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Developed and maintained
by the NFCC

Control measure
Safe system of work: Rail tunnels

Control measure knowledge

For rail-related incidents located underground or in tunnels, safe systems of work, over and above those for working in the rail infrastructure, should take into account:

  • Gaining an understanding of the environment, including:
    • The access, egress and evacuation strategy
    • Location of pressurised escape areas or intervention shafts
    • Location of and distance to water supplies
    • The structural stability of the tunnel
  • The type of line – single or bidirectional
  • If there is an electric rail power system including overhead line equipment (OLE) or conductor rail equipment (CRE)
  • Whether the rail power system is involved

Fire and rescue services may need to:

  • Request or provide emergency lighting
  • Establish alternative communication strategies
  • Request assistance for the transportation of emergency services equipment – this could include medical equipment as well as fire and rescue service equipment
  • Consider the impact of exhaust fumes from petrol driven equipment, such as pumps, generators and fans

Strategic actions

Fire and rescue services should:
  • Gather Site-Specific Risk Information (SSRI) about rail networks that are underground or in tunnels

  • Provide personnel with equipment to assist with working underground or in tunnels

Tactical actions

Incident commanders should:
  • Gain an understanding of the rail tunnel working environment and inform personnel about the hazards

  • Request advice and assistance from the responsible person

  • Maintain communication with the responsible person and fire control rooms to ensure the accuracy of information

  • Request assistance for the evacuation of passengers from rail tunnels, if required

  • Request or provide appropriate equipment for rail tunnels, such as emergency lighting and communication equipment