Effectiveness of Alternative Rail Passenger Equipment Crashworthiness Strategies [Research Results]
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Effectiveness of Alternative Rail Passenger Equipment Crashworthiness Strategies [Research Results]

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    Comparisons of passenger equipment in a train-to-train in-line collision are evaluated for the following three crashworthiness strategies: (1) Push vs. Pull Operation (Cab Car-led vs. Locomotive-led Consists); (2) Conventional vs. Crash Energy Management (CEM) Consists; and (3) Incremental CEM vs. Full-CEM. Five cases using combinations of these three strategies are evaluated. The collision scenario for each case analyzed is a train-to-train collision between similar trains. The impact velocity ranges from 10 to 40 mph. The following five cases are evaluated: 1. All conventional cars with a cab car leading (baseline case); 2. All conventional cars with a locomotive leading; 3. Conventional coach cars with pushback couplers, with CEM cab car leading; 4. All CEM cars with a cab car leading; and 5. All CEM cars with a locomotive leading. Probability of serious injuries and fatalities are calculated based on calculated car crush and injury values. The maximum impact speed, at which all occupants are expected to survive, is calculated for each case. Of the five cases evaluated, the scenario of a cab car-led conventional consist represents the baseline level of crashworthiness. The highest levels of crashworthiness are achieved by a consist of all CEM cars with a locomotive leading, followed by all CEM cars with a cab car leading. The results indicate that incremental improvements in collision safety can be made by judiciously applying different combinations of these crashworthiness strategies. A CEM cab car leading conventional cars that are modified with pushback couplers enhances the level of crashworthiness over a conventional cab car-led consist and provides a level of crashworthiness equal to a locomotive leading conventional passenger cars.
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