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Rail News: Safety

FRA, WMATA unveil passenger-rail emergency evacuation simulator

Emergency responders now will have an opportunity to learn how to rescue passengers from a derailed passenger car. Yesterday, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) and ENSCO Inc. unveiled a passenger-rail emergency evacuation simulator at WMATA’s Landover, Md., emergency response training facility.

Designed to roll 180 degrees to simulate a derailed passenger car, the so-called “rollover rig” also will be used by researchers to test new passenger-rail evacuation strategies and components, such as emergency lighting, doors and windows.

The simulator was designed and built by ENSCO. The FRA funded $450,000 for the project and New Jersey Transit donated the commuter-rail car. WMATA will house and maintain the simulator at its training facility, which opened four years ago to train first responders on how to rescue people from burning trains in a tunnel.

Although WMATA operates heavy-rail vehicles, the authority shares 33 miles of common corridor with Amtrak, Virginia Railway Express and Maryland Transit Administration, which operate commuter trains.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 5/11/2006