Train-to-Train Impact Test of Crash-Energy Management Passenger Rail Equipment: Occupant Experiments
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Train-to-Train Impact Test of Crash-Energy Management Passenger Rail Equipment: Occupant Experiments

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    • Abstract:
      As part of an ongoing passenger rail crashworthiness effort,

      a full-scale impact test of a train with crash energy management

      (CEM) passenger cars was conducted on March 23, 2006. In

      this test, a train made up of a CEM cab car, four CEM coach

      cars, and a locomotive impacted a stationary train of similar

      mass at 30.8 mph. This test included five occupant experiments

      on the cab car and the first coach car to evaluate occupant

      injury risk and seat/table performance during the collision

      using anthropomorphic devices (ATDs).

      Three occupant protection strategies were evaluated in these

      occupant experiments. Forward-facing intercity seats were

      modified to reduce the high head injury risk observed in a

      previous test. Prototype commuter seats, included in both

      forward-facing and rear-facing orientations, were designed to

      mitigate the consequences of higher decelerations in the lead

      two CEM cars. Improved workstation tables, tested with two

      different advanced ATDs, were designed to compartmentalize

      the occupants and reduce the upper abdominal injury risk to the


      Similar experiments were also conducted on the two-car

      impact test of CEM equipment [1]. The experiments described

      in this paper were conducted to evaluate the level of occupant

      protection provided by seats and tables that were specifically

      designed to improve crashworthiness. Pre-test analyses

      indicated that the occupant environment would be more severe

      for the CEM test than for the comparable test of conventional

      equipment. The environment in the leading cab car was

      predicted to be similar to a 12g, 250 millisecond triangular

      crash pulse. The environment in the first coach was predicted to

      be comparable to an 8g, 250 millisecond crash pulse.

      To aid the design of the occupant experiments, occupant

      response models were developed for each of the occupant

      experiments using MADYMO. These models were developed

      for the previous two-car CEM full-scale test and adapted to the

      newly designed commuter seats and tables. Predictions of the

      occupant response during the CEM train-to-train test were

      developed before the test. The models were subsequently finetuned

      to better agree with the test data, so that many different

      collision scenarios may be simulated.

      Most of the test results were similar to the pre-test

      predictions. The modified intercity seats successfully

      compartmentalized the occupants. The risk of both head and

      neck injury, however, were above the respective injury

      threshold values. In the forward-facing commuter seat

      experiment the impacted seat experienced a partial failure of

      the seat pedestal attachment, resulting in loss of

      compartmentalization. The attachment failures occurred

      because the seats weren't fabricated as designed. However, the

      occupants were still compartmentalized, and the injury criteria

      were within survivable levels. The rear-facing commuter seat

      experiment experienced a more significant failure of the seat

      pedestal attachment, resulting in a loss of

      compartmentalization. The attachment failures likely occurred

      because the seats were not fabricated as designed and the

      collision was slightly more severe than predicted. To assure that

      this failure mode is prevented in the future, a more robust

      attachment is currently being developed. It will be tested quasistatically

      and dynamically to demonstrate its effectiveness. The

      improved workstation tables successfully compartmentalized

      the occupants while limiting the injury risk to acceptable levels.

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