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Hazardous Material Tank Cars -- Tank Head Protective "Shield" or "Bumper" Design

Report Number: FRA-RP-72-01
Author: Everett, J. E.
Author: Phillips, E. A.
Corporate Author: American Association of Railroads
Laboratory: Federal Railroad Administration
Date of Publication: 1971-08
Pages: 190
Contract: DOT-FR-00035
PB Number: PB202624-1

The objective of this study was to design a railroad tank car head protective device which will reduce the frequency of head punctures in accidents. Accident data were reviewed in detail for the past six years to correlate head damage fre­quency and severity with various types of cars, to determine distribution patterns of damage over head surfaces, and to assess the costs to the railroad shipping industry of head punctures. Full scale head impact tests, previously run, were also reviewed. From these two reviews, design criteria were established and used to design a large number of schemes which were then subjected to a comprehensive cost/benefit analysis. In doing this, it was conservatively assumed that the six year accident record was typical of the future, notwithstanding considerable distortion in accident frequency in two of the six years. Also, no potential reduction in head punctures was assumed attributable to other "overlapping" solutions, such as interlocking couplers or changes in train operation. . It was concluded that three tank car head protection schemes appear attractive for class DOT 112A or 114A cars and that no schemes are justified for other classes of cars. It was recommended that a test program be pursued immediately to establish a final design and performance specifications which, when examined in combination with the results of studies, currently underway, of other design changes that have the potential of improving tank safety in accidents, will make possible the final determination of an appropriate course of action.

S. Kumar
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