Vehicle track interaction safety standards
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Vehicle track interaction safety standards

Filetype[PDF-2.89 MB]

  • English

  • Details:

    • Alternative Title:
      Proceedings of the Joint Rail Conference, April 2-4, 2014, Colorado Springs, CO.
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    • Abstract:
      Vehicle/Track Interaction (VTI) Safety Standards aim to

      reduce the risk of derailments and other accidents attributable

      to the dynamic interaction between moving vehicles and the

      track over which they operate. On March 13, 2013, the Federal

      Railroad Administration (FRA) published a final rule titled

      “Vehicle/Track Interaction Safety Standards; High-Speed and

      High Cant Deficiency Operations” which amended the Track

      Safety Standards (49 CFR Part213) and the Passenger

      Equipment Safety Standards (49 CFR Part 238) in order to

      promote VTI safety under a variety of conditions at speeds up

      to 220 mph. Among its main accomplishments, the final rule

      revises standards for track geometry and enhances qualification

      procedures for demonstrating vehicle trackworthiness to take

      advantage of computer modeling.

      The Track Safety Standards provide safety limits for

      maximum allowable track geometry variations for all nine FRA

      Track Classes — i.e., safety “minimums.” These limits serve to

      identify conditions that require immediate attention because

      they may pose or create a potential safety hazard. While these

      conditions are generally infrequent, they define the worst

      conditions that can exist before a vehicle is required to slow

      down. To promote the safe interaction of rail vehicles with the

      track over which they operate (i.e. wheels stay on track, and

      vehicle dynamics do not overload the track structure, vehicle

      itself, or cause injury to passengers), these conditions must be

      considered in the design of suspension systems. In particular,

      rail vehicle suspensions must be designed to control the

      dynamic response such that wheel/rail forces and vehicle

      accelerations remain within prescribed thresholds (VTI safety

      limits) when traversing these more demanding track geometry

      conditions at all allowable speeds associated with at particular

      track class.

      To help understand the differences in performance

      requirements (design constraints) being placed on the design of

      passenger equipment suspensions throughout the world,

      comparisons have been made between FRA safety standards

      and similar standards used internationally (Europe, Japan, and

      China) in terms of both allowable track geometry deviations

      and the criteria that define acceptable vehicle performance

      (VTI safety limits). While the various factors that have

      influenced the development of each of the standards are not

      readily available or fully understood at this time (e.g.,

      economic considerations, provide safety for unique operating

      conditions, promote interoperability by providing a railway

      infrastructure that supports a wide variety of rail vehicle types,

      etc.), this comparative study helps to explain in part why, in

      certain circumstances, equipment that has been designed for

      operation in other parts of the world has performed poorly, and

      in some cases had derailment problems when imported to the

      U.S. Furthermore, for specific equipment that is not

      specifically designed for operation in the U.S., it helps to

      identify areas that may need to be addressed with other

      appropriate action(s) to mitigate potential safety concerns, such

      as by ensuring that the track over which the equipment is

      operating is maintained to standards appropriate for the specific

      equipment type, or by placing operational restrictions on the

      equipment, or both.

      In addition to these comparisons, an overview of the new

      FRA qualification procedures which are used for demonstrating

      vehicle trackworthiness is provided in this paper. These

      procedures, which include use of simulations to demonstrate

      dynamic performance, are intended to give guidance to vehicle

      designers and provide a more comprehensive tool for safety

      assessment and verification of the suitability of a particular

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