This paper focuses on the safety aspect of passenger trains approaching a terminal station with a bumper block/post. As evidenced by the recent collision of a commuter train at Hoboken terminal on September 29, 2016, the consequences of a collision with a bumper post could be catastrophic, however, railroads can take preventative measures to reduce the element of risk. Case studies obtained from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) involving similar bumper block accidents are analyzed to identify any potential common denominator.
The objective of this paper is to comprehensively present the various mitigation techniques that railroads can adopt to safeguard their systems against these types of accidents. Although some of the mitigation techniques presented in the paper may already be known in the industry generically, their application to specifically mitigating the hazard of bumper collisions is a novel attempt to focus systematically on this topic. Examples of mitigation techniques discussed here in include speed restricting devices, driver alerted features, bumper blocks with more impact tolerance, and organizational safety culture. The effect of newer technologies such as PTC (in USA only) and CBTC towards mitigating this hazard as well as the unique constraints presented at terminal stations is also assessed.