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Revising US passenger railcar occupant volume integrity requirements

  • 08
  • May
  • 2015
AUTHOR: Federal Railroad Administration
OFFICE: RPD
SUBOFFICE: RPD-32
SUBJECT: Passenger Rail
KEYWORDS: Revising US passenger railcar occupant volume integrity requirements; crippling load test;
ABSTRACT: The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) is developing new regulations addressing the occupant volume integrity (compressive end strength) of passenger rail cars. The new rules are being adopted to accommodate the introduction of rail equipment designed to alternate standards that will provide a level of safety equivalent to that of conventionally-designed vehicles. The fundamental change in the regulations involves applying the proof load on the collision load path rather than on the line of draft, as has been longstanding U.S. practice. Alternatively-designed passenger equipment must be shown to comply with one of the following loading scenarios: • 3,560 kN (800,000 lbf) with no permanent deformation • 4,450 kN (1,000,000 lbf) with limited plastic deformation • 5,340 kN (1,200,000 lbf) without exceeding the crippling strength of the car. Full-scale tests have been performed to determine whether these scenarios adequately represent the compressive end strength of conventionally-designed passenger equipment. This paper includes a description of and selected results from the full-scale crippling load test program and illustrates that the proposed load levels and performance requirements are reasonably reflective of the strength of conventional equipment. Alternatively-designed equipment compliant with the new requirements will achieve the safety-equivalence goal.
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