To ensure the fire safety of the Qingdao (China) metro, which is currently under construction, local authorities specified a dual-purpose vehicle that could be used on both road and rail. The international tender to develop this special vehicle was ultimately awarded to Empl. The vehicle has now been officially handed over.
It took a year to complete a design for this special solution to be provided by Empl. Numerous discussions and a good deal of coordination between the metro operator, the city fire brigade and experts at Empl were required to finalise the project.
The greatest challenge in the design of this vehicle was the topographic location of Qingdao. The city is situated in a very hilly region, with extreme height differences between the various routes of the local metro, rendering the development of a special rail vehicle necessary.
The rail vehicle consists of a hydraulically operated lifting system, with the rear bogie swivelling by 90° and remote controlled. The very short rail-mounting distance required by the customer for this 12-metre-long vehicle is made possible by the bogie’s swivel mechanism.
Due to the very narrow clearance gauge, as specified by the metro operator, the entire rail vehicle construction had to be of very compact design. Thus, considerable conversion work on the MAN TGS 33.440 chassis was required to meet these specifications.
The rail/road vehicle has all the facilities required for rail operation, such as SIFA (a driving safety system), signalling and alarm systems and earthing facilities, in addition to a manual system for emergency operation. To keep the control system for the rail vehicle as intuitive as possible for the crew, all operating elements for rail operation were adapted to those required for road operation of the chassis.
The vehicle was constructed from aluminium sandwich panels according to the "Fire Fighter MOD-TECH" structural principle, which has been successfully applied by Empl for many years, with the incorporation of a 4,000-litre water tank and a 1000-litre foaming agent tank. At the core of the vehicle is an NP 3000 FPN 10/3000 centrifugal fire-fighting pump made by Empl, which is completely oil- and maintenance-free, allowing for “pump & roll” operation on both road and rail.
The Empl cabin module has four seats with Empl Eagle breathing apparatus (both the driver and co-driver have also been equipped with such systems), thus providing compressed-air breathing equipment for each member of the crew.
To meet the special operating requirements, such as smoke-filled tunnels, and to ensure optimal safety for the crew, the vehicle has an extended xenon lighting system, a xenon light mast, LED lights on the handle bars and on all treads, as well as LED environmental lighting along the entire length of the vehicle.
An infrared camera system at the back and on the rail chassis ensures rapid, safe and accurate railing of the vehicle, even under conditions of poor visibility.
For fire-fighting purposes, the vehicle has two water/foam monitors on the roof and at the front, which can be individually controlled from the driver cabin. It has also been fitted with a self-protection system. The fire-fighting body has extensive fire-fighting equipment, rescue technology (hydraulic rescue equipment, an angle grinder, a lifting cushion etc.) and protective equipment for the crew (heat-protection suits, chemical-protection suits etc.).