Review статья

Medical Evacuation of Emergency Situation Victims by Railway Transport: History and Prospects

Byzov A.V. 1

Download the article in pdf format

1 State Research Center – Burnasyan Federal Medical Biophysical Center of Federal Medical Biological Agency, Moscow, Russian Federation

UDK 614.8:615.47:656.2

P. 67–71

Abstract. The aims of the article are to define the world tendencies of medical evacuation by railway transport in the 21st century on the basis of analysis of scientific publications, Internet articles and mass media reports, including those carried out during SARS-COV-2 pandemic; to specify the problems and prospects of development of medical evacuation by railway in Russia taking into account global trends and local specifics.

Materials and research methods. A content analysis of 15 scientific articles, 20 Internet articles, and 31 press communications devoted to individual issues of medical evacuation by railway was performed using the method of nonrepeat sampling.

Selection criteria were: message time — later than January 1, 2001; article should have contained the description of a case/evidence of medical evacuation by railway or the discussion of the possibilities of application of the railway transport for medical evacuation in the 21st century.

Results of the study and their analysis. The world has been conducting medical evacuation by railway for over 150 years. Traditionally, the need for medical evacuation by railway has arisen in case of armed conflicts or large-scale natural disasters, which result in great medical and sanitary losses. In the second half of the 20th century the priority importance of medical evacuation by railway was lost due to the development of automobile roads and aerodrome network and the accompanying development of automobile and air medical transport. The occurrence of emergencies in hard-to-reach areas or the inability of public health systems to organize medical care with a sharp increase in the number of victims in emergencies, including those of infectious nature, determine the need to develop additional mechanisms of medical evacuation. The use of medical evacuation by railway can become this compensatory mechanism. In this connection there has been a shift in the world’s focus in the field of medical evacuation by railway from the use of sanitary trains and flying cars to the formation of mobile medical detachments on the basis of re-equipped passenger trains. The use of re-equipped high-speed electric trains for this purpose has its advantages — it makes possible to avoid organizational difficulties and complications in patients, which are typical for sanitary aviation evacuation, as well as to provide mass medical evacuation of victims without overloading highways with sanitary vehicles. An alternative trend in the development of the medical evacuation by railway is the creation of modern civil sanitary trains and medical carriages. It has been noted that so far Russia does not have technical facilities capable to ensure the up-to-date level of the medical evacuation by railway. The future will show in what way the organization of medical evacuation by railway will develop in our country.

Keywords: COVID-19 pandemic, emergencies, medical evacuation, medical trains, medical wagons, railway transport, victims

For citation: Byzov A.V. Medical Evacuation of Emergency Situation Victims by Railway Transport: History and Prospects. Meditsina Katastrof = Disaster Medicine. 2022;2:67-71 (In Russ.). https://doi.org/10.33266/2070-1004-2022-2-67-71



