Gain access to rail vehicle

Control Measure Knowledge

It may be necessary to seek specialist advice or assistance for gaining access to rail vehicles. If there are casualties involved in the incident, the requirements of medical responders may need to be taken into account when determining the most appropriate access method.

The preferred access route into rail vehicles during an incident is using the carriage doors. Most modern rail vehicles are fitted with door release mechanisms, which should be labelled and can be operated externally.

If it is not feasible to gain access via the carriage door, alternative methods should be considered, such as:

  • Using the designated emergency windows
  • Via a corridor connector
  • Creating openings in the body of the rail vehicle – see hazard – Construction materials: performing rescues


Glazing systems in modern rail vehicles are designed to withstand severe collision impacts and to contain passengers. Therefore, although road vehicle glass cutting techniques may be effective for the outer element, the plastic membrane of the inner laminated element is significantly tougher.

However, if there are designated emergency windows in the rail vehicle they should be marked internally and externally; these windows should break more easily to provide emergency access or egress.

Using windows to gain immediate access to casualties may be a valid method; however they are of limited value for ongoing operations. For example, their limited size may not be sufficient when extricating casualties on stretchers.

Corridor connectors

Corridor connectors in rail vehicles provide a weatherproof connection between two carriages. Depending on their design, it may be feasible to cut through them to access carriage end doors. Caution should be exercised, as some rail vehicles may contain electric cables within the corridor connectors.

Strategic Actions

Tactical Actions