Evaluating tie support at railway bridge transitions

Stephen T. Wilk, Timothy D. Stark, Jerry G. Rose

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper compares the behavior of three different railway bridge transition zones to illustrate how poor tie support affects track performance. The three bridge transitions consist of a high-speed passenger line, a freight line, and a spur track. All bridge transitions were instrumented with accelerometers that allow tie support and track performance to be non-invasively evaluated by analyzing the measured acceleration magnitudes and vibration frequencies in the frequency domain. The results show tracks with good tie support display tie accelerations below 5 g and small vertical displacements during train loading whereas approaches with poor tie support display accelerations generally greater than 5 g. These results are used to evaluate other transition zones and identify problematic track locations that require repair procedures to retain acceptable track geometry.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1336-1350
Number of pages15
JournalProceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part F: Journal of Rail and Rapid Transit
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 2015


  • Tie-ballast gap
  • accelerometers
  • ballast
  • cross-tie
  • poor support
  • railroad track-bed
  • tie vibration
  • transition zones
  • unsupported

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanical Engineering


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