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British scientists developing bomb-resistant train

Specially designed trains could provide "lifesaving, low-cost, simple solutions" in the event of a suicide bomb on mass transit.

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The 7/7 bombings, a series of suicide blasts that took place on London's public transport system on July 7, 2005, were among the deadliest terrorist attacks of the post-9/11 world. Since then, efforts have been made to mitigate the possible damage of future attacks on public transit, and a group of British engineers from Newcastle University is doing its part by designing blast-proof trains.

SecureMetro, a collaborative project funded by the European Union, launched three years ago with the goal of developing blast-resistant and fire-proof above-ground and underground metro trains that minimize death and injury in the event of a bomb attack.

The video below shows the progress on the project. First you'll see a decommissioned train, highlighting the potential collateral damage exploding trains can cause. Doors, windows, and pieces of the carriage fly through the air. The interior of the train is also demolished, as furniture and ceiling panels prevent any survivors from easily escaping the carriage.

SecureMetro's prototype, shown second, absorbs the blast more cleanly. The windows are covered with a specially designed coating that ablates the blast, causing the ripple effect seen in the video. Additionally, the doors and interior of the train are designed to reduce collateral damage as much as possible.

These blast-resistant trains would likely reduce casualties in the event a train was bombed in a station. Any survivors would have an easier path to the outside as well.

"A bomb on a train is always going to be devastating, but what we are trying to do is find a way in which the vehicle itself can help to mitigate the impact of an attack," Conor O'Neill, Newcastle University engineer and leader of the project, told U.K. newspaper The Telegraph. "There are all low-cost, simple solutions that can be put on existing trains which could not only save lives but also reduce the attractiveness of our railways for potential terrorist attacks."

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