Analytical work was conducted to study if movement of liquid in a tank car (or sloshing) could contribute in any way to derailments of trains carrying dangerous goods liquids. A liquid sloshing model was developed for railway tank car with formulas generated based on available finite element analysis data. An empty tank car dynamics simulation model validated with measured data was used as the base model to implement the liquid sloshing model. Hundreds of thousands of dynamics simulations were conducted for the tank car with liquid cargo at various fill ratios and with equivalent solid (i.e., rigid) cargo on more than 1000 measured curves. The results show that under some conditions tank car sloshing could increase the risk of derailment. The detrimental effect of tank car sloshing on rail safety increases with the increase of outage, trailing tonnage, grade, car length difference, curvature, train speed and track geometry irregularities. Quantitative risk analysis could be improved by considering the effects of tank car sloshing on derailment risk. The findings can be used by regulators and the railroads to improve train marshalling practice and risk mapping of railway networks.

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