with channel tunnel safety in mind, and consist of two independent “half-sets”, each with its own power car. In line with Eurostar policy, continuous research is carried out to establish the very best means of protecting both rolling stock and passengers while at the same time complying with all current safety & environmental issues – including the Kyoto Protocol which forbids the use of Halon as a fire suppression agent.
On behalf of Eurostar, and responding to the Kyoto requirement for legally binding commitments for the reduction of greenhouse gases, Brush Traction engineers researched available fire extinguishing systems such as water mist, FM200, Novec 1230, inert gases and condensed aerosol systems as possible alternatives to the current Halon system installed. Their research clearly concluded that the technical leader was Stat-X®!
Stat-X condensed aerosol fire suppression systems are distributed throughout Europe by Nobel Fire Systems, (www.nobel-fire-systems.com), a trained and certified Stat-X distributor. Over the last two years Brush, Eurostar, and Nobel have been working together to prove the effectiveness of the system to the Channel Tunnel Safety Authority (CTSA) and the Channel Tunnel Intergovernmental Commission (ICG), including a series of full scale mock-up fire tests at the French fire systems approvals and testing authority CNPP based in Vernon France. On successful conclusion and with final sign off from both the CTSA and the ICG, Eurostar awarded Nobel the contract in July 2012, due for completion in 2015.
Nobel Fire Systems has started the removal of the Halon and the installation of Stat-X systems. Work on the first two of the 28 trains is now complete.
The Stat-X system, which also includes a custom interface control panel, is designed to protect the power car including transformer, common block and motor block, using both localized and total flood protection methods. In the event of an onboard fire, Stat-X generators can be activated either manually or automatically via the integrated dash mounted control panel. On activation, the generators produce an exceptionally effective, ultra-fine, potassium based aerosol.
Unlike gaseous systems, Stat-X aerosol generators are cost effective to install and maintain as they do not require the pressure vessels, piping or expensive installation costs associated with other extinguishing systems. Space and weight requirements are minimal and, in many applications, the compact size of the Stat-X aerosol generators makes them the only viable option. Stat-X aerosol generators are virtually maintenance free and have a shelf life of over ten (10) years. This, coupled to their very low installation cost, makes them an extremely cost effective fire protection solution. The versatility and effectiveness of the Stat-X system has been clearly demonstrated in this challenging opportunity.