Photo: YouTube Screenshot
European researchers have developed subway cars designed to better withstand bombings, to prepare for the possibility of future terrorist attacks on public transport systems.In 2010, the SecureMetro project was commissioned by the EU to prepare rail systems for bombings like those of trains in Madrid in 2004 and in London in 2005.
Led by Newcastle University, the three-year project blew up decommissioned carriages to find ways to limit damage in the event of an explosion.
The project focused on two aims: containing the impact of a blast, and reducing the spread of debris that can block emergency service access to the scene. The solutions they found are simple and low-cost, the team announced yesterday.
In the test explosion, nearly all of the windows, doors, and ceiling panels are blown out. With better information about how explosions work in conventional cars, the team developed a window coating that keeps glass from shattering. Instead, the glass ripples and remains intact. Special safety windows are designed to be knocked out.
Heavy equipment — such as seats and ceiling tiles — is tethered down using retention wire, so flying objects do not injure passengers and bystanders, or block the path of emergency responders.
These changes do not require the complete redesign of the cars, so the cost of implementing them will be limited.
Conor O’Neill, an engineer at Newcastle University said, “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.”
SecureMetro’s findings will be used to advise the rail industry on ways to improve how train cars fare in the event of an explosion.
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