Evaluating the residual life of aged railway bridges

Bruce Mansell, Chayut Ngamkhanong, Sakdirat Kaewunruen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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The UK is home to a very expansive railway network. The network includes a significant number of bridges that were constructed in the Victorian era. The aim of this study is to estimate the remaining lifespan of a unique aged railway bridge, the Windsor Railway Bridge in the UK. This research encompassed several steps: analysis of past and current traffic, prediction of future traffic trends, fatigue life analysis, estimation of lifespan consumption and estimation of remaining fatigue life. The finite-element analysis results showed that the most highly stressed members in the structure were the arch stringer and arch vertical bracing. By using the finite-element method together with the cumulative fatigue theory, these members are predicted to have failed in 5-7 years' time, depending on the future traffic trends. Under a less conservative design class, some members are shown to have already failed sometime in the 1920s. It is found that a number of major conservative design assumptions were made. The failure mode and mechanism of the aged railway bridge are highlighted in this paper.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)153-162
Number of pages10
JournalProceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers: Forensic Engineering
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 13 May 2019


  • computational mechanics
  • fatigue,
  • history
  • mathematical modelling
  • railway systems
  • service life
  • steel structures


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