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Voith’s Innovative Crash Energy Management Technology: Improving Safety

Voith Secures Contract to Provide Coupler System for 130 CALTRANS Vehicles
YORK, PA – Leading the way in both safety and innovation, Voith announced that it has won the contract to provide 260 push back couplers to CALTRANS, the transit authority for the California Department of Transportation. The push back couplers are part of Voith’s unique Crash Energy Management (CEM) technology, designed to enhance passenger safety and reduce damage to train cars when crashes occur. Since 2008, Voith has secured orders for nine different transit agencies across the United States and Canada.

“Voith’s Crash Energy Management technology improves safety and reduces equipment damage for transit systems across the U.S.,” said Voith Turbo Rail Division Vice President Kevin Simms. “As the CALTRANS order demonstrates, in just a few years, Voith’s innovative and effective coupler design has become the industry benchmark. Expanding the use of Crash Energy Management technology will not only save transit authorities money by limiting damage during crashes; more importantly, it will also enhance the safety of their passengers.”

Voith’s Crash Energy Management technology is designed to limit the damage to passenger rail cars by the use of sacrificial energy absorbers, preventing derailment and car override. The systems employed by Voith feature energy absorbers to reduce the force of the crash felt on the rail cars by the passengers. The technology is good for the passengers, as tests have shown Voith’s CEM system limits the g-force of the initial impact in the case of a collision.

The Southern California Regional Rail Authority (SCRRA) was the first commuter rail system to require CEM technology. Voith was awarded the contract for the CEM system for SCRRA, whose specifications for couplers have since been adopted by the technical committee formed by AMTRAK, known as PRIIA (Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act) 305. Voith is an active member of this committee and these PRIIA 305 standards are being used in specifications for many new rail procurements across the United States.

Voith manufactures its CEM systems at its office in York, Pennsylvania. To date, Voith’s orders for push back couplers have been for new, passenger rail cars and locomotives. However, these couplers can be retrofit to existing passenger cars.

Voith Turbo, the specialist for hydrodynamic drive, coupling and braking systems for road, rail and industrial applications, as well as for ship propulsion systems, is a Group Division of Voith GmbH.

Voith sets standards in the markets energy, oil & gas, paper, raw materials and transportation & automotive. Founded in 1867, Voith employs more than 42 000 people, generates € 5.7 billion in sales, operates in over 50 countries around the world and is today one of the biggest family-owned companies in Europe.


Markus Woehl

Voith GmbH & Co. KGaA

Head of Corporate Press Office


t +49 7321 37 2219