Crash-Energy-Management for AAR Couplers
More Safety for Products of Other Manufacturers
Some serious train accidents during the last years have caused a mind-shift towards an introduction of crash energy management systems to increase passenger safety. In California, the acquisition of a new vehicle-fleet for SCRRA Metrolink was postponed until a solution would be found to efficiently protect both passengers and trains. The vehicles were equipped with Crash Energy Management (CEM) using Voith Turbo Scharfenberg technology. Today, a complete CEM system is available, complying with the latest FRA safety regulations.
The CEM System
A Crash Energy Management system is composed of several matched energy absorbing components which are integrated in both the coupler and the carbody:
- “ Push back” AAR coupler including support
- Lateral energy absorbers
The energy absorption works in a cascading way, compensating a high amount of energy in case of a crash and preventing an overriding of the cars.
The working principle
1.Step - Coupler
A standard AAR coupler head was fitted with state-of-the-art energy absorption features, forming a “push back” coupler. The drawgear is mounting compatible to that of standard AAR couplers. In addition to the usual reversible energy absorption element it contains an irreversible part based on deformation tube technology. Should a crash occur, the coupler is pushed back into the drawgear, absorbing a great amount of energy on its way.
2.Step - Anti-Climber
At a certain point during the push-back process, the anticlimber brackets interlock and thus prevent any vertical movement of the cars.
A separate support structure mounted sideways of the coupler ensures that the energy absorption takes place in a controlled manner. One part of this support carries the anti-climber, another supports the coupler, the latter pivoting out of the way as soon as the push-back process starts.
3.Step - Lateral Energy Absorbers
Two lateral energy absorbers have been integrated into the carbody structure above the coupler level. At their front ends, they are connected through the anti-climber. This way, additional energy will be absorbed as the crash proceeds.