Technical Reports

Prototype Design of a Collision Protection System for Cab Car Engineers—Fabrication and Test

  • 10
  • Jun
  • 2015
AUTHOR: Federal Railroad Administration
KEYWORDS: Crashworthiness; cab console; secondary impact protection; airbags; energy absorption; ushable knee bolster; sled testing; crash energy management; injury indices; finite element analysis
ABSTRACT: Advancements in the structural crashworthiness of passenger rail cars now make it possible to preserve the compartmentalized space occupied by a cab car engineer during a train collision. In order to translate this additional protection into improved survivability and mitigate injuries, it is necessary to protect the engineer from secondary impacts in such accident scenarios. Prior work on this issue resulted in the design of a conceptual Engineer Protection System (EPS) that could protect an engineer under moderate-to-severe frontal impact conditions. The performance of this prototype EPS, which consists of an airbag and a deformable knee bolster system, was successfully demonstrated under simulated collision conditions, using a dynamic sled test for a 95th percentile anthropomorphic test device (ATD). The test highlighted the ability of the EPS to protect a cab car engineer in a moderate-to-severe train collision, meeting all design criteria, including compartmentalization and limits of injury to the head, neck, chest, and femur, and continuing to the meet all functional requirements. The system functions without requiring input from the engineer, without restraining him or her, and without impeding egress, while adding minimally to cost or weight of the car.