Design and modelling of pre-cast steel-concrete composites for resilient railway track slabs

  • Mirza, Olivia (School of Computing, Engineering & Mathematics, University of Western Sydney) ;
  • Kaewunruen, Sakdirat (Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education, School of Engineering, The University of Birmingham) ;
  • Kwok, Kenny (School of Computing, Engineering & Mathematics, University of Western Sydney) ;
  • Griffin, Dane W.P. (Rondo Consulting Pty Ltd.)
  • Received : 2015.10.11
  • Accepted : 2016.10.18
  • Published : 2016.10.30


Australian railway networks possess a large amount of aging timber components and need to replace them in excess of 280 thousands $m^3$ per year. The relatively high turnover of timber sleepers (crossties in a plain track), bearers (skeleton ties in a turnout), and transoms (bridge cross beams) is responsible for producing greenhouse gas emissions 6 times greater than an equivalent reinforced concrete counterparts. This paper presents an innovative solution for the replacement of aging timber transoms installed on existing railway bridges along with the incorporation of a continuous walkway platform, which is proven to provide environmental, safety and financial benefits. Recent developments for alternative composite materials to replace timber components in railway infrastructure construction and maintenance demonstrate some compatibility issues with track stiffness as well as structural and geometrical track systems. Structural concrete are generally used for new railway bridges where the comparatively thicker and heavier fixed slab track systems can be accommodated. This study firstly demonstrates a novel and resilient alterative by incorporating steel-concrete composite slab theory and combines the capabilities of being precast and modulated, in order to reduce the depth, weight and required installation time relative to conventional concrete direct-fixation track slab systems. Clear benefits of the new steel-concrete composites are the maintainability and constructability, especially for existing railway bridges (or brown fields). Critical considerations in the design and finite element modelling for performance benchmarking of composite structures and their failure modes are highlighted in this paper, altogether with risks, compatibilities and compliances.


Grant : RISEN: Rail Infrastructure Systems Engineering Network

Supported by : Railway Technical Research Institute, European Commission


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