Exceptional and Over-Loads on Existing Infrastructures

Start: 2017-01-1

End: 2018-12-31

Project code: 2017/RSF/547

Project director: Marc ANTONI

Project manager: Harald SATTLER

The Railway Infrastructure and, in particular, bridges and earthworks are subjected to ever-increasing loads they were often not designed for. These increased loads have several origins:

  • A general trend towards heavier axle load to gain transport capacity.
  • Exceptional consignments, which are common on the conventional infrastructure.
  • Undesired and uncontrolled overloads, due to improper and excessive loadings of some wagons.
  • Unbalanced and skew loading of wagons.
  • Occurrence of dynamic impacts on the rail, due to unrounded or “flat” wheels.

Weight-in-motion monitoring through automatic wayside measurement devices shows that unexpected over-loads are far from insignificant. Altogether, these specific traffic conditions might repeatedly generate loading cases that significantly diverge from the loading model generally assumed and considered.

A review of the various existing regulations regarding exceptional loads on bridges and earthworks is needed, associated with an evaluation of how actual measured traffic conditions might impact the behavior and serviceability of some structures. It will help to point out the potential weaknesses and possibly revisit the practice of risk assessment and will provide some technical background to set up harmonized rules and requirements for the operational management of heavy and potentially damaging traffics over structures.

This project proposal is aligned with the Rail Technical Strategy Europe, as it aims to improve the system utilization and operating safety of passenger and freight services and overcome infrastructure limitation to heavy and long trains. Likewise it is complementary with the S2R Objectives in order to reach a safe, interoperable, reliable and cost-effective infrastructure.

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Thursday 30 August 2018


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