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Dynamic Test of a Collision Post of a State-of-the-Art End Frame Design
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  • Abstract:
    In support of the Federal Railroad Administration's (FRA)

    Railroad Equipment Safety Program, a full-scale dynamic test

    of a collision post of a state-of-the-art (SOA) end frame was

    conducted on April 16, 2008. The purpose of the test was to

    evaluate the dynamic method for demonstrating energy

    absorption and graceful deformation of a collision post.

    The post aims to protect the operators and passengers in

    the event of a collision where only the superstructure, not the

    underframe, is loaded. Methods for improving the performance

    of collision and corner posts were prompted by accidents such

    as the fatal collision in Portage, Indiana in 1998, where a coil

    of steel sheet metal penetrated the cab car through the collision


    The improvements made for the SOA end frame structure

    include more substantial corner and collision posts, robust post

    connections to the buffer beam and anti-telescoping (AT) beam,

    and corner and collision posts integrated with a shelf and

    bulkhead sheet. Full length side sills improved support for the

    end frame. This test focused on one collision post because of its

    critical position in protecting the operator and passengers in an

    impact with an object at a grade-crossing.

    For the test, a 14,000-lb cart impacted a standing cab car at

    a speed of 18.7 mph. The cart had a rigid coil shape mounted

    on the leading end that concentrated the impact load on the

    collision post. The requirements for protecting the operator's

    space state that there will be no more than 10 inches of

    longitudinal crush and none of the attachments of any of the

    structural members separate.

    During the test, the collision post deformed approximately

    7.4 inches and absorbed approximately 138,000 ft-lb of energy.

    The attachment between the post and the AT beam remained

    intact. The connection between the post and the buffer beam

    did not completely separate, however the forward flange and

    both side webs fractured. The post itself did not completely

    fail. There was material failure in the back and the sides of the

    post at the impact location. Overall, the end frame was

    successful in absorbing energy and preserving space for the

    operators and the passengers.

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