Hong Kong’s road-rail fire trucks

Hong Kong’s Fire Services Department has a diverse fleet of firefighting apparatus that can handle any situation, and today I’m looking at their ‘Road Rail Fire Appliances’.

This pair of fire trucks can operate on either road and rail, and were acquired in 2015 at a cost of HK$22 million to handle incidents on the Hong Kong section of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong high-speed rail line.

Hong Kong Fire Services Department video

They have been deployed to the Pat Heung Fire Station, a short distance from the Shek Kong emergency rescue station, which provides vehicle access into the 26 kilometre long tunnel.

MTR Corporation photo

Built by Austrian firerighting equipment supplier manufacturer Rosenbauer, they had this to say on the versatile vehicles.

It is the largest underground rail station in the world, currently being built in Hong Kong. It is the start and end point of the high-speed section to Guangzhou. Trains travel at up to 350 km/h (217 mph), often in tunnels that are miles long. These challenges demand sophisticated solutions: two speciality firefighting vehicles were developed for this area.

The range of applications of both vehicle firefighting specialities are really not short of superlatives. The 26 km section in Hong Kong’s special economic zone runs completely underground. Only when it reaches the Chinese mainland does the train line emerge on the surface again. When the trains leave the largest underground station in the world, shortly afterwards they reach speeds of up to 350 km/h. The new track also holds many new challenges for the security forces of the Hong Kong Fire Service Department. Their response to this situation was the acquisition of two railway trucks (RLF 3000/100/100 rail).

The peculiarity of the speciality vehicles is the rail travel device. Thanks to the sophisticated technology, the vehicle can be quickly converted from road to rail. Thus, it is also possible to rapidly get close to a possible accident site that would not be reachable by road. Since taking delivery of both vehicles, special training has been on the agenda for the emergency crews in Hong Kong. The focus is on railing and de-railing, and naturally driving on the rails. Even on rails, the speciality firefighting vehicles reach speeds of up to 60 km/h (37 mph). Not just that steering is not possible on rails, but also the braking and acceleration behaviour is completely different than on the road. The special training should be completed by the time the high-speed rail section is ready.

However, not just driving on rails is a special challenge. Since the section in the operational area of the Hong Kong Fire Service Department runs exclusively underground, the scenario of a tunnel fire plays a prominent role. The equipment of the vehicles take this situation with huge build-ups of smoke and heat into account: On both sides of the vehicle, two FANERGY E21 tunnel fans can be continuously swivelled out. This allows not just the tunnel to be ventilated and made smoke-free in a short time, but a cooling fog is also discharged.

For firefighting operations, both vehicles are of course equipped with corresponding firefighting equipment. The combined normal and high pressure pump NH 55 can also be activated during while driving. So you can start extinguishing with the RM15C bumper turret while on the move. The rapid intervention hose reels can also be used for extinguishing – with both normal and high pressure. A 3,000 l water tank and two foam compound agent tanks which each hold 100 l ensure the supply of extinguishing agents.

Both railway trucks are furnished with corresponding lighting for rail operation. Reversing and front section cameras greatly simplify driving on the rails. In addition, both vehicles are fitted with infrared thermal imaging cameras (front and rear) as well as a gas-detecting device.

The operating area of both fire fighting vehicles is very varied and brings many challenges with it. With both these speciality vehicles, the fire department is well equipped for such difficult operations.

Facts and figures

The two Road Rail Fire Appliances have slightly different fitouts – unit F7001 is fitted out as a pumper and has a 3000 litre water tank, while F7002 carries 1500 litres of water alongside additional rescue equipment.

The data sheet by manufacturer Rosenbauer has further details:

› Type: Scania P 360 CB 6×4 HSZ
› Engine: DC 13 06 EGR Euro 5
› Engine output: 265 kW / 360 hp at 1,600 RPM
› Gearbox: Allison HD 4500 with retarder
› Wheelbase: 4,900 + 1,350 mm

▪ Rail travel device
› Type: Zweiweg LOCTRAC ZW 332
› Hydrostatic drive with lifting and lowering device for 1,435 mm rail gauge
› Top speed: 60 km/h

▪ Driving compartment
› Crew: 1 + 7
› Original Scania twin cab with four seats in the direction of travel and two against the direction of travel. All seats are equipped with SCBA units (each 2 x 6 l 300 bar).
› Air-conditioner

▪ Extinguishing agent tank
› Water tank: 3,000 l
› Foam tank 1: 100 l Class A
› Foam tank 2: 100 l Class B

▪ Extinguishing system
› Type: Rosenbauer NH 55, combined normal and high pressure pump
› Normal pressure output: 5,000 l/min at 10 bar
› High pressure output: 400 l/min at 40 bar
› Pump pressure governor
› Pump operation with simultaneous driving operation

▪ Bumper turret
› Type: Rosenbauer RM15C
› Electronically controlled monitor
› Output: max. 1,500 l/min at 10 bar
› CAFS operation via monitor

▪ Other equipment
› NP and HP rapid intervention hose reels
› Electrical cable winch DC 34.9
› Reversing camera and rear drive camera
› Front and rear forward-looking infrared camera
› Gas-detecting device with 4 detectors
› LED lighting
› 4 rear parking sensors with digital indicator
› Illumination for rail operation
› Rosenbauer EPS built-in generator 60 kVA
› 4 Rosenbauer FANERGY E21 tunnel fans with water spray insert, 2 on the left and 2 on the right, stepless swivel, electric roller shutters in equipment compartments 1 and 2, control in the driver’s cab
› Display for pump control in the driver’s cab in rear with its own hinged lid

In model form

Do you have HK$1,680 burning a hole in your pocket? You can get an incredibly detailed 1/43 scale model of F7001 or F7002 by Aurora Design.

Aurora Design photo

Footnote – the LUF 60 firefighting robot

The Fire Services Department has another appliance they can deploy to tunnel fires.

Hong Kong Fire Services Department photo

The LUF 60 firefighting robot.

The LUF 60R is a diesel engine propelled, radio controlled, tracked firefighting unit mounted with a powerful 35kw ventilator. It is adjustable up to 30 degree, with 360 built-in nozzles to yield a water-fog beam that can reach 60m. It can reach the fire source (if necessary by remote control) in road/rail tunnels, basements or other enclosed building compartments, using the high volume water fog to reduce the high ambient temperature and the fire intensity to allow firefighting and rescue teams to approach safely.

Their two units have been deployed to Sheung Wan and Shek Kip Mei Fire Stations to handle railway tunnel fires on the MTR network.

Being transported to the incident site by a medium sized truck.

Further reading

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