Passenger Cab Car Grade Crossing Impact Test Report
REPORT NUMBER: DOT/FRA/ORD-07/24
KEYWORDS: Transportation, safety, crashworthiness, passenger rail vehicles, cab car end structure, grade
Two full-scale oblique grade crossing impact tests were conducted in June 2002 to compare the crashworthiness performance of
alternative corner post designs on rail passenger cab cars. On June 4, 2002, a cab car fitted with an end frame built to pre-1999
requirements impacted a steel coil at approximately 14 mph (22.5 km/h). Following on June 7, 2002, a cab car fitted with an end
frame built to current requirements also impacted a steel coil at approximately 14 mph (22.5 km/h).
The tests were conducted in response to a recommendation from the American Public Transportation Association’s Passenger
Rail Equipment Safety Standards Committee to measure the crashworthiness performance of alternative cab car end frame
designs. During the test of the 1990s design, the corner post failed, eliminating the survival space for the operator. During the test
of the state-of-the-art (SOA) design cab car, the corner post remained attached and deformed less than 9 in (228 mm), preserving
space for the operator.
The crush of the cars was analyzed using detailed finite element models. The impact end of each car was modeled, including
approximately one quarter of the length of the car. The back end of the cab car model was fixed, and its end structure was
impacted by an initially moving cylinder with the same mass and dimensions as the steel coil used in the tests.
The results from the full-scale grade crossing impact tests validated the preliminary results of the three-dimensional lumped