An Investigation of Influence of Windshield Configuration and Train Length on High-Speed Train Aerodynamic Performance

Document Type : Regular Article


1 Key Laboratory of Traffic Safety on Track of Ministry of Education, School of Traffic & Transportation Engineering, Central South University, Changsha, 410075, China

2 Joint International Research Laboratory of Key Technology for Rail Traffic Safety, Central South University, Changsha 410075, China

3 National & Local Joint Engineering Research Center of Safety Technology for Rail Vehicle, Changsha 410075, China



The aerodynamic performance of four train models with different windshield configurations (i.e., internal and/or external) in three train marshalling modes (i.e., 3, 6 and 8-car groups) was numerically investigated in this study. The train's airflow characteristics at Re=2.25×106 were determined using the shear stress transport (SST) k-  turbulence model. The results were validated by comparing the pressure distributions and drag forces on the streamlined heads with experimental data. The difference in windshield configuration and train length has a substantial influence on the train’s flow field and surface pressure distribution. For the trains with internal windshields, due to non-uniform geometry, the flow is separated and vortices are formed at the windshield area. The boundary layer profile increases with the increased train length, and its thickness varies with windshield configurations. Asymmetric vortices are formed in the wake at a distance close to the tail car’s nose, except for trains with external windshields. The reduction of the flow velocity as the train length increases causes a reduction of the low pressure near the tail car’s streamline transition, thus causing a decrease in the tail car’s drag and lift forces. Consequently, for trains with external windshields, the head car’s drag increases, whereas the total train drag reduces significantly as the train length increases. Therefore, employing external windshields in all the inter-carriage gap sections, irrespective of the train length, demonstrates a good ability to reduce future train’s aerodynamic drag.


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Volume 16, Issue 2 - Serial Number 70
February 2023
Pages 337-352
  • Received: 12 July 2022
  • Revised: 21 September 2022
  • Accepted: 03 October 2022
  • First Publish Date: 01 February 2023