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Collision Scenarios for Assessing Crashworthiness of Passenger Rail Equipment

[+] Author Affiliations
Karina Jacobsen, Patricia Llana, David Tyrell

US Department of Transportation Volpe Center, Cambridge, MA

Paper No. RTDF2010-42033, pp. 167-178; 12 pages
  • ASME 2010 Rail Transportation Division Fall Technical Conference
  • ASME 2010 Rail Transportation Division Fall Technical Conference
  • Roanoke, Virginia, USA, October 12–13, 2010
  • Conference Sponsors: Rail Transportation Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4406-9 | eISBN: 978-0-7918-3889-1


In June 2009, at the request of the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), the Railroad Safety Advisory Committee established the Engineering Task Force (ETF). The ETF is comprised of government, railroads, suppliers, and labor organizations and their consultants. The ETF was tasked with recommending a process for assessing alternative Tier I passenger rail equipment, i.e., passenger equipment that is operated at speeds up to 125 mph on the general railroad system. The final product of the ETF is a document outlining criteria and procedures for demonstrating crashworthiness performance of passenger rail equipment built to alternative design standards and proposed for operation in the US. The results provide a means of assessing whether an alternative design compares to designs compliant with the FRA’s Tier I crashworthiness requirements. This paper focuses on the criteria and procedures developed for scenario-based requirements. The principle collision scenario describes the minimum train-level crashworthiness performance required in a train-to-train collision of an alternatively designed passenger train with a conventional locomotive-led passenger train. For cab car-led and MU locomotive-led operations, the impact speed is prescribed at 20 mph. For locomotive led operations, the impact speed is prescribed at 25 mph. Criteria for evaluating this scenario include intrusion limits for the passengers and engineer, and occupant protection measures. Other scenario-based requirements discussed in this paper include colliding equipment override, connected equipment override, and truck attachment.



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