FOLLOWING the collision test with a former Septa Budd Silverliner car staged at the Transportation Technology Center in Pueblo on November 18 last year (RG 1.00 p16), a second crash test took place at the same location on April 4. As on the previous occasion, the $1m experiment was designed to measure the effects of a collision on people and seating products to determine if seat design can give better protection for passengers.

So it proved. In the first test, the Silverliner car had standard seats, and the impact at 56 km/h caused dummy passengers to be thrown about the interior; had they been real people, some would have died and injuries to others would have been severe. Only dummies wearing seatbelts escaped undamaged. In the second demonstration, two coupled cars were propelled into a reinforced concrete wall at 42 km/h, calculated to be the equivalent of two trains colliding head-on at 112 km/h. This time, the seat anchors were reinforced and the seatbacks strengthened to cushion the impact more effectively. In contrast to the first test, most of the 13 dummies on board, even those not wearing seat belts, stayed in or near their seats, sustaining far fewer and less serious ’injuries’.

Detailed evaluations will be made from the measurements taken using 200 electronic devices and sensors before a third crash test is staged in November. This will see three or four cars travelling at 96 km/h propelled into a stationary locomotive.