The National Railroad Passenger Corporation, AMTRAK, chose to protect their trains against the risk of fire with Coltraco Ultrasonics industry leading Portalevel® MAX.

Serving more than 500 destinations, in 46 American States and 3 Canadian provinces, operating over 300 trains daily, AMTRAK needed to ensure that their trains are operational at all times. A fire event proposes a serious threat to the safety of the passenger, staff, and to the operational success of AMTRAK.

AMTRAK used FE-13™ fire suppression cylinders to protect their high speed rail against fire. However, AMTRAK are aware that fire suppression systems leak and knew they had to counter this problem, so that they could comply with regulations and protect their passengers, staff and trains.

It is important to note that such fire extinguishing systems require maintenance to ensure they are fully operational and ready in event of a fire. ISO 14520-1:2015(E) assumes that these systems accidentally discharge and leak. Contents indication: “Means shall be provided to indicate that each container is correctly charged.” Followed by “ The storage container contents shall be checked at least every six months as follows. a) Liquefied gases: for halocarbon agents, if a container shows a loss of agent in quantity of more than 5 % or a loss of pressure (adjusted for temperature) of more than 10 %, it shall be refilled or replaced.”

To counter this issue, as AMTRAK are dedicated to their passenger’s safety, they purchased the Portalevel® MAX. This handheld ultrasonic liquid level indicator can service a cylinder in 30 seconds (in contrast to 15 minutes by traditional manual weighing) with accuracy of up to 1.5mm off the true liquid level.

Using the Portalevel® MAX to service the cylinders, Manager of Technical Training & Development at AMTRAK was able to identify a leaking cylinder:

“We had one isolated incident where one FE-13™ cylinder was found empty during the central block overhaul; that bottle had been tested using the Portalevel® MAX instrument, a few months earlier, and – then – the suppressant agent level within the cylinder was found within limits. That cylinder was sent to the company that handles the refilling for us (a contractor), for investigation. Apparently, a leak developed, and the agent escaped the cylinder.”

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