Dynamic Test of a Collision Post of a State-of-the-Art End Frame Design
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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

      post.

      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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