Train-to-Train Impact Test of Crash-Energy Management Passenger Rail Equipment: Structural Results
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Train-to-Train Impact Test of Crash-Energy Management Passenger Rail Equipment: Structural Results

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  • Abstract:
    On March 23, 2006, a full-scale test was conducted on a

    passenger rail train retrofitted with newly developed cab end

    and non-cab end crush zone designs. This test was conducted

    as part of a larger testing program to establish the degree of

    enhanced performance of alternative design strategies for

    passenger rail crashworthiness. The alternative design strategy

    is referred to as crash energy management (CEM), where the

    collision energy is absorbed in defined unoccupied locations

    throughout the train in a controlled progressive manner. By

    controlling the deformations at critical locations the CEM train

    is able to protect against two dangerous modes of deformation:

    override and large-scale lateral buckling.

    The CEM train impacted a standing locomotive-led train of

    equal mass at 31 mph on tangent track. The interactions at the

    colliding interface and between coupled interfaces performed

    as expected. Crush was pushed back to subsequent crush zones

    and the moving passenger train remained in-line and upright on

    the tracks with minimal vertical and lateral motions.

    The added complexity associated with this test over

    previous full-scale tests of the CEM design was the need to

    control the interactions at the colliding interface between the

    two very different engaging geometries. The cab end crush

    zone performed as intended because the locomotive coupler

    pushed underneath the cab car buffer beam, and the deformable

    anti-climber engaged the uneven geometry of the locomotive

    anti-climber and short hood. Space was preserved for the

    operator as the cab end crush zone collapsed.

    The coupled interfaces performed as predicted by the

    analysis and previous testing. The conventional interlocking

    anti-climbers engaged after the pushback couplers triggered

    and absorbed the prescribed amount of energy. Load was

    transferred through the integrated end frame, and progressive

    controlled collapsed was contained to the energy absorbers at

    the roof and floor level. The results of this full-scale test have

    clearly demonstrated the significant enhancement in safety for

    passengers and crew members involved in a push mode

    collision with a standing locomotive train.

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