Alfred Haack - Articles and news items

Evaluating safety aspects for underground metro networks

Issue 2 2011  •  6 May 2011  •  Prof. Dr.-Ing. Alfred Haack, former Executive Board Member at STUVA (Research Association for Underground Transportation Facilities) and Past President of ITA (International Tunnelling and Underground Space Association)

A functioning mass transit system is most important to back up mobility in large cities and conglomerations. This has been recognised for nearly 150 years: the first metro worldwide was inaugurated in London in January 1863. It was a steam driven system. The first electrified trains started in November 1890, again in London. The first metro on the continent followed in 1896 and was installed in Budapest. Paris started its metro in 1900, Berlin in 1902 and Hamburg in 1912.

The size of the route network depends on the population of the city or the area served by the subway system. London operates its underground network with a length of 410km and 270 stations – by far the largest network in Europe (and worldwide), followed by Madrid with 325km, Moscow with 300km and Paris with 215km.

A European partnership to improve safety

Issue 4 2005, Past issues  •  6 December 2005  • C. (Kees) Both, Head TNO Centre for Fire Research, Coordinator of the EU project UPTUN ( and management team member of the VSH-lead L-surF project (, Prof. Dr. Dipl.-ing.Alfred Haack, Executive board member Stuva, former ITA president, chairman ITA Committee on operational safety of underground facilities, and Felix Amberg, CEO Hagerbach Test Gallery Ltd, Coordinator of the EU project L-surF

Mobility of people and reliable transport of goods are key issues in our society. Economic growth and societal development rely heavily upon safe and secure infrastructure, in which road, rail and metro tunnels and other covered infrastructure are important elements.

In the aftermath of major disasters in Europe in the last decade, extensive research activity has started (see article from Dimitrios Theologitis, Eurotransport issue 3 2005). In this article some specific findings will be highlighted, resulting from two major EU co-financed projects: UPTUN and L-surF. The article will also draw upon future developments, such as further internationalisation of tunnel fire safety, through the combination of research and development consortia in a new ambitious ITA committee.