Chinese train maker CRRC Changchun Railway Vehicles Co, performed a successful crash test on Friday, in which a moving train was deliberately slammed into a stationary one in Changchun, Northeast China’s Jilin province.
The two trains — each having eight cars and weighing 462 metric tons — were lined up on the test track. The moving train torpedoed the other one at a speed of 36 km per hour.
It was the first test of its kind in the world, the company said.
The experiment was carried out based on European and Chinese standards, under which crash speed is set at a maximum of 36 km/h, compared with 48 km/h in the United States, according to Li Benhuai, the chief engineer for the Changchun test.
The designed energy-absorption system performed well, matching with the data collected during the experiment. Energy produced by the crash was successfully dispersed.
After the experiment, the structures of both trains were found intact, and there was no derailment or climbing of cars.
Active and passive safety systems are designed to ensure the safety of high speed trains. This experiment tested the passive safety system, which includes an anti-creep device and energy-absorbing compression pipes on couplers.
In an accidental train crash, the passive safety system is activated to dissipate the energy produced by the impact, thereby adding a degree of safety for passengers.
The process cannot be simulated well on a computer, so a live crash is necessary.
“We took about six years to design the experiment using an 8.7-kilometer circular track,” said Li, the chief engineer. “We have the proprietary intellectual property rights on the whole experimental system, including the energy absorption system. The test proved that it’s safe and reliable.”
Li’s team has been working on the tests, starting with individual components, for single-car trains, three-car trains and five-car trains. Preliminary tests were successful and provided useful references for the recent eight-car crash test.
So far, the energy absorption system developed by the company is part of the Fuxing high-speed train between Beijing and Zhangjiakou in North China’s Hebei province.