Fire trains on guard of safety

Rail transport is considered one of the safest in the world. Nevertheless, accidents can happen everywhere. Although infrequently, fires also have to be extinguished, and also to eliminate the negative consequences of railway accidents. Special fire-fighting trains have been created for this purpose.  

In Russia, such transport is available at the Federal State Enterprise "Departmental Protection of Railway Transport". Abbreviated FGP VPO JT of Russia. The fire train is the main tactical unit for the elimination of fires, emergency rescue operations in case of accidents, railway disasters, natural disasters and emergency situations accompanied by fires. In total, there are 305 such trains in the department, 80 of them are specialized, specially equipped for pumping or neutralizing dangerous goods from emergency tanks without transporting them to specially designated places (there are other equipment for this purpose).  

JSC "Russian Railways" directs investment money for the purchase and repair of rolling stock of fire trains.  

Classification and purpose

It is incorrect to compare a fire train with a fire truck, yet this is too narrow a concept. A broader one is suitable here - "fire trucks". This category includes, among others, cars, tanks, robots, ships and boats that are used to extinguish fires. In general, it is a mobile or transportable machine that is used in case of fire.  

One fire train replaces 4 fire stations or 30 fire trucks. But everything, of course, depends on the configuration.  

The main purpose of such a technique is obvious, but its additional functionality should also be indicated.:

  • ensuring the safety of transportation;
  • extinguishing fires not only in rolling stock, but also at stationary facilities of JSC "Russian Railways", as well as at facilities not included in this structure (at the request of the Ministry of Emergency Situations of Russia);
  • elimination of consequences of railway accidents involving goods of 3-4 hazard classes;

It is forbidden to use fire trains to perform other tasks.

Such trains are stationed at railway stations - passenger, freight, sorting. Each such station must have a working fleet of locomotives and devices for refueling tanks with water. The formation and liquidation of fire trains are regulated by the orders and instructions of the Federal State Unitary Enterprise of the Russian Railways and the Regulations "Operation and Maintenance of fire trains in JSC "Russian Railways".

Each train has a certain service section assigned to it. At the same time, the objects included in this section should not be removed from the train by more than 80 km if it is a Class 1 railway line, and by 160 km if it is a class 5 railway line.

Separate groups of premises should be located at the permanent parking place of the fire train:

  • educational and administrative, where the heat and smoke chamber, base or post of the gas and smoke protection service (GDZS), classrooms are located;
  • training facilities with a psychological training lane for firefighters, an obstacle course and a training base;
  • production facilities, where special emergency rescue equipment is located, rooms for washing and drying fire hoses, charging points for fire extinguishers;
  • sanitary facilities created for staff recreation and meals, there are also restorative complexes, showers, bathrooms, rooms for drying workwear;
  • warehouses where fire extinguishing agents, special rescue equipment, fuel and fuel are stored.

Every year, such equipment helps to eliminate more than 2,000 fires. It is indispensable in the elimination of the consequences of emergencies.

In recent years, the equipment of fire trains has become increasingly robotic. It is planned that by 2026 new generation trains will appear on all railway lines.


Fire trains come in two categories. Trains of the first category have an expanded configuration, thanks to which they can solve more tactical and organizational tasks, are able to pump flammable and combustible liquids, eliminate their leakage, and carry out emergency rescue operations.

In their composition:

  • A pumping station wagon is an all-metal wagon with a pumping plant, a power plant, fire extinguishing equipment, and personnel can also be accommodated here.
  • At least two tank reservoirs with a volume of up to 73.1 m.
  • A covered platform with a container for the placement of fire equipment, equipment, neutralizing and other materials.

Depending on the needs and purpose, Category 1 trains can be retrofitted with other tools and installations, portable compressors, and so on. At its core, it is a small garrison of the Ministry of Emergency Situations of Russia.

Interestingly, the locomotive for the fire train is issued on alert. Initially, it is not included in the composition.

The second category includes fire trains equipped with water tanks with a volume of up to 50 m, a pumping station, a foaming agent of up to 10 tons, pressure hoses with a total length of up to 1.5 km, regenerative devices for organizing the work of GDZS. Up to 32 people can transport such trains. The difference between trains of the second category is also in the presence of carbon dioxide and powder fire extinguishers (5 pcs each) and two powder mobile fire extinguishers. For rescuers there are 7 breathing apparatus with compressed air, two carriage barrels, installation of combined fire extinguishing. Anti-chemical suits KIH-4 are provided for rescuers.

In such trains, as a rule, there are a lot of additional tools - shovels, crowbars, axes, saws, hydraulic emergency rescue tools, heat-protective clothing.

For communication and the ability to send signals, the trains are equipped with radio stations, electric megaphones, telephones, lanterns.


All fire trains are painted red, each car has two longitudinal white stripes of 80 and 230 mm. The inscription "Fire train" must be painted in white.

Combat crew

6-7 combat crew members are assigned to each train. If necessary, their number increases due to the personnel of the paramilitary security, off-duty employees of the fire train, volunteer fire brigades, employees of JSC "Russian Railways".

How to call

If there is a fire on or near the railway, it will not be possible to call a fire train by number 101. Only officials of the Ministry of Emergency Situations of Russia have such a right. They contact the dispatching service of JSC "Russian Railways" or FGP VPO Railway of Russia, then the train will go to the scene of the accident. In the absence of a free locomotive, the management has the right to issue a locomotive from any train located at the station.

And how abroad

There are fire trains in every civilized country where there is a railway. European trains have a number of differences from ours. They are mainly focused on extinguishing fires in tunnels. Each of them is equipped with its own locomotive and is a full-fledged combat unit capable of traveling to the scene in 5 minutes. Each car is a separate module. There are transport, rescue, medical wagons.

In the USA and Canada, the equipment of fire trains is poorer. There they consist of several water tanks, a foaming agent, 2 pumps, 2 carriage barrels and an electric generator. In this connection, their functionality is much lower.

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