The new train signaling, traction power and tunnel ventilation system coordination guidelines enacted in National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Standard 130 have brought the necessity and cost of tunnel ventilation fan shafts into greater focus. The guidelines were aimed at coordinating the three aforementioned rail systems to control the number of trains that could be between successive ventilation shafts during an emergency — in recognition of the fact that the best protection to both incident and non-incident train passengers and crew is to allow no more than one train in each ventilation zone. Though based in safety, these new NFPA guidelines can substantially expand the capital cost and environmental impact of new rail tunnel projects by adding more ventilation shafts and tunnel fan equipment to the scope of work. In addition, the resulting increase in the required number of ventilation shafts and tunnel fan equipment can hinder existing railroad properties as they seek to either increase their train throughput rates, or reduce their tunnel electrical infrastructure. Fortunately, a new kind of emergency ventilation shaft has been developed to facilitate compliance with the NFPA 130 Standard without the excessive capital cost and far-reaching environmental impacts of a traditional emergency ventilation shaft. This new kind of emergency ventilation shaft is called the Crossflue.

The Crossflue is a horizontal passage between parallel rail tunnels with a single ventilation fan-motor unit installation. The Crossflue fan is designed to transfer air/smoke flows from one (occupied, incident) tunnel to another (unoccupied, non-incident) tunnel — thereby protecting the incident tunnel at the expense of the non-incident tunnel. The Crossflue passage has angled construction to allow a smooth transition of airflows both into and out of the adjoining tunnels. In addition to the fan, the Crossflue contains a ventilation damper, sound attenuators, ductwork transitions and flexible connectors within the fan equipment line-up; the functionality of all this mechanical equipment is described in the paper. To preserve underground space and minimize the rock excavation, the Crossflue fan is both remotely-powered and remotely-controlled; the fan is only operated as part of a pre-programmed response to tunnel fire events. The methodology utilized to design the Crossflue was taken from the Subway Environmental Design Handbook (SEDH); the SEDH [1] was specifically developed for rail tunnel ventilation design and is the preeminent reference volume in the industry. In summary, the Crossflue provides a dual benefit of achieving NFPA 130 compliance, while at the same time minimizing the construction, equipment, environmental, and energy costs of a traditional tunnel ventilation shaft.

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