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Technical Reports

Documentation of Deformation from Passenger Rail Two-Car Impact Test

  • 01
  • Nov
  • 2003
AUTHOR: Robert A. MacNeill and Steven W. Kirkpatrick
OFFICE: RPD
REPORT NUMBER: DOT/FRA/ORD-03/08
KEYWORDS: Documentation of Deformation from Passenger Rail Two-Car Impact Test
Pdf Download PDF Document [17.7 MB]

The Volpe Center has been conducting research into rail equipment crashworthiness in support of the Federal Railroad Administration’s (FRA) Office of Research and Development. As part of this research, full-scale crash tests of passenger cars have been performed. Subsequent detailed post-test examinations develop an improved understanding of the collapse mechanisms of the dominant structural elements as well as overall dynamic crash behavior. This knowledge can be used for interpreting test data, estimating energy dissipation during the test, developing detailed finite element models, and designing safer passenger cars.


This report documents a detailed post-test inspection performed on the lead car from a full-scale test featuring two coupled passenger coach cars impacting a fixed wall at 26 mph, which was conducted on April 4, 2000. Damages to primary structural members including the draft sill, side sills, and cant rails were documented including modes and magnitude of deformation. Other secondary structural components such as the superstructure skin, belt rails, and floor were also documented.

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