What is the least safe rolling stock in service today? What would do best in a Grayrigg like accident?

mrdanf

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I would appreciate any thoughts, if anyone has any. What is the least safe rolling stock currently in operation today? And which rolling stock would be the worst to minimise casualties in a accident like Grayrigg?

Thanks,
 
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JonathanH

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Generally the oldest stock will have the least safety features incorporated in its construction and will have the most fatigue. It stands to reason that the amount of safety features will increase over time as further developments occur.

That said, enhancements in safety systems should mitigate against any issues with stock safety.
 

61653 HTAFC

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Much depends on the type of impact a vehicle sustains, too. Your garden-variety 23m mk3 will cope reasonably well (for a 40-year-old vehicle) with an end-on impact, but if it rolls over and hits an obstacle side-on it'll crumple like a cardboard tube.
Based purely on amateur guesswork, if I'm involved in a collision the thing I least want it to be on is probably a 153/155. I would say the 139, but even if one ran away down the branch I'm not sure how much speed it would gain before it hit the buffers at the other end.
 

DanNCL

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Least safe running on any part of the national network is almost certainly the Tyne & Wear Metrocar, although the Bakerloo line 1972 stock can’t be far off it.

In theory the newer the train the safer it is, but I have to admit I’m not convinced by some of the new designs which seemingly don’t have crumple zones anywhere other than the cabs.
 

bramling

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Least safe running on any part of the national network is almost certainly the Tyne & Wear Metrocar, although the Bakerloo line 1972 stock can’t be far off it.

In theory the newer the train the safer it is, but I have to admit I’m not convinced by some of the new designs which seemingly don’t have crumple zones anywhere other than the cabs.

Bakerloo 72 stock is probably the answer to the original question. No structural strength at all really, and if hit by something else the 72 stock would come off far worse. Similar happened with the 59 stock which was hit by a 313 at Kensal Green in the 1980s - at least one car of the Tube train was virtually demolished.

For mainline stock I’d go with 153/155/313/315/507/508. Not something worth worrying unduly about though.
 

Bletchleyite

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My guess would be a 1990s aluminium bodied DMU such as a Turbo or 158 (as distinct from the steel bodied Sprinters). These have performed woefully in collisions before (the whole front coach was demolished at Ladbroke Grove, for instance - what was left looked like a 2-car unit), and often the fuel leaks resulting in a serious fire.

I suspect later aluminium designs will be stronger and by virtue of being newer will have less corrosion. (Aluminium doesn't rust but it does corrode, as anyone who has ever owned a Land Rover Defender can confirm!)
 

bramling

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My guess would be a 1990s aluminium bodied DMU such as a Turbo or 158 (as distinct from the steel bodied Sprinters). These have performed woefully in collisions before (the whole front coach was demolished at Ladbroke Grove, for instance - what was left looked like a 2-car unit), and often the fuel leaks resulting in a serious fire.

I suspect later aluminium designs will be stronger and by virtue of being newer will have less corrosion. (Aluminium doesn't rust but it does corrode, as anyone who has ever owned a Land Rover Defender can confirm!)

I’m not sure Ladbroke Grove can really be used as a yardstick, simply because the energy and forces involved were absolutely immense.

The 365 at Potters Bar performed well in an aggressive 100 mph derailment.

Hopefully we will never see them tested, but I have always wondered what would happen to the bolted Electrostar / Turbostar bodies in a major incident, in particular whether the bolts would simply shear and fail, in the same way the welds failed at Ladbroke Grove.
 
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tomuk

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My guess would be a 1990s aluminium bodied DMU such as a Turbo or 158 (as distinct from the steel bodied Sprinters). These have performed woefully in collisions before (the whole front coach was demolished at Ladbroke Grove, for instance - what was left looked like a 2-car unit), and often the fuel leaks resulting in a serious fire.

I suspect later aluminium designs will be stronger and by virtue of being newer will have less corrosion. (Aluminium doesn't rust but it does corrode, as anyone who has ever owned a Land Rover Defender can confirm!)
I'd agree with that. The 158s don't fully use double skinned extrusions like later aluminium constructions do and there are concerns with the Turbos following Ladbroke grove over the quality\suitability of the welding.

