Servicio de Información Comunitario sobre Investigación y Desarrollo - CORDIS

Final Report Summary - SECUREMETRO (Inherently secure blast resistant and fire safe metro vehicles)


Executive Summary:

The SecureMetro project has now completed all the key elements in formulating the Scenario Definition (WP1) for future analysis and testing within the project. An in-depth analysis of over 830 terrorist attacks perpetrated over the past 50 years has been completed, allowing for the mapping of particular trends with regard to method of attack, size of device, location of device, time of attack, target and casualties. Focusing on attacks over the past decade, the project has identified key trends in more recent attacks which are likely to continue into the near future. The project has now identified the key elements of metro vehicles which may be affected by such an attack and it has identified possible solutions to help mitigate the effect of a blast attack.

Panel and subcomponents blast tests were successfully conducted to assess materials and jointing methodologies.

The SecureMetro prototype vehicle design was completed and the vehicle manufactured.

The prototype vehicle was subjected to simulated blast conditions using Finite Element Analysis processes and these were used to assess the impact of material and design changes to improve resilience.

The set-up and execution of a blast test on the Metro de Madrid decommissioned vehicle was successfully completed by the Health and Safety Laboratories in the UK. The final report was produced and submitted to the Consortium.

The set-up and execution of a blast test on the SecureMetro Prototype Vehicles was successfully completed in Burgos, Spain. The data is currently being processed to fully understand the impact of the changes in materials and designs such that recommendations can be made to the industry for blast resilient vehicle design.

In Jan 2013 the results of the project were promoted via a press release through Newcastle University. The dissemination went worldwide, being picked up by all the major news channels including CNN, Sky News, BBC and by science channels such as The Discovery Channel.

In June 2013 the SecureMetro project held two highly successful Exploitation Events, in Paris and Madrid. Key industry stakeholders were present to review and discuss the findings of the project and to identify the impact to standards and design specifications.

Project Context and Objectives:

Aims:
Increased safety and security of metro vehicles from terrorist attacks by explosives and firebombs through materials choices and design, thereby increasing resilience and reducing the impact of attacks on passengers, staff, infrastructure and property.

SecureMetro aims to achieve the following results:

• An assessment of current design practices with respect to rail vehicle security in blast scenarios, and an identification of gaps in such design practices, including consideration of vehicle structural performance and crash worthiness.
• For firebomb cases, an appraisal of vehicle design, detection and fire suppression systems, including the implications for vehicle weight reduction and fuel saving
• An analysis of previous blast and firebomb attacks including both European and worldwide data on attacks since 1950.
• A forecast of possible future blast and firebomb attack tactics which may be used on metro vehicles.
• Identification of relevant blast and firebomb attacks to be used throughout the project. This will define the cases for which design work will be carried out.
• Specification of the desired vehicle performance for the attack cases identified for study in the project.
• Design specification for blast mitigation to protect rail vehicle occupants, rail vehicle structure, and surrounding infrastructure and stations, based on modelling and accompanying validation work for explosives
• Design specification for firebomb mitigation to protect rail vehicle occupants, rail vehicle structure, and surrounding infrastructure and stations, based on modelling and accompanying validation work for fire.
• Recommendations for TSI and CEN: Relevant technical data will be identified in order to propose additions to standards in vehicle structural integrity and vehicle performance in fire.

The SecureMetro project will consider threats from conventional explosives and firebombs. The four project objectives are:

1. To increase metro vehicle resilience to terrorist bomb blast through selection of vehicle materials and structural design. This will reduce injuries from fragments of vehicle materials and improve structural integrity in blast situations, offering greater security to passengers and staff. This includes enhancing the ability of a vehicle to remain on the track and keep moving so that underground rescue is not required. Contribution to structural integrity standard EN12663 will allow wide and interoperable implementation of vehicles offering security by design.
2. To increase security against a firebomb attack through design of fire barriers and fire suppression technology while also contributing to passenger safety from accidental or vandalism fires. Design of features to prevent the spread of fire and fumes will contribute to standards compliance for fire protection of railway vehicles.
3. Through increasing resilience of vehicles to blast and fire attacks and reduced damage to adjacent vehicles and infrastructure, speed up recovery following attack, allowing the rail system to "bounce-back" to normal operation quickly.
4. Reduce the attractiveness of metro systems as a target for attack by reducing deaths and injuries, increased resilience, reducing economic impact and making recovery faster. This will be achieved through wide dissemination of the findings of SecureMetro, and promotion of transfer to high speed rail of the vehicle design and technology developed for metro systems.

