How much impact velocity can locomotive withstand?

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ChinaHaun19

Active Member
Hi. I have a cousin who likes to see the videos of my model trains I send her. But she has a special request. She wants me to film a crash.

I have thought about two types of crashes. A head on crash between two of my locomotives, or a rear-end crash where one locomotive rams into a chain of several cars.

How much speed can train withstand for each kind of crash? I was thinking that if two locomotives with several cars were each travelling at 45 inches per second, you would have a closing speed of 90 inches per second and cause serious or fatal damage to a locomotive. Alternately, I could have each locomotive rolling at 25 inches per second, and I suspect if you have a sturdy and simple Lionel diesel meet head on with a simple starter set 4 4 2 with a closing speed of 50 inches per second, the locomotives would maybe survive with little damage.

The other kind of crash would be if I ram a locomotive that is travelling 60 inches per second into the back of a chain of several light reefers. I actually have an LRRC and this locomotive and tender weighs a total of 8 pounds. This locomotive is geared for very high speed, it accelerates efficiently. It can probably reach a top speed of 75 inches per second. If this locomotive rear-ended a chain of light reefers that are stopped ahead on the track, at a speed of 60 inches per second, this would cause several reefers to violently pop off the track and into the air, and the LRRC would advance right into the back of the other locomotive. The advantage of this kind of crash is that it would have minimal risk but maximum excitement.

I have experienced a head-on between two locomotives in the past. Each locomotive was travelling 25 to 30 inches per second when they met, for a closing speed of 55 inches per second, and the result was very violent and loud. Both locomotives popped off the track, but each survived with only a tiny chip off of the paint.

I know that if I took my two fastest locomotives, I could have a situation where the LRRC reaches a speed of about 70 inches per second, while the oncoming Diesel has accelerated to a speed of 50 inches per second when the two collide for a closing speed of 120 inches per second. It is assumed that this would cause serious damage.

Hmm. I am going for the rear end probably, but let me know your thoughts.
 

logandsawman

Well-Known Member
hard to believe they survived the crash!!!!!!!

By the way, I saw the above Adams family clip back when the show first came out.

Dave LASM
 

D&J RailRoad

Professor of HO
Hmmm, people like to see model trains crash. OK, what hobby is she interested in? Think of what might be damaging to her collections then ask her to intentionally do that.
I get asked that same kind of question when people learn that my hobby is model railroading. Do you ever crash your trains? I usually respond, "Do you ever crash your car for the fun of it?" Gets the point across.
At the model train shows, we get kids watching our trains and quite a few of them ask if the trains can go faster. I tell em they should really check out the slot car shows.
 

Snowman

Active Member
I don't know about head-ons or rear-enders, but when I was five I used to fly dad's Athearn Hustler (w/ rubber band drive)off the top of one of his elevated curves and into a wall. No damages and no bandages needed. It slid a long way across the concrete floor too.

On the other hand, and if it's real high speed mayhem she wants, I agree with D&J RailRoad: Slot car crashes are a lot more dramatic.
With "HO*" scale AFX cars, a shovel nose Porsche 917 rear-ending another car could generate some some height, while a Boss Mustang could give the other car a nice pop. Or, and if you are really dedicated, try two pickup trucks, towing trailers (for the DCC encoders) to get an actual head-on.

That said, and if it's the Addams family she is thinking about, maybe it isn't the train wrecks at all. Maybe she's thinking of Carolyn Jones/"Morticia Addams" form-fitting black dress and how good it looked.

I know I do. :D
 

Iron Horseman

Well-Known Member
Hi. I have a cousin who likes to see the videos of my model trains I send her. But she has a special request. She wants me to film a crash.

I have thought about two types of crashes. A head on crash between two of my locomotives, or a rear-end crash where one locomotive rams into a chain of several cars.
I don't think a head on would be too interesting. The physics just dosen't work. That is probably why in the Adams Family they always blew them up rather than actually crashing them. (Well they didn't "always". They only blew them up once and then used the same footage over and over)

A rear end on the other hand might make an interesting accordion of the cars that could be a bit similar to a real life wreck. I would think lighter cars that aren't short.
 
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kjd

Go make something!
In the movies, when we do crashes with miniatures, we make them as heavy as possible and then film them at a high frame rate. Playback on the screen is then slowed slightly to make them look larger.
 

ChinaHaun19

Active Member

I will never do this again, I think it is responsible for the spring post that keeps the truck level under the locomotive, disappearing. Fortunately I was able to fashion a hand-made post and spring by cutting some soft flat metal out of scrap, and finding a spring elsewhere in my stuff that was not super important to me.
 

Smudge617

Well-Known Member

I will never do this again, I think it is responsible for the spring post that keeps the truck level under the locomotive, disappearing. Fortunately I was able to fashion a hand-made post and spring by cutting some soft flat metal out of scrap, and finding a spring elsewhere in my stuff that was not super important to me.
I don't think your locomotive was very happy either. 🙃
 

ChinaHaun19

Active Member
I don't think your locomotive was very happy either. 🙃

This was a very serious collision. I had the CW-80 cranked all the way up, and the Diesel had about 250 inches of track to accellerate on before it reached the parked train. The diesel that caused the collision has a remote control and I quickly cranked the juice up to the max. Sometimes the output for this train varies even with the same input on remote and transformer arm. The max capability of the diesel is about 55 inches per second, but in this case the diesel train did not quite reach its ultimate maximum capability. However, it was close.

When the diesel train rear-ended the parked train, it had reached a velocity of 40 inches per second. This is actually 110 scale miles per hour. As you see, the diesel train just blew the parked train clear of its path like it was nothing. The parked train folded like an accordion as it left the track and plunged 10 scale feet to the carpet below, and in this process the diesel train barely slowed down to about 32 inches per second once it made it past the location where the parked train once stood. The curve just in front of the parked train has a maximum speed limit of 25 inches per second, and the violence of the crash had destabilized the traction of the diesel engine, which subsequently disconnected from its three tank cars and flipped off the track at this curve, plunging down to where the rest of the mess lay.
 

ChinaHaun19

Active Member
I do have an old Lionel train that, while not quite a legacy, is a premium model. Its an LRRC. This train is unfathomably heavy, weighing some 10 pounds. It is a hot rod, if there is such a thing. I just don't know what the maximum speed capacity of this locomotive is because it just flies off of any curve I got, even the 072. I am betting it can reach 85 inches per second.

Now you saw what a 40 inches per second collision looked like. I can't imagine what it would look like if I placed a 10-car long train, with cars that weigh 1 pound each, and this LRRC accellerates down the track and plows into the parked train at 85 inches per second. I think it would wake up the neighbors.
 

ChinaHaun19

Active Member

Here is more material to enjay. This is the same layout as the previous incident I posted, only this time the collision occurs with an impact velocity of 30 inches per second. So, 10 inches per second less than the first crash.

You can see that it is still packs a punch, but nowhere near the violence of a 40 inch per second impact.

Based on my understanding of the laws of physics, If you have an impact that is 30 inches per second instead of 40 inches per second, and both incidents are with similar vehicles, weight, etc, the energy produced in the 30 inch per second crash is probably 50 per cent less than 40 inches per second. If you compare what you see in both incidents, this math makes sense. I came up with this fact based on my knowledge that if you double the speed of a crash, the amount of energy produced is not twice as much, but 4 times as much!!
 
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Rico

BN Modeller
Well there, now we know!
That would be cool with some cars made out of aluminum foil or something that would crumple on impact.
I just got a new Rapido SW1200 with sound, I could try that.
Or maybe not.
 




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