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Structural Crashworthiness Standards Comparison: Grade Crossing Collision Scenarios
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  • Abstract:
    In support of the Federal Railroad Administration’s (FRA)

    Railroad Equipment Safety Program, American and European

    grade-crossing collision scenarios were evaluated and

    compared. Finite element analyses (FEA) were employed to

    subject an FRA-compliant passenger car to grade-crossing

    collision scenarios defined in both the proposed FRA Code of

    Federal Regulations (CFR) and European Standard (EN)

    15227. The proposed FRA collision scenario involved a single

    car impacted by a cart. The cart had a punch mounted to it to

    hit a specific post of the end frame of the car. The EN 15227

    collision scenario involved a complete train consist impacting a

    large deformable obstacle that approximates a lorry. The

    analyses show that these collision scenarios, while both gradecrossing

    scenarios, are very different not only in terms of the

    impact object and the amount of initial kinetic energy involved,

    but also in terms of how the car is loaded and deformed during

    impact. The FRA scenario is shown to be easier to analyze as

    well as easier to test than the EN 15227 scenario. Additionally,

    the FRA scenario is safer to test because of the levels of initial

    energy involved. The FRA scenario also provides clearer

    metrics of success. The FRA-compliant car utilized in the

    analyses and test conducted for this paper passed both FRA and

    EN 15227 grade-crossing collision scenarios according to the

    requirements for each respective standard. However, the

    analyses show that despite both scenarios providing for energy

    absorption in a grade-crossing collision, because the manner in

    which the car is loaded and deformed (concentrated vs.

    distributed) is different, the FRA performance standard and EN

    15227 grade-crossing collision scenarios are not equivalent and

    mutual compliance is not guaranteed.

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