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A full-scale train-to-train impact test was performed in which a cab car-led passenger train traveling at 30 mph collided with a standing locomotive-led train. During the test, the lead cab car overrode the cab of the standing locomotive, sustaining approximately 20 feet of crush, while the cab of the locomotive remained essentially intact. In this study, a finite element-based analysis of the collision was performed. The first 0.5 seconds of the collision was simulated. Results of the analysis were compared with accelerometer and video test data. Specific comparisons are made between test data and model predictions for: motions of the cab car and the standing locomotive; longitudinal forces arising between the cab car and the standing locomotive and between the respective lead and trailing vehicles; and the mode of deformation of the cab car and the locomotive. The results of the study indicate that the model captures pertinent features of the first 0.3 seconds of the collision, particularly with respect to longitudinal vehicle motions and collision forces. After 0.3 seconds, agreement between model predictions and test data becomes progressively worse. This is attributable to the model's inability to capture the massive fracture that occurs at the front of the cab car.
Date of Conference: 8-8 April 2004