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Eurotunnel english summary

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publié le 22 janvier 2019

At 11:57 on 17 January 2015 Eurotunnel freight shuttle 7340 left the English terminal at Folkestone loaded with 30 vehicles. This shuttle was of the Arbel type on which the Front train section has no roofs.
As the train was entering the tunnel at 12:00, following an electric arc with the catenary, the shuttle stopped due to a power cut in the catenary. After the power was restored, the train set off again at 12:03. At about 12:23, when the train was about 1 km before the firefighting station (SAFE 4F), a fire was detected on board the shuttle.
Shortly after 12:26, the train carried out a controlled halt after the SAFE 4F station with its front at kilometre post 44.2, such that its adapted wagon was located perpendicular to Cross Gallery CP 4418 at about 16 km from the exit on the French side.
Evacuation of the passengers and personnel of the train to the service tunnel proceeded without any particular problems and concluded at 12:37.
None of the 42 people present on the train was injured in the event.
The two lorries located on wagons Nos. 14 and 15 in the front train section burned out completely.
The North rail tunnel was damaged. In addition to the failed catenary and electrical wiring, the reinforced concrete of the vault was damaged by the fire. The rendering came off over about 60 m, leaving the reinforcing steel visible in the lining.
A limited service was resumed as from 03:45 on 18 January in the South rail tunnel.
Normal traffic was restored in both tunnels at 12:00 on 23 January.

The fire started because of a spark-over between the catenary and a CB antenna undetected by the relevant systems and fitted on a lorry which had been loaded onto an Arbel shuttle without a roof.

Analysis of the cause led to three recommendations in the following areas relating to the direct causes :

  • processes and systems for detecting antennae and small items ;
  • roofs or other physical devices separating vehicles from the catenary ;
  • fire detection systems ;
  • RCC (Rail Control Centre) procedures in the event of fire and concomitant disjunctions.

Examination of the underlying and primary causes led to three recommendations for the system for managing safety-related changes.

In addition, examination of the execution of emergency and firefighting operations led to a recommendation related to the delays in dispatching firefighters inside the tunnel.