Project Results:

The results of the SecureMetro projects has led to improvements of the resilience of metro vehicles in the following ways:

• Improved resistance of the windows that cleanly separate from the body and do not shatter, thanks to the use of protective film and bonding. This results in the absence of broken glass flying towards the platform in case of blast in a station.
• Improved resistance of the ceiling panels and light/speaker/heavy elements using retaining cables to the main vehicle (primary) structure: the ceiling does not fall on the passengers, and does not cover the ground which would make egress difficult and hazardous.
• Improved lights using LEDs, which have been show to keep performing throughout the trial and after. This is an important point to improve the possibility to enter and egress the carriage, walk safely, assess the damages and bring rescue.
• Recommendation to reinforce the driver’s bulkhead.
• Use of flexible backing layer on certain key elements of the secondary structure to improve flexibility under blast loading.
• Another achievement of SecureMetro is the design of a testing set-up that was an improvement over that used during the first trial. The comparison of the first and second trials showed the importance of taking into consideration the inside pressure wave in order to predict the damage caused by the blast and the second trial, on the SecureMetro demonstrator, allowed to gather important data through the choice and placement of pressure sensors.

Possible improvements to the existing standards, deserving consideration for enclosure in the standards:

No current standard exists to take into account the emerging need to address the behaviour of metro vehicles facing a blast attack. The partners of the project therefore used existing standards applicable in other domains such as weaponry, or found inspiration in the existing standards addressing different issues, notably crash worthiness [EN12663, EN15227, GM/RT1230]. The lack of existing common practice in the domain was particularly notable in two domains: appropriate test and measurement techniques, and design taking blast resilience into consideration.

SecureMetro has engaged with CEN to look at which standards may be affected by the work undertaken in the project. On a national level, the partners have been keeping local standards bodies appraised of the progress of the project. It is the intention of the partners to continue the discussion after the project end-date and the manner of this engagement will be determined jointly by the European Commission and the project Co-ordinator.

CONCLUSION:

Underground railway systems are an intrinsic part of modern city living, enabling a wide variety of human activities, from work to leisure. Unfortunately, metro and commuter trains remain vulnerable to attack, a fact highlighted by the Madrid bombings in 2004 and the 7/7 attack in London in 2005.

The partners of the SecureMetro project are seeking to build public confidence in the security of the metro vehicle, thereby retaining and attracting new commuters to the system as a whole. The project has focussed on two key areas: containing the impact of an explosion and, particularly, reducing debris – the main cause of death and injury in an explosion.

Following a review of terrorist attacks on metro systems worldwide, covering the past 60 years, the SecureMetro team have sought to re-design of the current vehicles, since completely replacing them was not a practically and economically viable option. Instead, they developed and incorporated new technologies and materials to be applied into existing carriages in order to improve their performance.

Tethering heavy ceiling panels and other equipment using retention wire was one key modification made in the development of the SecureMetro prototype. Plastic film coatings were also added to windows, to protect people outside the train from flying glass, and heavier structures were replaced with lighter-weight and energy-absorbing materials.

Dealing with loose objects is crucial to reduce the risk of fatalities and injuries from flying debris, and also to ensure gangways are kept relatively clear, allowing quicker access for emergency staff and easier evacuation.

Being able to analyse an actual blast wave travelling the length of a coach was key to assessing the performance of the new design solutions. A real test explosion on board the prototype was therefore an absolutely critical element for the project. This not only provided a first-hand opportunity to review the performance of the new technologies, but also validated the blast simulations which modelled the tests.

In order to understand the mechanics of the explosion – which takes less than a second – the team used high-speed cameras, allowing them to slow down the blast footage.

Terrorism is a constant threat and remains high on the agenda for many countries around the world, and with trains being part of everyday life the project has a clear relevance for the general public and day-to-day commuters. In the event of a terrorist bomb attack the technologies investigated by the SecureMetro project will help reduce the number of injuries and fatalities.

In addition, adopting low-cost solutions into the design and manufacturing stages will not lead to a marked increase in the cost of rolling stock. For retrofit and future construction, it opens up a new competition in the rail industry supply chain to provide blast-resilient solutions.

A bomb on a train is always going to be devastating, but what we are trying to do is find a way in which the vehicle itself can help to mitigate the impact of an attack. The SecureMetro partners believe that their results can help to reaffirm commuter confidence in the security and protection offered by metro vehicles and the systems within which they run. Passengers can travel safe in the knowledge that, in the event of attack, the vehicle will act as their last line of defence. This could eventually mean increased uptake of passengers, boosting commuter count in cities that operate these vehicles.

