On Derailment-Worthiness in Rail Vehicle Design Analysis of vehicle features influencing derailment processes and consequences

University dissertation from Stockholm : Farkost och flyg

Abstract: This thesis aims at systematically studying the possibilities of minimizing devastating consequences of high-speed rail vehicle derailments by appropriate measures and features in the train design including the running gear.Firstly, an empirical database is established containing as much relevant information as possible of past incidents and accidents that have occurred at substantial running speeds due to mechanical failure close to the interface between the running gear and the track. Other causes that ultimately brought the train in a derailed condition are also covered. Although various accidental circumstances make each derailment a unique event, certain patterns appear to emerge which lead to several critical vehicle parameters capable of influencing the outcome of a derailment or preventing a derailment to occur.Secondly, the possibility of preventing wheel climbing derailments after an axle journal failure is studied by implementing mechanical restrictions between wheelsets and bogie frame. In this respect, a multi body system (MBS) computer model is developed to account for such an axle failure condition, which is successfully validated on the basis of two authentic passenger car events.In order to study the overall post-derailment vehicle behaviour, in particular the wheelsets’ vertical motion and lateral deviation on sleepers, a comprehensive MBS post-derailment module is developed and implemented in the commercially available software GENSYS. The model detects wheel-sleeper impact conditions and applies valid force resultants calculated through linear interpolation based on a pre-defined look-up table. The table was constructed through exhaustive finite element (FE) wheel to concrete sleeper impact simulations utilising the commercially available software LS-DYNA. The MBS post-derailment module has been validated successfully in several stages, including a correct prediction of the derailing wheelset’s trajectory over ten consecutive sleepers in comparison with an authentic passenger vehicle derailment event.An extensive simulation analysis on the feasibility of utilizing alternative substitute guidance mechanisms attached to the running gear on rail vehicles is presented, as means of minimizing the lateral deviation. Three low-reaching guidance mechanisms attached onto the running gear (bogie frame, brake disc and axle journal box) are analysed in terms of geometrical parameters for a successful engagement with the rail in order to prevent large lateral deviations after twelve different derailment scenarios.Three conventional coupled passenger trailing cars are investigated in terms of lateral deviation and vehicle overturning tendency after derailments on tangent and curved track. This is performed as a function of various vehicle design features and parameters such as: maximum centre coupler yaw angle, carbody height of centre of gravity, coupler height and additional running gear features. In a similar manner, the articulated train concept is investigated in terms of the post-derailment vehicle behaviour as a function of different inter-carbody damper characteristics and running gear features.