Nils Safety Handrail System NL 2016-LED rail tunnel versions

Nils Safety Handrail Systems, incorporating LEDs, have been developed and produced in the Netherlands.  This development is based on more than 12 years of experience with LEDs and sophisticated LED control systems. The mechanical construction of the rail supports and fixations have been proven over the last 10 years.

General Description

Nils Safety Handrail Systems feature a number of specially designed and unique characteristics.
The selected construction is a modular system adapted for applications in tunnels, such as but not limited to metro (subway), lightrail and railway. The specific requirements which have to be met for railway tunnels have been the basis for all mechanical and electrical constructions. Beside the product safety features, durability and energy consumption of LEDs in continuous operation have been taken into consideration.
The high performance LEDs installed by NILS are of the latest generation requiring a minimum of energy per lumen and still exceeding the minimum requirements of light emission on the escape route.
A choice can be made out of various versions of the Nils LED modules. These are all equipped with an intelligent electronic control system featuring a selection of light effects. The three versions are:

  • Nils Dynamic Safety Handrail   MONO
  • Nils Dynamic Safety Handrail   DUO
  • Nils Dynamic Safety Handrail   DUO – DILS (Directional Intelligent Light System)

Safety Handrail

The handrail is constructed out of very rigid and sturdy (GRPP) profile supplied in lengths of 6 meters specially designed for this particular application. The halogen free glass fiber reinforced plastic is thermoset and maintains its original shape, even when exposed to very high temperatures. This material is also flame retardant. The impact resistance, tensile and flexural strength as well as the dimensional stability of this profile are exceptionally high under all conditions.
The profile has a cavity running over the entire length to allow the fitting of the 1,2 m Nils LED modules as well as the required cabling for the entire length of the safety handrail. The unique Nils LED modules are connected to the cable with a patented system. The fully assembled handrail is practically round with a diameter of approx. 50 mm. During operation each individual LED module can be can be taken out without interrupting the functionality of the handrail. This also implies that when one module becomes faulty all the others remain operational.

Cabling philosophy

Continuous wiring means uninterrupted, through going wires up to (for instance) 60 meters between power supplies. As a result NO connection points are required in the main wiring and only this ensures the maximum operational reliability of this safety system. No intermediate connection points means that there is no risk of increased electrical resistance, no risk of loose connector points and no risk of short circuits. In short, there is no source for malfunction in the main wires. The selected product meets high safety standards with regard to temperature resistance, halogen free and low smoke emission.

LED Modules

Each individual LED module housing consists of a rigid polycarbonate profile fitted on an extruded aluminium LED carrier. The latter ensures that the heat generated by the LEDs is dispersed evenly over this carrier. The polycarbonate version being used has been chosen for the housing because of its flame retardant properties which is generally specified for rail and car tunnel applications. A further advantage is that the impact strength at low temperature remain fully intact. (This in contrast to PMMA.)

The LED modules are not linked to one an other but individually connected to the main cable by means of the unique and patented Nils IP 68 connector system. In case one module malfunctions  this safety evacuation system still remains operational.

The construction of the safety handrail is such, that in case of an evacuation, the coextruded polycarbonate cover will scatter the up going part of the light to ensure that passengers will not be blinded when in search of an emergency exit. In the DUO & DILS version the green light will also be scattered. The light portion directed to the emergency walkway floor  always remains clear and bright, with a minimum  light  intensity of 10 lux.

Photoluminescence “After Glow” Strip

All LED modules are fitted with a photoluminescence “after glow” strip over the entire length of the module. The after glow properties ensure that the safety handrail can be located in the dark even after a number of hours of total power failure. This part of special functionality of the safety handrail therefore remains intact in the most crucial period of ability to live.

Dynamic Light Controllers (DLC’s)

All versions of the LED modules will allow individual and central settings with regard of light intensity via the Dynamic Light Controller units (DLC’s). Every power supply unit is combined with a DLC, which receives its commands from a main control cabinet. This will allow predefined light intensities in the handrail to be activated. The DLC’s will be linked with each other via a DALI connection to the main control cabinet.

Power Supplies

The power supply to the Nils Safety Hand Rail System is executed in such a way that in all circumstances, sufficient energy can be supplied from both ends of a 60 meter segment. Not only has the choice be made for maximum redundancy level,  the selected power supply units can at all times be fed by an AC or DC primary voltage with a large range. This is done when a central UPS system is used to ensure the permanent availability of the safety systems.


The Nils Safety Handrail profile is electrically non-conductive and this makes grounding unnecessary.
There is no risk of electrical shocks for passengers being evacuated. This applies for short circuits within the system as well as from possible electrical currents from outside the system which may be caused by calamities in the tunnel.
The plastic non-conductive safety handrail will have NO influence on electrical potential differences and/or drifting electrical energy in the tunnel construction, contrary to grounded metal handrails. But In case of metal tunnel sections, those will have to be specially mounted including electrical isolation.
The NILS LED System has  KEMA compliances for:
EN 50121 – 4  : Railway applications – Electromagnetic Compatibility,
Emission and immunity of the signaling and telecommunications apparatus
EN 55011       : Emission – Industrial, Scientific and Medical (ISM) equipment
EN 61000-6-4 : Generic emission standard. Industrial environment
EN 61000-6-2 : Generic immunity standard. Industrial environment

Cost of exploitation

Energy consumption of the latest generation LEDs used in a permanently lit evacuation walkway can be defined as extremely low (efficiency level about 150 lumen/Watt). The energy consumption with a light intensity of minimum 10 lux during the entire lifespan and covering the full width of the evacuation walkway is not more than 120 W per 60 meter tunnel.
Maintenance is not required except for occasional cleaning only as a result of dust settling on the safety rail.
A clear plastic protection tape covers the LED modules to provide protection against graffiti. This is part of the scope of supply. This tape can be replaced and is a preferred solution to cleaning with (aggressive) solvents which can cause damage to the clear polycarbonate cover of the LED modules.