Single Passenger Rail Car Impact Test Volume I: Overview and Selected Results
AUTHOR: David Tyrell, Kristine Severson, A. Benjamin Perlman
REPORT NUMBER: DOT/FRA/ORD-00/02.1
KEYWORDS: Transportation, safety, crashworthiness, occupant protection, rail vehicles
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On November 16, 1999, at the Transportation Technology Center in Pueblo, Colorado, a test was conducted of a single rail
passenger car colliding with a fixed wall at 35 mph. The car was instrumented to measure (1) the deformations of critical structural
elements, (2) the vertical, lateral, and longitudinal deceleration of the carbody and trucks, and (3) displacements of suspension
systems. The car was equipped with anthropomorphic test devices (test dummies) in three interior arrangements:
1. Forward-facing unrestrained occupants seated in rows, compartmentalized by the forward seat in order to limit the motions of
2. Forward-facing restrained occupants with lap and shoulder belts.
3. Rear-facing unrestrained occupants.
The purpose of the test was to validate and calibrate computer models for analyzing crashworthiness of rail passenger vehicles.
Prior to the test, computer models were used to simulate the car’s response during the test, and to develop the information required
to determine the placement and type of instrumentation, as well as bounding the range of the interior decelerations likely to be
experienced by the test dummies. Qualitatively, the results of the test and pre-test analyses are in reasonable agreement.
Quantitatively, the results are in reasonable agreement for many of the key measures of the response of the equipment.