A two-car full-scale collision test was conducted on April 4, 2000. Two coupled rail passenger cars impacted a rigid wall at 26 mph. The cars were instrumented with strain gauges, accelerometers, and string potentiometers, to measure the deformation of critical structural elements, the longitudinal, vertical, and lateral car body accelerations, and the displacements of the truck suspensions. Instrumented crash test dummies were also tested in several seat configurations, with and without lap and shoulder belts.
The objectives of the two-car test were to measure the gross motions of the car, to measure the force/crush characteristic, to observe the car-to-car interaction, to observe failure modes of the major structural components, and to evaluate selected occupant protection strategies. The measurements taken during the test were used to refine and validate existing computer models of conventional passenger rail vehicles. This test was the second in a series of collision tests designed to characterize the collision behavior of rail vehicles.
The two-car test resulted in approximately 6 feet of deformation at the impacting end of the lead vehicle, and a few inches of deformation at the coupler. The cars remained coupled, but buckled in a saw-tooth mode, with a 15-inch lateral displacement between the cars after the test.
The test data from the two-car test compared favorably with data from the single-car test, and with analysis results developed with a lumped-mass computer model. The model is described in detail. The methods of filtering and interpreting the test data are also included.