  1. Mearago Sh.L. The Use of Railway Transport for the Evacuation of Victims in Emergencies. Simvol Nauki. 2016;2-3:162-166 (In Russ.).
  2. Teryayev V.G. Meditsina Chrezvychaynykh Situatsiy = Emergency Medicine. Moscow, TONCHU Publ., 2014. 496 p. (In Russ.).
  3. Klaus-Jürgen Bieger. Neues Rettungskonzept für Neubautunnel der DB AG. Ingenieurbauwerke. P. 46–49. ISBN 3-7771-0290-3 (In German).
  4. Ralf Dittrich, Hansjürg Baumgartner, Steffi Bruno, Titus Marbet, Urs J. Weder, Jürg Vogt. Neue Lösch- und Rettungszüge für die Schweizerischen Bundesbahnen und die BLS Lötschbergbahn. Eisenbahn-Revue International. 2005;3:121–127 (In German).
  5. Vilk M.F., Bazazyan A.G. Meditsina Chrezvychaynykh Situatsiy na Zheleznodorozhnom Transporte = Emergency Medicine in Railway Transport. Moscow, SPM-Industriya Publ., 2018. 279 p. (In Russ.).
  6. URL: https://feuerwehr-stuttgart.de/index.php?article_id=58.
  7. URL: https://news.ykt.ru/article/38228.
  8. Boyko N.V., Fisun A.Ya. Experience of Liquidation of Medical and Sanitary Consequences of Nevsky Express Train’s Crash. Meditsina Katastrof = Disaster Medicine. 2010;1:8-9 (In Russ.).
  9. Stepanova T.V., Sokolov V.A., Kozyayev V.A. The Chronology of the Evacuation of Burned after Accident in Bashkiria in 1989. Vestnik Rossiyskoy Voyenno-Meditsinskoy Akademii = Bulletin of the Russian Military Medical Academy. 2019;3:206-210 (In Russ.).
  10. Batugina I.M. Geodynamic Zoning and Problems of the Risk of Technogenic Accidents and Catastrophes. Gornyy Informatsionno-Analiticheskiy Byulleten = Mining Informational and Analytical Bulletin. 2002;11:245-246 (In Russ.).
  11. Rodionov Ye.P., Bratishchev I.V. Air Transportation of Critically Ill Patients. Obshchaya Reanimatologiya = General Reanimatology. 2008;4;6:54-56 (In Russ.).
  12. Macheret D.A., Valeyev N.A., Kudryavtseva A.V. Formation of the Railway Network: Diffusion of Epochal Innovation and Economic Growth. Ekonomicheskaya Politika = Economic Policy. 2018;1:256-275 (In Russ.).
  13. Rodachin V.M. Hybrid War and the National Security of Russia. Gumanitarnyye nauki. Vestnik Finansovogo universiteta = Humanities and Social Sciences. Bulletin of the Financial University. 2019;9;4:93-98 (In Russ.).
  14. Prokofyev M.N. Russia needs new railways. Transport Rossiyskoy Federatsii. Zhurnal o Nauke, Praktike, Ekonomike. 2019;5:38-41 (In Russ.).
  15. Osipov G.V., Kubrin A.A., Kuzina N.V. On The Prospects for the Project United Eurasia: Trans-Eurasian Razvitie Belt (Tebr) – Integral Eurasian Transport System (Iets) Inclusion as a Megaproject into the Russian Federation Transport Strategy for the Period up to 2030. International Journal of Advanced Studies. 2020;10;4:75-122 (In Russ.).
  16. Savushkin S.A., Tsyganov V.V., Gorbunov V.G. Transcontinental Transport Corridors in Russia. ITNOU: Informatsionnyye Tekhnologii v Nauke, Obrazovanii i Upravlenii. 2019;2:67-70 (In Russ.).
  17. Münkler H. The Wars of the 21st Century. Mezhdunarodnyy Zhurnal Krasnogo Kresta = International Review of the Red Cross. 2003;849:8-24.
  18. URL: https://www.railtech.com/rolling-stock/2020/04/03/high-speed-trains-run-as-mobile-hospitals/.
  19. Chatterjee P. Hospital Train Provides Lifeline to Rural India. Lancet. 2010;375;9729:1860-1861.
  20. Ahmed J.U., Siddiqui S., Ahmed A., Mim K.P. Lifeline Express: Hospital Train in Rural India. Emerging Economies Cases Journal. 2021:1-11. https://doi.org/10.1177/2516604220977243.
  21. Hospital Trains on Different Tracks. Bulletin of the World Health Organization. 2020;98;1:6-7. doi:10.2471/BLT.20.020120.
  22. Klyuchnikov Yu.I., Yushkov Ye.G., Plutalova L.P., et al. The First Mobile Consultative and Diagnostic Center (Health Train) – the Continuation of the Glorious Traditions in the New Conditions. Upravleniye Zdravookhraneniyem. 2014;2:67-73 (In Russ.).
  23. URL: https://www.milanotoday.it/attualita/coronavirus/treno-ospedale.html.
  24. URL: https://www.ilcittadinomb.it/stories/Cronaca/inaugurato-a-roma-il-treno-sanitario-ha-21-posti-di-terapia-intensiva-arriva_1388950_11/.
  25. URL: https://edition.cnn.com/2020/04/05/asia/indian-railways-coronavirus-hospitals-intl-hnk/index.html.
  26. Eftekhari A., Norouzinia R., et al. Investigating the Factors Affecting the Collision of Two Passenger Trains: a Case Study. JDER. 2018;1;2:59-66.
  27. URL: https://en.trend.az/iran/business/3280369.html.
  28. URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XCqm4zJhysw.
  29. Guélaud Claire. La SNCF: Une Stratégie de Croissance, un Imaginaire du Déclin // Du Monopole au Marché / Ed. Pierre-Eric Tixier. TAP / Hors Série. Paris, La Découverte, 2002. P. 126-146.
  30. URL: https://www.republicain-lorrain.fr/edition-de-metz-ville/2019/05/28/attentat-en-gare-de-metz-un-tgv-transforme-en-hopital.
  31. Lamhaut L., Nivet C.-M., Dagron C., Nace L., Braunet F., Carli P. Retour D’expérience Des Évacuations Par Train à Grande Vitesse de Patients en Syndrome de Détresse Respiratoire Aiguë sur Infection à Covid-19: les Missions Chardon. Ann. Fr. Med. Urgence. 2020;10;4-5:288-297.
  32. URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PPpJQhCXoos.
  33. Burroughs D. Talgo and Renfe Refit High-Speed Trains to Carry Coronavirus Patients. International Railway Journal. 2020.
  34. URL: https://www.talgo.com/-/talgo-increases-its-net/2.8.
  35. URL: https://www.letelegramme.fr/dossiers/larrivee-des-trains-covid-19-en-bretagne/les-soignants-bretons-au-chevet-de-paris-01-04-2020-12534503.php.
  36. URL: https://trenes.online/tren-sanitario-talgo-renfe/.

The material was received 04.04.22; the article after peer review procedure 31.05.21; the Editorial Board accepted the article for publication 23.06.22