Technical Reports

Results from the Car Coupling Impact Tests of Intermodal Trailers and Containers

  • 01
  • Mar
  • 1988
AUTHOR: M. R. Johnson
SUBJECT: Facilities & Test Equipment, Crashworthiness - Tank Car, Collision
KEYWORDS: Trailer-on-flat car; Container-on-flat car
ABSTRACT: Results are presented from the car coupling impact and lift/drop tests which were conducted during April 1985 at the Transportation Test Center, Pueblo, Colorado, under the Safety Evaluation of Intermodal and Jumbo Tank Hazardous Material Cars Program. The program was conducted to develop information which can be used to analyze the safety of transporting hazardous material containers by rail in Trailer on Flat Car (TOFC) or Container on Flat Car (COFC) service. One hundred and six separate car coupling impact tests were made. These tests included 10 different arrangements of cargo tanks (tank trailers) and intermodal tank containers mounted on a flat car. The tests revealed no tendency for the trailers or containers to become dislodged from the flat car during the impact, although the design load on the container pedestal supports was exceeded on some of the higher speed tests. The trailer and container securement forces were significantly larger for impacts on the A end of the car than on the B end. This showed that the properties of end-of-car cushioning devices were different at each end of the car. The tests produced only minor apparent damage on the trailers and containers, which did not affect the structural integrity of the tanks. There was, however, some damage to vents and valves which allowed some release of liquid. Eight drop tests were conducted on the tank trailers where the front landing gear support legs of the trailer were lifted off the ground and all owed to fall a short distance. These tests caused significant damage to the support legs of the trailer.