Technical Reports

Evaluation of Railroad Cab Car End Beam Designs

  • 01
  • Jun
  • 2003
AUTHOR: Federal Railroad Administration
KEYWORDS: Cab car end beam; finite element analysis; static and dynamic tests; drop tower test; quasi-static loading; crashworthiness; baseline test article; side sill; railroad
ABSTRACT: This report presents the results of an experimental study to establish the strength and energy absorption capability of railroad cab car comer structures built to current requirements and for structures modified to carry higher loads and absorb more energy. Current cab car structures were reviewed and an end beam test element was designed with a corner post support baseline strength of at least 150,000 lbf. This design was modified to provide a strength of over 400,000 lbf. Three tests were conducted, one static and two dynamic. All experiments were accompanied by nonlinear, dynamic finite element analysis. It was observed that the strength of the baseline element was 30 percent greater than the design value and that approximately 1OOkJ of energy was absorbed before fracture. Static and dynamic analyses and test results agreed quite closely. The drop tower test conducted with an end beam test article that had been reinforced with a column had a peak load greater than 400,000 lbf. The energy absorption capability of the modified system was over four times that of the baseline configuration. These results demonstrate that significant improvement can be made to cab car comer structures with relatively minor modifications to current design.