Rail Testing Facilities

National Research Council Canada, Ottawa, Ontario
What the facility does

Provides rail vehicle engineering facilities, including impact hill, longitudinal reaction frame for compressive and tensile load, dynamometer car and various railway apparatuses.

Areas of expertise

The Rail Testing Facilities are set up to perform structural validations of freight rail cars for service worthiness, as well as military standard impact testing to verify structural integrity of vehicles, equipment, containers and tie-downs.

The facilities include a rail impact hill, i.e. an inclined railway track with a winched dolly to replicate the rigours of railway transport. The cars or equipment are positioned along the inclined track and released, allowing it to accelerate downwards to a string of standing railcars. Tests are conducted at speeds up to 16 MPH and impact forces up to 2 million lbs. The impact track is registered by the Association of American Railroads (AAR) and certified by Transport Canada to perform dynamic longitudinal impact testing of tank containers or multiple element gas containers (MEGC) to withstand dynamic conditions of railway operation.

The facilities also includes a longitudinal reaction frame for compressive end load application. Rated up to 1.25 million lbs. and tensile loads up to 450,000 lbs. in a static condition, the facility is known as a squeeze frame by the industry and can also service coupler vertical, twist load and jacking applications. 

The dynamometer car is a mobile test laboratory which can accompany any configurable sensor set-up where personnel presence is required during field testing.

Research services

We offer rail vehicle engineering services in accordance with multiple specifications and standards, some listed below:

  • American Association of Railroads Chapter 11 Service Worthiness Tests
  • Canadian Standards Association (CSA) B625-13; Annex C: Dynamic Longitudinal impact test
  • Mil-STD-810G Method 526: Rail Impact

Engineering services can be supplied as a turnkey solution, including full instrumentation services, data processing for test standards, data presentation and report creation. Services can also include dynamic and static load for impact testing, load testing and field testing applications.

Sectors of application
  • Aerospace and satellites
  • Agriculture, animal science and food
  • Automotive
  • Defence and security industries
  • Manufacturing and processing
  • Mining, minerals and metals
  • Ocean industries
  • Transportation
Rail Impact HillTests can be conducted at speeds up to 16 miles/hour (25 km/hr) and impact forces up to 2 million lbs
Longitudinal reaction frameUsed for compressive end load applications; rated up to 1.25M lbs. and tensile loads up to 450k lbs. in a static condition
Dynamometer carMobile test lab, which can accompany any configurable sensor set-up