The primary objective of this thesis is to develop numerical models that can be used in the safetyassessments of rail-bridge systems. Iarnród Éireann, co-sponsor of this research, is particularlyinterested in the dynamic effects caused by the increasing axle loads and by the increase in line speedsof trains travelling over bridges. The centre span of Boyne Viaduct Railway Bridge is investigated as acase study, including actions of the railway tracks leading up to and away from the bridge, and ismodelled as a two-dimensional and three-dimensional truss.ANSYS is the finite element program used throughout the thesis to analyse the dynamic behaviour of atrain traversing a railway bridge. However, it was discovered that this program has many limitations; inparticular, its contact elements are unable to correctly model track irregularities or a train braking.Nevertheless, this problem is overcome by the author’s development of his own
element, which can model the vertical, longitudinal and lateral responses of each wheel on the rail andalso includes track irregularities and wheel-rail separation. This development assumes that a Hertzianspring element exists between each wheel and the rail and is often called a sprung mass wheel system.Under smooth rail conditions, results show that the author’s
element performs betterthan the commercial node-to-surface contact elements in ANSYS because the author’s systemmaintains accuracy when the number of elements in the model is reduced unlike the ANSYS contactelement system which loses its accuracy.In this thesis, the author also develops both a modal and finite element model of a moving unsprungmass traversing a bridge that can include track irregularities. The author highlights the similarities anddifferences between the modal and finite element model from the point of view of the form of the finalmatrices. The unsprung wheel system assumes that the wheel is permanently attached to the rail andcannot separate from it; thus, the unsprung mass experiences both local and convective velocities andaccelerations, which must be taken into account. Early studies of the moving unsprung mass show thatthe convective velocity and acceleration were omitted from the model; thus their solution is inaccurate.Nevertheless, many authors are still comparing the results of their models with this inaccurate solution,ignoring the issue of convective acceleration. The author addresses this issue in the thesis byspecifically presenting the correct solution of a moving unsprung mass traversing a cantilever beam.Other results reveal that the developed unsprung systems are comparable with the developed
element when the Hertzian stiffness is reasonably large value and separation is not allowed.From our case study of the centre span of the Boyne Viaduct Railway Bridge, the author found that apassenger train travelling at approximately 200 km/hr has a dynamic deflection equal to the staticloaded deflection multiplied by a factor of 1.07. Moreover, it was found that the bridge could besusceptible to resonance generated by repetitive loaded vehicles travelling at service speeds; namely,the train Type 1 travelling at 228 km/hr or train Type 8 travelling at 110 km/hr from the Eurocodes.