Vehicle tesing
The spectrum of Vehicle testing activities ranges from type tests of newly constructed or refurbished railway vehicles to research & development tests with the aim of detecting the reasons and assisting the solution of problems which arose during the operation or maintenance of rail vehicles. The gains from vehicle tests range from the invaluable life and property protection stemming from the direct prevention of the danger of derailments/accidents to significant cost savings achieved thanks to newly introduced maintenance/operation instructions based on the test results and their assessment.

Type tests serve to confirm the compliance of the features of the vehicle relevant to traffic safety. Static (compression bench) and dynamic (buffing) strength tests serve to confirm that the vehicle will not suffer permanent deformation in case of the highest expected collective load (as specified in the relevant regulations). Quasi-static derailment safety tests involve the evaluation of the yaw moment of the bogies, the torsional rigidity of the vehicle body and underframe and the appropriate interaction of the couplers and buffers.

For dynamic derailment tests, the wheel–rail contact forces have to be recorded continuously. The targeted evaluation of these signals is the basis for the assessment of the vehicle’s safety against derailment, but it is also possible to determine the vertical load of the railway track or the safety against permanent lateral displacement of the rails. The lateral running stability and ride comfort characteristics of the tested vehicle can also be mapped out in the framework of on-track tests.

The proper functionality of brake systems is a basic requirement of traffic safety. Slip or train-braking tests with stopping distance measurement serve to determine the indicated braked weight percentage of the vehicle, while wheel slip protection (WSP) tests serve to confirm that the vehicle can stop safely and without any damage even under dismal ambient conditions. An interesting sub-field of dynamic brake tests is the monitoring of the heat load of the friction parts of the brake system.

In traction and energetics tests, beyond the experimental determination of the rolling resistance and the rotational mass factor, one can also derive the characteristic curves and efficiency factor surfaces of traction vehicles, the power coefficient and the consumed and regenerated electric energy for electric traction vehicles, and the specific fuel consumption for diesel vehicles.

External standby, starting and pass-by, as well as internal standby and running noise tests serve to determine the operational noise emission of railway vehicles, keeping of which under a stipulated level is a more and more highlighted sub-task of environmental protection. / CC BY 3.0