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SIKET - Evaluation and further development of safety concepts for railway tunnels

STUVA and its partners in the SIKET research project began their work in September 2018 with a kick-off workshop at the Federal Railway Authority (EBA) in Bonn. The aim of the project (FKZ: 13N14524) funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) is to improve the effectiveness of the prescribed safety concepts for railway tunnels. So far, such concepts have been drawn up without further scientific substantiation, mainly as individual expert opinions based on assumptions and empirical values. The cramped conditions in railway tunnels, the large number of people to be rescued, the complex social interactions, the limited accessibility of the tunnels, fire and smoke as well as the large number of actors in the rescue chain require a more sound planning framework. SIKET's aim is to prepare both rescue workers and railway personnel for damage situations and to avoid them.

For this reason, SIKET comprehensively reviews and validates the existing rules and procedures for the creation of safety concepts in order to increase passenger safety in the event of fire or disaster. All aspects will be reconsidered by the research partners. Thus, in addition to sociological studies on the behaviour of people in critical situations, the training of rescue forces and the coordination of the individual links in the rescue chain in emergency exercises are analysed and optimised.

STUVA, which has a wealth of experience in this field, will initially focus on the task of using 3D computer simulations (CFD field model KOBRA-3D) to visualise the spread of smoke in various line tunnels during fire events. The knowledge gained from these three-dimensional simulations will then form an important basis for practice scenarios that can be adapted to individual tunnels. The virtual reality of these simulated fires will later be used concretely for the training of rescue forces.

Taking into account the findings of all partners in the project, STUVA will develop a concept with which the optimisation potentials identified in the subprojects of the research network can be exploited as comprehensively as possible and adapted to concrete tunnels. This holistic safety and rescue concept will then be tested for its applicability in extensive large-scale exercises and, if necessary, adapted. At the end of the research project (2021), this concept will appear as a guideline.

In accordance with the holistic approach, the research partners of STUVA are broadly positioned in this joint project. For the first time, SIKET brings together standard-setting institutions such as EBA, operators such as DB AG, the most important players in the rescue chain, engineering perspectives on fire/smoke simulation and escape as well as social science perspectives.

Project Partners
Eisenbahn­-Bundesamt (EBA), Bonn
Studiengesellschaft für Tunnel und Verkehrsanlagen – STUVA e.V., Köln
Albert­-Ludwigs-­Universität Freiburg
Deutsches Rotes Kreuz Bezirksverband Frankfurt am Main
Hessische Landesfeuerwehrschule, Kassel
Deutsche Bahn AG, Frankfurt am Main
IST GmbH, Frankfurt am Main 

Associated Partners
Bundesanstalt Technisches Hilfswerk (THW), Bonn
Berufsfeuerwehr Frankfurt, Frankfurt am Main
Regierungspräsidium Gießen, Gießen
Verband Deutscher Verkehrsunternehmen e.V. (VDV), Köln
International Fire Academy, Balsthal (Schweiz)
Schweizerische Bundesbahn AG, Bern (Schweiz)
Bundesamt für Verkehr, Bern (Schweiz)
Bundesministerium für Verkehr, Innovation und Technologie, Wien (Österreich)
Österreichische Bundesbahn, Wien (Österreich)

Network Coordination
Meike Holtkämper, Eisenbahn­-Bundesamt, E-­Mail:

Contact person
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Roland Leucker
+49 221 59795-11
+49 221 59795-50

Dr.-Ing. Christian Thienert
+49 221 59795-24
+49 221 59795-50