Hopefully we will never see them tested, but I have always wondered what would happen to the bolted Electrostar / Turbostar bodies in a major incident, in particular whether the bolts would simply shear and fail, in the same way the welds failed at Ladbroke Grove.
This was all investigated post Ladbroke Grove. Adtranz/Bombardier supplied a sample Electrostar / Turbostar shell which was tested. It was found that the shell split at the welded seems of the aluminium extrusions rather than the bolted joins. The heat of the welding caused weakening of the metal adjacent o the weld. Improved methods of Mig welding were implemented or Friction Stir used instead like Hitachi.
 
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61653 HTAFC

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Why all the hate for 153/155? The Leyland National bus was built like a tank and only low floor regs finally killed them off. Through the development of the LEVs, 140, 141,142 and 155 lots of thought was put into crash safety.
Something about the appearance of the bodyshells just doesn't fill me with confidence. They look flimsy in part because the riveted panels making up the sides look as if they'd collapse under any sort of side-on impact. They also like the Pacers and mk1s, have a heavy chassis with a lightweight bodyshell- which again won't perform as well as more modern stock under certain conditions, even though they probably aren't quite as prone to overriding as mk1-based stock was.
 
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Hadders

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These are a 20+ year old design now. They’re not unsafe but IETs should be safer.
 

Bletchleyite

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These are a 20+ year old design now. They’re not unsafe but IETs should be safer.

They're "safe enough". People have difficulty with that concept a lot of the time - demonstrated amply by COVID.

To me, all post-Mk1 rolling stock is safe enough for me as a passenger, because signalling and other procedures do enough to prevent it hitting other things.

Doesn't mean things shouldn't improve, of course.
 

MattRat

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For safe units, I think any unit converted to another one, or any tilting stock is probably very safe. Surely you wouldn't convert a 319 into a 769 for example if the original bodyshell wasn't safe. As for tilting stock, their designs would likely give a double skinned effect.
 

tomuk

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Something about the appearance of the bodyshells just doesn't fill me with confidence. They look flimsy in part because the riveted panels making up the sides look as if they'd collapse under any sort of side-on impact. They also like the Pacers and mk1s, have a heavy chassis with a lightweight bodyshell- which again won't perform as well as more modern stock under certain conditions, even though they probably aren't quite as prone to overriding as mk1-based stock was.
No on 155/3s the chassis is an integrated part of the bodyshell you can't separate the two unlike a pacer where the body is integral to itself, basically a Leyland National on steroids, and is held unto the underframe with half a dozen bolts.

As for tilting stock, their designs would likely give a double skinned effect.
What do you mean? Apart from having a smaller body the construction of tilting trains very similar to ordinary ones. The Voyagers are based on a non tilting Belgian EMU and if there was such a things as a non tilt Pendolino it would be very similarly built out of Aluminium extrusions.
 

MattRat

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What do you mean? Apart from having a smaller body the construction of tilting trains very similar to ordinary ones. The Voyagers are based on a non tilting Belgian EMU and if there was such a things as a non tilt Pendolino it would be very similarly built out of Aluminium extrusions.
You have to look at the original APT to fully understand. There was an inside and outside shell, and the outside shell would tilt while the inside shell would stay upright for passenger comfort.

Ironically, it made passengers feel sick, so modern tilt trains allow the inside shell to tilt a little as what made people sick was their ears and eyes (when looking out the window) experiencing two different things.

These two shells is what would give added crash protection.
 

