The Design and Development of an Emergency Door System for Rail Vehicles Using Metal, Honeycomb and Glass Fiber Composite Materials

TRB worked along with Bombardier Transportation to design and develop an emergency detrainment door system for two different rail vehicles: The London Underground sub-surface rail fleet and the new Class 378 London Overground fleet.

TRB Solution

TRB developed a hinge door for the London Underground and a plug-slide door for the London Overground. Both doors are provided with complicated but fool-proof mechanical connections to enable occupants to escape from the train to track safely under an emergency situation. It is possible to open them from either side, and they illuminate automatically if power to the train is lost.

The doors were designed from a combination of materials including metals, honeycomb and glass fiber composites and painted in-house by TRB. They passed all the testing requirements including ballistic performance, water ingress, dust ingress, load tests and FST.

TRB offers a complete range of door types to suit all types of rail vehicles, complete with portal frame, seals, locks, and glazing. In-house load testing, leak testing, and simulated evacuation tests can also be performed.

Detrainment door in its deployed state for London Overground.

Figure 1. Detrainment door in its deployed state for London Overground.

Detrainment door installed on a Class 378 vehicle for the London Overground. The train was built by Bombardier Transportation.

Figure 2. Detrainment door installed on a Class 378 vehicle for the London Overground. The train was built by Bombardier Transportation.

Materials by TRB

TRB Lightweight Structures uses prepreg and infusion technologies, processing carbon, glass, and aramid fabrics in a broad range of woven and unidirectional formats. The company is closely knit to prepreg manufacturers and some of its sandwich panels are produced with proprietary prepreg resin systems which were developed specifically for TRB. TRB uses both vacuum bagging and press molding processes to cure fiber-reinforced plastic (FRP) panels and components.

Most of the core in use at TRB is made from honeycomb. For most of its projects, aluminium is specified and Nomex, plastic honeycomb and other core materials are processed when required.

Aluminium sheets are used for building high-strength lightweight panels with aluminium honeycomb core. Aluminium’s high strength-to-weight ratio, corrosion resistance, thermal conductivity, and recyclability make it well-suited for applications in transportation industries.

High-strength steels were developed primarily for the automotive market and are typically as strong as carbon steel but 20 to 30% lighter, with densities of around 7800 kg/m³. They are more resistant to rust than carbon steels and are sometimes a useful material to include in lightweight structures.

Adhesives are an integral component of composite structures. When specified and applied correctly, they can provide fatigue strength, shock absorption, protection against galvanic corrosion, sealing against fluid transfer, and improved damping characteristics of a mechanical system. Adhesives enable us to bond heat-sensitive materials, dissimilar materials, and materials which would otherwise distort or weaken with the heat of welding.

This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by TRB Lightweight Structures.

For more information on this source, please visit TRB Lightweight Structures.

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