Technical Reports

Assessment of Potential Aerodynamic Effects on Personnel and Equipment in Proximity to High Speed Train Operations: Safety of High-Speed Ground Transportation Systems

  • 01
  • Dec
  • 1999
AUTHOR: Federal Railroad Administration; Harvey Shui-Hong Lee
SUBJECT: Safety Advisories, Safety Regulatory Analysis, Safety Performance Measures
KEYWORDS: Aerodynamic; Train interaction; Aerodynamics; High speed ground transportation; High speed rail; Human comfort; Passing trains; Safety; Window glazing
ABSTRACT: Amtrak is planning to provide high-speed passenger train service at speeds significantly higher than their current top speed of 125 mph, and with these higher speeds, there are concerns with safety from the aerodynamic effects created by a passing train. Trains operating at high speeds will pass other trains on adjacent tracks, passengers on station platforms, and other equipment and workers along the wayside. The aerodynamic effects created by a passing train include both pressure and induced airflow which can be a potential hazard to equipment and people in proximity to the passing train. This report assesses the potential hazards created from the aerodynamic effects of passing high-speed trains at speeds of 150 mph. It will specifically address the hazards to window glazing on passenger trains and to people on station platforms. A literature review was conducted and many of the data obtained served as a basis for this study. A description associated with passing trains and data on aerodynamic force levels produced from a passing train are presented first. Data on structural load limits for glazing and tolerance levels for human comfort which provide criteria for hazard assessment are also presented. Second, computations are performed to assess the potential hazards of passing high-speed trains to train window glazing and to people.
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