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Technical Reports

Detailed Modeling of the Train-to-Train Impact Test

  • 01
  • Jul
  • 2007
AUTHOR: Richard Stringfellow and Patricia Llana
OFFICE: RPD
REPORT NUMBER: DOT/FRA/ORD-07/20
KEYWORDS: Transportation, safety, crashworthiness, passenger rail vehicles, cab car end structure, locomotive

This report describes the results of a finite element-based analysis of the train-to-train impact test conducted at the Federal Railroad
Administration’s Transportation Technology Center in Pueblo, CO, on January 31, 2002. The ABAQUS/Explicit dynamic finite
element code was used to simulate the first 0.5 second (s) of the collision. The primary objective of this program was to extend the use
of finite element-based models for simulating the crush of train structures to include vehicle-to-vehicle interactions.


A subset of the data collected during the test was first selected as a basis for comparison with model predictions. A finite element
model of the train was then developed. This model includes detailed representations of the end structures of the cab car and the
locomotive, and coarser representations of the back of these vehicle bodies and the trucks of the cab car. Connections between the cab
car body and trucks were modeled to allow for lift of the body during the collision. Trailing vehicles and vehicle-to-vehicle
connections were modeled using lumped mass parameters.


The results of the model were compared to the selected data. These comparisons indicate that the model captures many aspects of
collision behavior, with a fair degree of accuracy, especially over the first 0.25 s of the collision.

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