Fire-fighting trains of the Russian Railways

Russia’s rail network stretches the length of the country, from cities to mountainous forests. Fires can happen anywhere – even in the middle of nowhere – so the Russian Railways have their own fleet of fire-fighting trains, to put out the flames anywhere conventional fire trucks can’t reach.


Photo by Сергеев Павел, via Wikimedia Commons

The trains are painted red with white stripes, and stabled at major railway stations – a maximum of 80 kilometres apart on class 1 mainline railways, up to a maximum of 160 kilometres apart of class 5 branch lines.

Since 2005, they have liquidated almost 10.5 thousand fires, rescued 462 people. From the destruction 96 locomotives, 684 cars and tanks with cargoes, 392 units of tractor equipment, as well as almost 1337 buildings and structures worth about 2 billion rubles were saved.

Each train has a full time crew of 6 fire-fighters, but additional staff are available to respond to incidents:

  • railway police serving at the station on which the fire train is stationed;
  • off-duty fire train crew living near the train station;
  • volunteer fire brigades members;
  • as well as employees of Russian Railways.

Each train also has a ground facility at the home station to provide:

  • educational and administrative facilities (training class, base or post of GDZS, heat-chamber, etc.);
  • training rooms (a band of psychological training firefighters, a 100-meter obstacle course and a training tower);
  • workshops (for cleaning and drying fire hoses, a workshop for maintenance and repair of fire and special rescue equipment, a point of charging fire extinguishers);
  • sanitary and domestic facilities (for rest and food, for drying special and combat clothing, shower, toilet, restorative complex, etc.);
  • warehouse (for storage of fire and special rescue equipment, fire extinguishing agents, fuel and lubricants).

Fire-fighting trains are divided into two categories:

  • Category 1 specialised: equipped for the removal of dangerous goods from accident scenes
  • Category 2: general fire-fighting only

Over 300 fire-fighting trains are posted around the Russian Railways network, with around 80 of them being specialised category 1 trains.

A typical fire train consists of:

  1. Pump wagon (ВНС) to house personnel, fire pump, power generator, fire extinguishers, breathing apparatus, and other fire extinguishing equipment;
  2. tank wagon (ЦВ) for storage of water, 60m³ – 73m³ volume
  3. tank wagon (ЦВ)

Category 1 trains also have an extra wagon for the accommodation of additional fire-fighting and rescue equipment, fire suppressants, and other materials; and pumps to transfer dangerous goods from damaged tank wagons.

To prevent the water from freezing in the tanks, pipe coils are installed, along which hot water from the boiler circulates.

Each pump wagon is equipped with two fixed СПУ-40/100M pumps, with a flow rate of 50 l/s. This allows each fire train to supply 15,000 m³ of foam, to attend to flammable and combustible liquid spills up to 1000 square meters, or to supply a standard fire hose with water for 40 minutes.

Further viewing

A quick look at a fire train at work.

And a detailed tour of a modern Russian Railways fire train.

Sources (all Russian language)

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