SecureMetro is now in a position to advise the rail industry on the design of more resilient rail vehicles, and it is currently seeking to have its findings incorporated into European and national standards and regulations.

The results of the work achieved in work packages 2 and 4 had led to improvements to the design of metro vehicle in the direction of improving their blast resilience, and their testing has led to design measurement methodologies suitable for the specific context of an explosion inside a carriage. Moreover, the issues related to blast attacks on trains or metro vehicles have been shown to be of growing importance in railway security today. It therefore appears that the issues raised, and the solutions found to these issues in this specific context, are both worthy of consideration by the standardization bodies and insufficiently taken into account by any standard available today, including those pertaining to the related issues of crashworthiness, that take into account some relevant aspects but miss important points related to the pressure wave and its effects for instance on doors and windows, and on the environment of the train.

Potential Impact:

Recent terrorist incidents on the European rail system indicate the scale of the immediate societal impact of a blast type attack, or series of related attacks. In London on 7th July 2005, 52 people in addition to 4 suicide bombers were killed, and about 700 people injured. In Madrid on 11th March 2004 the figures were 191 people killed and 1755 wounded.

Reducing the number of dead or injured in any future attack is clearly of benefit, but the measures put in place to prevent or mitigate the effects of such attacks can have their own costs to society. For example, excessive surveillance or increasing militarization of urban space can perpetuate a climate of fear. There is also the possibility that specific members of the community feel they are being identified as threats, and being targeted unfairly by certain counter terrorism measures.

The SecureMetro project avoids these pitfalls of counter terrorism, and produces a more secure rail vehicle without obtrusive surveillance or identification of specific people. This will be achieved through system design and materials choices to increase the resilience to attack of metro vehicles and speed recovery of the system in the stages following a blast or firebomb attack. This will be achieved without compromising the open access nature of rail systems or subjecting passengers to a search regime.

Previous terrorist attacks on rail systems have shown that the vulnerability exists across the EU. To reach solutions for mitigation and reduction of deaths and injuries requires common solutions across the EU so that the interoperability of the rail system is maintained and enhanced. The FP7 small/medium focused research project is the ideal instrument to develop validated guidance and contributions to EU standards on designing security into rail vehicles. The rail industry and the research facilities with the necessary expertise (e.g. explosives testing and modeling) are distributed across Europe, so great value is added to their individual contributions to rail security through working together in a European level project.


SecureMetro’s impact on society:

Reinforce rail transport security:

- Passive and active safety features will improve structural integrity in blast situations, offering greater security to European citizens (passengers). This includes the ability of a vehicle to remain on the track and keep moving so that in-tunnel rescue is not required.
- Fire barriers and fire suppression technology will contribute to passenger safety from accidental fire, and increase passenger security against a firebomb attack. Design features to prevent the spread of fire and fumes will contribute to standards compliance (EN 45545 and TS 45545) for fire protection of railway vehicles.
- Recovery from attack will be faster if damage is contained. The impact of the attack will be reduced because damage to adjacent vehicles and infrastructure will be minimised.
- Increased security will maintain the competitiveness of rail transport relative to road and air modes. This is essential if the environmentally-friendly and energy-saving nature of rail transport is to contribute to the sustainability of surface transport in Europe.

Increase public confidence:

- Acknowledgement and awareness that attempts are being made at all levels to reduce the impact of terrorist activities.
- Improved passenger uptake as awareness of mitigation techniques are disseminated.

Detering terrorists:

- Mitigating the effect of terrorist attacks on all levels, including vehicle structure.
- Improved response of the vehicle to allow for more rapid return to normal service of the system.

