Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Monday, Mar 21, 2005
RDSO set to conduct first crashworthy rail coach test
New Delhi , March 20
IF the test succeeds, rail travel could become a wee bit safer. Research Designs & Standards Organisation (RDSO), the research and standardisation arm of the Railways, is all set to conduct a full-scale actual crashworthy test for a passenger train coach for the first time in the country soon.
"We plan to conduct the test between March 28-31," said a senior official. Crashworthy coaches are designed in a manner that would ensure minimum injuries to passengers in the event of a crash.
In order to conduct the test, the Lucknow-based RDSO required a coach and a collision wall.
Rail Coach Factory (RCF), Kapurthala has manufactured a coach according to design developed by computer models. The coach was transported to RDSO on March 18, said the official.
For the collision wall, RDSO plans to use a wagon filled with concrete. The wagon surface on which the coach will be made to crash is plated with three-inch steel. "The concrete-filled coach weighs about 120 tonnes."
During the test, the coach will be made to crash against the collision wall (wagon) at 40 km speed, he added.
"Not that the coach will not be damaged in the crash - the idea is to ensure that there is minimal damage in those areas that usually have passengers," the official said.
More than 12 organisations including Rail India Technical and Economic Services Limited (RITES Ltd), the US-based Transportation Technology Center Inc (TTCI), RCF, Kapurthala and IIT, Delhi are involved in development of the crashworthy coach, said officials involved in the exercise.
Other US-based companies such as the Applied Research Associates (ARA) and GMH Engineering are providing simulation expertise and instrumentation expertise respectively.
While RDSO is the nodal agency, TTCI, which provides management and engineering support to the railway transportation industry across the world, is providing testing inputs. "Experts from TTCI will arriving at RDSO on March 21," said the official.
Five other organisations from India including Progression, Hinode, Altair, Ansys and Gisseta have provided software and hardware inputs while IIT, Delhi professors have trained the railway engineers, said a senior official.
RCF, Kapurthala is involved in prototype manufacturing while RITES has provided domain knowledge experts for the project.
A computer cluster has been set up at RDSO for research purpose. "A fundamental, computer simulated trial coach design has been conducted," the official said.
On the expected difference in cost of a crashworthy coach and a usual coach, the official said: "The cost is expected to be marginally higher since a lot of input will basically go into design of the coach. Thus, while a passenger coach costs Rs 40-50 lakh, the crashworthy coach would cost a few lakh rupees more."
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