Hazard Working within underground rail infrastructure
Knowledge and understanding
|Working within underground rail infrastructure||
Understand all associated hazard knowledge
It is estimated that approximately 650 railway tunnels are in regular service, totalling over 200 miles of tunnel in the United Kingdom. Most fire and rescue services will have mainline railway tunnels within their area which will vary in length and complexity.
Underground rail infrastructure can be complex and can present hazardous working environments, requiring that a flexible approach be adopted when planning a tactical response. The extreme conditions that can rapidly develop, and the potential for disorientation, can make operations difficult, tiring and resource intensive. Tunnels that appear straightforward can lead to confusion because of the repetition of features and the lack of wayfinder indicators.
When dealing with a railway tunnel incident, operational issues related to tunnels should be considered, in conjunction with design features and operational issues related to railway incidents. Whichever type of system is in use, some of the features specific to railway tunnels might include:
- The characteristics of railway use mean that the tunnels can be longer than other sorts of tunnels
- Often large numbers of the public will be on a rail vehicle, and there may be a lower level of staff supervision at an incident
- Rail vehicles held in tunnels may become hot and uncomfortable, causing passengers to become distressed or unwell