Technical Reports

Crash Energy Management: One and Two Car Passenger Rail Impact Tests - Summary of Structural and Occupant Test Results

  • 05
  • Dec
  • 2016
AUTHOR: Federal Railroad Administration
OFFICE: RPD
SUBOFFICE: RPD-32
REPORT NUMBER: DOT/FRA/ORD-16/37
SUBJECT: Crashworthiness - Passenger Equipment
KEYWORDS: Transportation, safety, crash energy management, crashworthiness, passenger rail vehicles, cab car end structure, impact test
ABSTRACT: Two full-scale impact tests were conducted to measure the crashworthiness performance of Crash Energy Management (CEM) equipped passenger rail cars. On December 3, 2003, a single car impacted a fixed barrier at approximately 35 mph and on February 26, 2004, two-coupled passenger cars impacted a fixed barrier at approximately 29 mph. Coach cars retrofitted with CEM end structures, designed to crush in a controlled manner, were used in the tests. These test vehicles were instrumented with accelerometers, string potentiometers, and strain gauges to measure the gross motions of each car body in three dimensions, the deformation of specific structural components, and the force-crush characteristic of the CEM end structure. Five occupant experiments were conducted onboard the test vehicles in the two-car test to measure the secondary impact conditions. Collision dynamics models were developed to predict the gross motions of the test vehicles. Crush estimates as a function of test speed were used to guide test conditions. Using the crash pulse derived from the collision dynamics model, computer models for the occupant tests were developed to determine the severity of the collision environment and predict the motions of the Anthropomorphic Test Devices (ATDs) used in two-car tests. This report describes the details of the CEM single-car and two-car tests, and reports the findings of the structural and occupant tests.
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