Analysis of traffic load effects an railway bridges

University dissertation from Stockholm : Byggvetenskap

Abstract: The work presented in this thesis studies the load and loadeffects of traffic loads on railway bridges. The increasedknowledge of the traffic loads, simulated using fieldmeasurements of actual trains, are employed in a reliabilityanalysis in an attempt at upgrading existing railwaybridges.The study utilises data from a weigh-in-motion site whichrecords, for each train, the train speed, the loads from eachaxle and the axle spacings. This data of actual trainconfigurations and axle loads are portrayed as moving forcesand then used in computer simulations of trains crossing twodimensional simply supported bridges at constant speed. Onlysingle track short to medium span bridges are considered in thethesis. The studied load effect is the moment at mid-span. Fromthe computer simulations the moment history at mid-span isobtained.The load effects are analysed by two methods, the first isthe classical extreme value theory where the load effect ismodelled by the family of distributions called the generalisedextreme value distribution (GEV). The other method adopts thepeaks-over-threshold method (POT) where the limiting family ofdistributions for the heights to peaks-over-threshold is theGeneralised Pareto Distribution (GPD). The two models aregenerally found to be a good representation of the data.The load effects modelled by either the GEV or the GPD arethen incorporated into a reliability analysis in order to studythe possibility of raising allowable axle loads on existingSwedish railway bridges. The results of the reliabilityanalysis show that they are sensitive to the estimation of theshape parameter of the GEV or the GPD.While the study is limited to the case of the ultimate limitstate where the effects of fatigue are not accounted for, thefindings show that for the studied cases an increase inallowable axle load to 25 tonnes would be acceptable even forbridges built to the standards of 1940 and designed to LoadModel A of that standard. Even an increase to both 27.5 and 30tonnes appears to be possible for certain cases. It is alsoobserved that the short span bridges ofapproximately fourmetres are the most susceptible to a proposed increase inpermissible axle load.Keywords:bridge, rail, traffic load, load effect,dynamic amplification factor, extreme value theory,peaks-over-threshold, reliability theory, axle loads, fielddata.