On January 23rd, 2013, the University of Newcastle issued information regarding the project on its web site. A more comprehensive version of the press release was made available in the “Research & Innovation / Transport / Projects” pages of the European Commission:

"Underground railway systems are an intrinsic part of modern city living, enabling a wide variety of human activities, from work to leisure. Unfortunately, metro and commuter trains remain vulnerable to attack, a fact highlighted by the Madrid bombings in 2004 and the 7/7 attack in London in 2005.
NewRail’s Conor O’Neill, who coordinates the SecureMetro project, says, “We are seeking to build public confidence in the security of the metro vehicle, thereby retaining and attracting new commuters to the system as a whole.”
The project has focused on two key areas: containing the impact of an explosion and, particularly, reducing debris – the main cause of death and injury in an explosion.
Following a review of terrorist attacks on metro systems worldwide, covering the past 60 years, the SecureMetro team have re-designed current vehicles. O’Neill says completely replacing existing vehicles was not an option. Instead, they developed and incorporated new technologies and materials into existing carriages to improve performance.
Tethering heavy ceiling panels and other equipment using retention wire was one key modification made in the development of the SecureMetro prototype. Plastic film coatings were also added to windows, to protect people outside the train from flying glass, and heavier structures were replaced with lighter-weight and energy-absorbing materials.
Focus on debris
O’Neill says dealing with loose objects is crucial, reducing the risk of fatalities and injury from flying debris. It also means gangways are kept relatively clear, allowing quicker access for emergency staff seeking to help injured passengers.
Being able to analyse an actual blast wave traveling the length of a coach was key to assessing the performance of the new interior furnishings. A real test explosion on board the prototype was therefore an absolutely critical element for the project. This not only provided a first-hand opportunity to review the performance of the new technologies, but also validated the blast simulations which modelled the tests.
In order to understand the mechanics of the explosion – which takes less than a second – the team used high-speed cameras, allowing them to slow down the blast footage. “The video and images captured clearly demonstrated the successful application of our research,” says O’Neill.

“Terrorism is a constant threat and remains high on the agenda for many countries around the world,” O’Neill says, “and with trains being part of everyday life, the project has a clear relevance for the general public and day-to-day commuters. In the event of a terrorist bomb attack the technologies investigated by the SecureMetro project will help reduce the number of injuries and fatalities.
“In addition, adopting our low-cost solutions into the design and manufacturing stages will not lead to a marked increase in the cost of rolling stock,” he adds. “For retrofit and future construction, it opens up a new competition in the rail industry supply chain to provide blast-resilient solutions.”
“A bomb on a train is always going to be devastating,” O’Neill concedes, “but what we are trying to do is find a way in which the vehicle itself can help to mitigate the impact of an attack.”
SecureMetro partners believe that their results could help to reaffirm commuter confidence in the security and protection offered by metro vehicles and the systems within which they run. “Passengers can travel safe in the knowledge that, in the event of attack, the vehicle will act as their last line of defence,” says O’Neill. “This could eventually mean increased uptake of passengers, boosting commuter count in cities that operate these vehicles.”
Informing policy
SecureMetro is now in a position to advise the rail industry on the design of more resilient rail vehicles, and it is currently seeking to have its findings incorporated into European and national standards and regulations.
O’Neill says the project’s success has a lot to do with the quality of its partners: “The diversity in expertise across the European partners has allowed the project to engage various specialists in the field of explosives research, something that is extremely difficult to achieve on a national level.”

SecureMetro project partners:

- NewRail - University of Newcastle upon Tyne
- Bombardier
- MAXAM-EXPAL
- STAM
- Istituto Affari Internazionali
- RATP
- Spanish Railways Foundation
- Suncove S.A.
- Metro de Madrid
- TECNALIA
- IFSTTAR

At the same time, O'Neill adds, EU support has also been vital. “Undertaking large-scale tests such as those conducted by SecureMetro can be a resource- and cost-intensive activity, and it is thanks to EU funding that this project has not only assessed terrorist attacks on current vehicles, but allowed us to demonstrate our research in a metro vehicle prototype.”

European Commission Project Officer Alexandra Gurau says improving the security of passengers through intelligent structural design is one of the challenges now being addressed by the European railway system. “SecureMetro is a very welcome European initiative that properly addresses these challenges, by developing blast-proof technologies and systems that should help save lives.”

With its diverse and well-assembled consortium, Gurau says SecureMetro has the potential to deliver a positive step forward, even a step change, in European railway safety and security."

In October 2010 and June 2013 the SecureMetro project held highly successful Exploitation Events, in Lille, Paris and Madrid. Key industry stakeholders were present to review and discuss the findings of the project and to identify the impact to standards and design specifications. The aim of the exploitation group meetings were :

• To present and to discuss the SecureMetro project.
• To analyse current EU projects related to the resilience of vehicles to blast and fire attacks.
• To define future development needs.

The discussion topics were chosen according to the main area of SecureMetro project objectives and the involvement of other European projects dealing with safety and security aspects.


List of Websites:

www.securemetro.com

Información relacionada

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UNIVERSITY OF NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE
United Kingdom
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