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Femern A/S sets high standards for tunnel safety

Femern A/S will ensure that all users have a safe and secure journey through the world’s longest immersed tunnel for both for combined railway and road traffic.

The safety of tunnel users has always had high priority. The Fehmarnbelt tunnel complies with all legislative safety requirements from Denmark, Germany and the EU. Safety has been integrated into all aspects of the design and all necessary safety equipment will be installed in the tunnel. The 18 km long link will therefore be a very safe and secure link for both road and rail users.  

Just as safe as open land

Statistically, the Fehmarnbelt tunnel will be just as safe to use as equivalent routes by road or rail on open land in Denmark, shows the company’s risk analysis. This is, among other things, because road traffic will be split into two separate tunnel tubes and the 18 km long tunnel section will contain no slip roads. Moreover, driving conditions will always be smooth, with the motorway constantly well lit. The rail traffic will be separated into two tunnel tubes, one for each direction of travel, and the design will ensure against derailment.

The traffic flow through the tunnel will ensure natural ventilation and fresh air. Moreover, the natural ventilation can be supplemented by mechanical ventilation from large fans, which is an important component in the safety concept.

The ventilators can blow in both directions in all the tunnel tubes. They will be controlled from the tunnel’s monitoring and control centre (Link Control Centre, LCC).  The machinery is simple, reliable and powerful and will have the capacity to handle both normal conditions and critical situations, i.e. if, as a result of a fire in a vehicle, smoke should develop in the tunnel.  

However, the ventilation system will not need to be in operation on a regular basis. Vehicles and trains will push the air in the tunnel out and suck fresh air in thereby ensuring air quality. The ventilators will be activated according to requirements, e.g. in the event of a slow traffic flow or if traffic comes to a standstill because of an accident. 

Statistically, the Fehmarnbelt tunnel will be just as safe to use as equivalent routes by road or rail on open land in Denmark, shows the company’s risk analysis.

Did you know that...

... the tunnel is designed to withstand a fire at temperatures of at least 1350 degrees Celsius for three hours.

... the tunnel will be monitored from the tunnel’s control centre, LCC, which will be located near the portal building on the Danish side of the Fehmarnbelt. Train operations will be managed from the train traffic’s control centre, TCC, in Copenhagen. The centres are in contact with each other and staffed around the clock. 

Monitoring round-the-clock

Traffic in the tunnel will be monitored and controlled from the tunnel’s control centre, LCC, which will be staffed round-the-clock. 

Monitoring will ensure that any irregularities in the tunnel will be rapidly discovered and attended to. Femern A/S’ operations crew will be responsible for daily road traffic management and the ongoing monitoring of technical installations. Road traffic will be managed via remotely controlled, dynamic road signs and barriers, e.g. to warn motorists of abnormal traffic conditions or to prevent congestion in the tunnel. 

The train traffic will be managed from the control centre, TCC, in Copenhagen. 

In the event of congestion or other incidents, the road tunnel’s users will be informed via a special traffic message system for car radios (supports both FM and DAB for Danish and German channels). Should non-authorised persons be observed on the carriageway, for instance, the control centre, LCC, will inform motorists via loudspeakers in the road tunnel tubes. 

There will be service patrols in the road tunnel. Personnel will be trained to provide First Aid, roadside assistance and undertake basic firefighting in the event of any incident in the road tube.

In collaboration with the Danish and German authorities, Femern A/S is developing a safety concept with contingency plans for handling emergency situations in the tunnel, which will ensure a rapid and efficient rescue operation should an accident occur.  

Read more about the safety in the Fehmarnbelt tunnel here: Memo - Safety in the Fehmarnbelt tunnel