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Fire detection on the move

17 November 2009

Travellers on First Great Western trains from Penzance to Paddington can sleep safely knowing that they are being protected by world class fire detection technology from Apollo. The sleeper service runs six days per week throughout the year, so reliability is a critical factor.

Fire detection on the move
Fire detection on the move

Every component on the train, including the fire detectors, must withstand the rigours of travelling more than 95,000 miles every year.

David Cooke, depot engineering technician for First Great Western, said: "Apollo fire detectors were first used on the sleeper carriages in the late 1980s, so we have first-hand experience of how reliable they are. When the interiors of the Night Riviera carriages were being refreshed we also reviewed the fire detection. The existing Apollo devices were still working well and we could have replaced them gradually, but we ultimately decided to change them in one go to coincide with the upgrade and to ensure our passengers and rolling stock were getting the best available protection."

The fire system upgrade involved the installation of 130 Apollo Series 65 conventional smoke detectors as well as aspirating smoke detection on all ten Night Riviera carriages.

Ionisation smoke detectors are fitted in every berth and in the ducts, with optical smoke detectors providing protection in the communal areas. Each carriage has its own control panel to record fault and alarm signals, but the signals can also be conveyed from carriage to carriage. An alarm condition triggers audible warnings and a series of LED indicators.

Each fire panel clearly shows whether an alert has been triggered by a fault or a potential hazard and whether the incident has arisen in that particular carriage or in an adjacent carriage. An alarm condition will also automatically close the two internal fire doors within the carriage, enabling any genuine fire incident to be contained and guiding passengers away from the source.

Andy Haynes of Apollo’s technical sales team assisted with the system design. He said: "It’s certainly an unusual application but all our products undergo rigorous in-house testing and meet all major international standards, so we are confident that our fire detectors will provide First Great Western and its passengers with many years – and many miles – of reliable protection."

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