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The present practice in some of the zonal railways is to test all the rivets falling in above 3 groups in steel

girders during 5 years technical inspection, carried out by SE/JE Bridges. It is observed that testing of rivets by rivet hammer chips off the paint film, making rivet head steel exposed to environment leading to corrosion of rivet heads. Therefore, during technical inspection, the critical locations, where rivets are to be tested, are mentioned below in detail, as well as in Bridge Manual Chapter XI. This will reduce the rivet testing work of bridge branch and reduction of cost in maintenance on account of reduction in replacement of corroded head rivets. When girders are old and certification of higher speeds of existing girders is required, all rivets can be tested before the full painting of girders so that corrosion of rivet head is avoided. Critical locations for testing loose rivets are as follows: a) In plate girder/composite girder: i) Rivets connecting web plate to flange angle of top and bottom flanges particularly at the ends of girder i.e. upto 1/12 of span from either end support and below the sleepers for top flange plate.

ii) Bearing stiffener rivets. iii) Splice rivets of flanges. iv) Bracing and cross-frame connections. b) For open web girders: i) Rivets connecting rail bearers (stringers) to cross girders in case of through span.

ii) Rivets connecting cross girder to panel point gussets. iii) Rivets connection at all panel points with main gussets to truss components of top chord and bottom chord (field connections). 98

Therefore. If there are only one or two slightly finger loose rivets at any staggered location or less than 10% in a particular connection. will help in assessing structural condition in future inspection. For loose rivets at field joints careful observation should be made and decision should be taken for replacement. This needs careful understanding and good experience and discretion. 4.iv) Rivets connecting bottom lateral bracings to end cross girders as well as top lateral bracings and portal bracings. Many times rivets replaced on account of corroded heads are due to bad maintenance and not due to structural defects. particularly of open web girder. 99 . Note: Rivets listed in item (i) and (ii) of open web girders are subjected to direct shear and sometimes induce tension due to excessive deflection of rail bearers and cross girders. Hence any loose rivets noticed in these joints should be replaced to avoid overstressing of other rivets or shearing of rivet heads. One form will be required for each span. proforma shown in Fig. it should be allowed to remain under observation with white paint mark for identification.5 to 7. This will build the history of girder and help the ADEN for Numerical Rating during his annual inspection.6 kg/ cm2.1 may be used for proper record. Rivets should be replaced only with pneumatic hand driven rivet hammer which works at compressed air pressure of 6. they should be replaced to avoid overstressing of other rivets. No hand rivetting is permitted on main member of steel girder. If more rivets are loose at one location. Rivets connecting bracings are prone to become loose on account of vibrations and these are secondary members which do not affect the strength of plate girder or truss but require replacement when found loose. Maintaining proper record of loose rivets in group 2 & 3.

A paint film is provided over steel work as an inhibitor of corrosion. trolley refuge etc. b) need for replacement of the structure. Corrosion eats up the steel section and reduces its structural capacity. Depending upon number of loose rivets and their location it will be programmed for replacement or kept under observation. due to extreme heat and cold or abrasions by sleepers or due to stagnation of water. To test rivets at any critical locations mentioned above or sample testing. Corrosion around the rivet will indicate the looseness of rivet. The loose rivets are marked with white paint and entered in loose rivets proforma. Due to vibration of loose rivet.3. Left hand index finger is placed on one side of rivet head as shown in Fig. Steel structures are sensitive to the atmospheric conditions. Therefore. are prone to get loose. Then strike the rivet head on the opposite side with testing hammer. 100 .3. vibration movement is felt by the left hand index finger. Hence it is an important item of inspection. which is a light hammer weighing 110 gms with handle 300 mm long.2. If not attended to in time.3. both hands are required to be free.4. this protective paint film starts scaling off and gradually exposes the original steel surface to the atmosphere. 4. This requires a little experience. it may result in a) need for heavy repairs in the form of strengthening. With the passage of time.4. foot-path.1 Testing of loose rivets Rivets which are driven at site and rivets which are subjected to heavy vibrations like bracings. paint film gets broken and corrosion sets in. proper staging is essential.4 Corrosion Corrosion of steel members is one of the major factors causing considerable damage to the steel work. If the rivet is loose. to keep maintenance expenditure minimum.



4. road over bridge girder. 2. etc.There are certain locations in web span bottom chord panel points form pockets for stagnation of rainwater. 7. special attention should be given during inspection to the portions of steel work where corrosion is likely to be more prevalent. Steel work in the vicinity of bearings. Formation of water construction features. Troughing of ballasted deck. 5. 6. Sleeper seats . Therefore. 3. 5. which are more prone to corrosion than the other areas. 8. Where steel comes in contact with wood. and in plate girders behind bent stiffeners. particularly with concrete deck composite girders. Water pockets due to construction features . These are as follows: 1. Top lateral bracings and portal bracings of through spans. Parts of the bridge steel work exposed to sea breeze and salt water spray. 2. 103 . Places where dust can accumulate. pockets on account of 3. 4. Locations where there is a direct impact of water repeatedly.Top flanges of plate girders and underslung girders or top flanges of rail bearers (stringers) in through spans. Interface between steel and concrete in composite girder and ROB girder. Steel affected by fumes of diesel loco like web members of truss of through girder. The presence of moisture near drainage system. Such locations are: 1.

