Influence of railway loading on the performance of soil-filled masonry arch bridges

Levingshan Augusthus-Nelson, Gareth Swift, Colin C. Smith, Matthew Gilbert, Clive Melbourne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

124 Downloads (Pure)


Masonry arch bridges are found in large numbers on the rail networks of Europe and other parts of the world. However, the mode of response of masonry arch structures subjected to railway loading is little understood. To address this, an experimental study involving large-scale physical models of backfilled masonry arch bridges subjected to railway loading conditions has recently been conducted. This has explored the influence of the rail track bed system on bridge behaviour and on load carrying capacity. Tests indicate that the track bed system fundamentally alters the mode of response of the bridge system, and significantly increases load carrying capacity. Using the same test facility, load tests have also been used to explore and characterise the behaviour and performance of damaged arch bridges, with the test results obtained suggesting that although there is likely to be a reduction in overall capacity, even a significantly damaged arch bridge can still perform adequately under loading. This has important implications for bridge owners and assessment engineers.
Original languageEnglish
JournalProceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers - Bridge Engineering
Early online date18 Jun 2018
Publication statusEarly online - 18 Jun 2018


  • masonry structure
  • Physical modelling
  • Numerical modelling
  • Railway transport
  • RCUK
  • EP/I014357/1
  • EP/I014489/1


Dive into the research topics of 'Influence of railway loading on the performance of soil-filled masonry arch bridges'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this