Heavy haul sleeper design: A rational cost-saving method

Murray, Martin Howard (2015) Heavy haul sleeper design: A rational cost-saving method. In Cathcart, Stephen & Kalay, Semih (Eds.) Proceedings of the 11th International Heavy Haul Association Conference, International Heavy Haul Association (IHHA) Inc, Perth, W.A, pp. 1160-1169.


Heavy haul railway lines are important and expensive items of infrastructure operating in an environment which is increasingly focussed on risk-based management and constrained profit margins. It is vital that costs are minimised but also that infrastructure satisfies failure criteria and standards of reliability which account for the random nature of wheel-rail forces and of the properties of the materials in the track. In Australia and the USA, concrete railway sleepers/ties are still designed using methods which the rest of the civil engineering world discarded decades ago in favour of the more rational, more economical and probabilistically based, limit states design (LSD) concept. This paper describes a LSD method for concrete sleepers which is based on (a) billions of measurements over many years of the real, random wheel-rail forces on heavy haul lines, and (b) the true capacity of sleepers. The essential principles on which the new method is based are similar to current, widely used LSD-based standards for concrete structures. The paper proposes and describes four limit states which a sleeper must satisfy, namely: strength; operations; serviceability; and fatigue. The method has been applied commercially to two new major heavy haul lines in Australia, where it has saved clients millions of dollars in capital expenditure.

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ID Code: 91124
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: railway, sleepers, design, limit state, fatigue, strength, serviceability, operational
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2015 [Please consult the author]
Deposited On: 10 Dec 2015 02:47
Last Modified: 22 Jun 2017 14:48

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