It is needless to say that bridge steel girder’s economical service life is mainly dictated by proper inspection and maintenance painting. iv) Paint in good condition.5 Fatigue Cracks Fatigue is the tendency of metal to fail at lower stress level when subjected to cyclic loading than when subjected to static loading. 10. 104 . Hence only cover coat is repainted with patch painting in certain locations which will prove to be economical as surface preparation for only cover coat painting is easy rather than unnecessarily scaling down the good and compact base coat which will increase the cost of painting as well as wastage of paint. Therfore. iii) Only patch painting. 4. Therefore.9.3. the inspecting officials should clearly indicate the following during inspection: i) Major portion of steel work requires only cover coat painting and at some locations patch painting. This will help in planning for painting. Fatigue failures are more common where stress concentration due to sharp corners and abrupt change of cross section exist. first paint film to scale is cover coat. Railway bridge girder painting consists of minimum (a) primer coat (b) cover coat. hence no painting is required. seating of wooden floor in FOBs as well as staircase steps.Base of columns. preparation of tender schedule and providing funds for maintenance painting. Underside of road over bridges and web plates near road deck level of ROB semi through girder. ii) Steel girder requires complete painting.

ii) Sharp edges at cut notch in stringer flanges at connections with cross girders. v) Corrosion pits at any location in tension member. iv) Roots of channel and angles on account of rolling defects. Following are critical locations of cracking. It is very easy to detect cracks during scraping for full painting of girder. iii) Top flange plates or flange angles of plate girders or rail bearers especially below the sleepers. Fatigue failure in the form of cracking of steel section is a major cause in Railway track bridges on account of repeated stresses. Following are the details of drawings and spans used as track bridges: 105 . 4. a hole should be drilled at the end of the crack in plate and cover material is provided with rivets. i) Ends of diagonal members near middle of the span due to reversal of stresses. The usual inspection for the detection of fatigue cracking are done with magnifying glass or tapping rivet testing hammer to detect by metallic sound.4.4 4.Fatigue is becoming important because of growing volume of traffic at greater speeds and higher axle loads. Joints where heavy shear is transmitted.1 INSPECTION OF WELDED GIRDERS History of welded girders On Indian Railways welded track bridge girders are manufactured since 1980. To arrest the crack propagation.

2m MBG-1987 18.2 18.15 ’’ 24.3 ’’ 20. bearings. Composite girder top flange plate and shear connectors (in addition to above) 106 .15 12. (a) Plate Girders: 1 12. RDSO-B-1528 Remarks 2 18.4m MBG-1987 RDSO-B-1555 Rivetted bracings and intermediate stiffeners 4. Span No.M.S.0 ’’ 9.2 m MBG . Loading RDSO-BA-16001 (b) Composite Girders: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 12.3m MBG-1987 RDSO-B~1529 Drawing with welded intermediate stiffener & with rivetted intermediate stiffener 3 24.4 ’’ 9.4 ’’ ‘‘ ‘‘ ’’ RDSO-B-1569/R ’’ 1534/R ’’ 1581/R ’’ 1623 ’’ 1730 ’’ ‘‘ ‘‘ ’’ 1701 1731 1738 1730 With channel shear connectors.3 24. With stud shear connector Basically above welded girders are having following welded joints: 1) 2) Butt Welds Fillet Welds Flange plate joints and web plate joints (if required) Web to flange connections and all stiffener connections to web plate in I-section of girders.. 24.1987 RDSO Drawing No.4m H.

(2) A detailed inspection of every welded girder bridge should be done by SE/JE Bridges after one year of its laying in the track and permitting traffic on the bridge. Hence level of inspection. 4. (3) In case of important or special type of welded girder bridges. (1) SE/JE Bridges shall inspect all welded girder bridges irrespective of length of span once in 3 years. but in dynamic structure welded joint is prone to fatigue-failure due to repeated 107 . no camber is provided in welded plate girders.4. suitable schedule of inspection should be laid down by CBEs of Zonal Railways. items of inspection are the same as those of rivetted girder. Footover bridge welded truss is fabricated as cambered girder (unprestressed) All welds carried out in workshop are by submerged arc welding (SAW) which is a fully automatic process and produces sound weld. Plate girders are provided with centralised articulated bearings and composite girders are provided with Bronze bearings.3 Equipment for Inspection Welded joints are strong enough like parent metal in static structure like FOB girder. Only at some locations where SAW is not feasible welding is done by manual metal arc welding (MMAW) or CO2 welding.2 Frequency of inspection All welded plate girders and composite girders are inspected as per provision in Chaper XI of IRBM. 4. Following are the additional manual provisions regarding welded girder inspection.Since all welded plate girder spans are less than 35m.4. All railway workshops have trained staff and all fabricated girders are inspected by RDSO before despatch from workshop to ensure quality control and economical service life.