The more demanding safety and comfort requirements combined with the increasing maximum speed of trains have lead to a growing concern in aspects such as the determination of the modal parameters of railway vehicles. Until now, the modal parameters of a vehicle have been obtained by EMA (Experimental Modal Analysis) based on the application of an impact force on the vehicle frame. However this kind of test is not optimal for railway vehicles because, due to their large dimensions, an impact force is unable to excite all the points of the structure. Also, with this method only the structural modes can be analyzed. Because of these drawbacks, a new modal analysis methodology is proposed, in which the excitation force comes from a specially designed shaker mounted under a point of a test track. In this manner, real excitation conditions can be simulated and it allows to determine not only the structural modes, but also the vibration modes associated with the suspensions.

In first place, a description of the test facilities is presented. Afterwards, we present a test carried out in one of the coaches of a high speed train. The instrumentation employed, test methodology and test results are described. Finally, the test results are compared with the results obtained from a modal test in which impact excitation was used. Also the vibration modes obtained in the test are compared with the theoretical ones, which have been calculated with a combination of a FEM (Finite Element Method) and a MBS (Multi-Body Simulation).

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