Technical Reports

Ride Quality Evaluation of High Speed Trains on the Northeast Corridor

  • 01
  • Sep
  • 1996
AUTHOR: Brian E. Mee
OFFICE: RPD
REPORT NUMBER: DOT-FRA-96-05
SUBJECT: Evaluation
KEYWORDS: High Speed Rail, Cant Deficiency, Safety , Tilt Train, Lateral Acceleration, Curing, Vehicle Dynamics, Safety Regulations, Ride Quality
ABSTRACT: A portable system to allow collection and analysis of carbody vibration data according to ISO standard 2631 was designed and built. This system allowed the FRA to record and compare the ride quality performance of foreign and domestic high speed trains operating in revenue service on the Northeast Corridor (NEC). Test data was collected on the Swedish X2000, the German ICE, the Spanish Talgo, and on the standard Amtrak Metroliner. The portable ride quality system consisted of a sensor unit containing accelerometers, power supply, analog to digital converter, and signal conditioning equipment. This sensor unit communicated with a laptop computer via a parallel port interface. The system could collect, store, and display two channels of acceleration data at rates of up to 200 samples per second. Software was written for the laptop computer to allow rapid data analysis in a post-processing mode. Time histories, frequency spectrum, and peak-to-peak events could be displayed on the screen or plotted by laser printer. Analysis of lateral and vertical ride quality was made in both the frequency and time domains. ISO 2631 reduced comfort level exposure times were calculated for all of the trains on selective tangent and curing track test zones. The Z2000 train set was found to have better ride quality in the vertical direction. The X2000 and the ICE train sets provided about equivalent ride for lateral vibration on tangent track. The X2000 and the ICE, at a higher speed, provided essentially equivalent ride on curing track as the Metroliner. The Talgo provided good ride on tangent track at high speeds tested had a high level of lateral acceleration at approximately 1 Hz on jointed tracks at speeds between 30-45 mph.

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