61653 HTAFC

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No on 155/3s the chassis is an integrated part of the bodyshell you can't separate the two unlike a pacer where the body is integral to itself, basically a Leyland National on steroids, and is held unto the underframe with half a dozen bolts
Thanks for the correction. They do have the appearance of having been coachbuilt in a more traditional way, with the bodysides looking like multiple small panels riveted together. I assume that's just an outer skin with a more substantial structure beneath, but they kind of have the look of a static caravan, and those things come apart in a strong gust of wind!
 

matacaster

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Why all the hate for 153/155? The Leyland National bus was built like a tank and only low floor regs finally killed them off. Through the development of the LEVs, 140, 141,142 and 155 lots of thought was put into crash safety.
Surely the cab is a deathtrap in a front end collision?
 

etr221

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All rolling stock is adequately safe up to a point; beyond another point, none of it is. How many accidents there are are beyond the first point, and the second is something uncertain (but both are essentially low). Whether its worth replacing or improving stock towards being safe at the second, rather than the first - or whatever intermediate point it's at - is not easy to decide.
 

Bletchleyite

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Thanks for the correction. They do have the appearance of having been coachbuilt in a more traditional way, with the bodysides looking like multiple small panels riveted together. I assume that's just an outer skin with a more substantial structure beneath, but they kind of have the look of a static caravan, and those things come apart in a strong gust of wind!

It's the frame that gives you most of the strength, not the sheet metal on the outside. That's true of modern stock too.

Surely the cab is a deathtrap in a front end collision?

Pretty much all 15x cabs are more or less the same in that regard.

You have to look at the original APT to fully understand. There was an inside and outside shell, and the outside shell would tilt while the inside shell would stay upright for passenger comfort.

Not true. The APT tilt mechanism is basically the same as that of the Pendolino - the whole body tilts. It's that same mechanism that was flogged to the Italians and bought back, basically.

Ironically, it made passengers feel sick, so modern tilt trains allow the inside shell to tilt a little as what made people sick was their ears and eyes (when looking out the window) experiencing two different things.

Again no. There is simply a lower degree of tilt overall, there is no inside/outside shell.

These two shells is what would give added crash protection.

Not true.
 

tomuk

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There was an inside and outside shell, and the outside shell would tilt while the inside shell would stay upright for passenger comfort.
I'm sorry but that is completely wrong. There is no inner and outer shell and they definitely don't move independently. Have you ever been on a Pendolino or Voyager? Here's a picture of a pendolino entering a curve you can see the front coaches tilting.

800wm
 

fgwrich

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Something about the appearance of the bodyshells just doesn't fill me with confidence. They look flimsy in part because the riveted panels making up the sides look as if they'd collapse under any sort of side-on impact. They also like the Pacers and mk1s, have a heavy chassis with a lightweight bodyshell- which again won't perform as well as more modern stock under certain conditions, even though they probably aren't quite as prone to overriding as mk1-based stock was.
Having seen a 142 be scrapped earlier in the year, those Chassis were impressively strong. The body, as you say, is somewhat of a different matter. It was certainly interesting looking down into the bodiless chassis to see how surprisingly robust the "wagon" design actually is!
 

tomuk

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I know that the Pendolini have fared well in crashes but l am intrigued why you think that class 800s would be any less safe?
Well leaving aside any metal fatigue problems on the jacking points, bogie and coupling and attachment points, I have a concern regarding there ability to remain in a straight line in a derailment. The issue was raised in a RAIB report , into the derailment at Neville Hill?, it showed that a combination of the requirement to allow the 26m coaches to travel where 23m Mk3s (the bogies and couplings are a long way from the ends of the cars) and current crash regs around crumple zones (the couple bar has to collapse at low speeds) allows the coupling a larger degree of movement then expected this could allow the coaches to potentially jack-knife or override.
 

Wolfie

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Well leaving aside any metal fatigue problems on the jacking points, bogie and coupling and attachment points, I have a concern regarding there ability to remain in a straight line in a derailment. The issue was raised in a RAIB report , into the derailment at Neville Hill?, it showed that a combination of the requirement to allow the 26m coaches to travel where 23m Mk3s (the bogies and couplings are a long way from the ends of the cars) and current crash regs around crumple zones (the couple bar has to collapse at low speeds) allows the coupling a larger degree of movement then expected this could allow the coaches to potentially jack-knife or override.
I obviously knew about the ongoing fatigue issues. The other bits are interesting, TY.
 

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