Security and Safety

Pittsburgh subway has multiple fire safegaurds

Posted on January 21, 2015

Steel Plaza subway station. John Marino
Steel Plaza subway station. John Marino

PITTSBURGH — The Port Authority has multiple safeguards against the type of fatal subway accident that occurred last week in Washington, D.C., where a tunnel filled with smoke, killing one passenger and sickening dozens of others, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

RELATED: 'Electrical arcing' caused D.C. Metro car to stop, fill tunnel with smoke

One major difference is Pittsburgh's subway train power is supplied by overhead cables rather than an electrified “third rail” along the tracks, which led to a delayed response by firefighters in the Washington incident, who were not immediately certain it was safe to enter the tunnel, the report said.

Port Authority has the ability to manually shut down power to the overline lines in an emergency, and the system also is designed with circuit breakers that would automatically cut power if a fault is detected, spokesman Jim Ritchie said.

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