Critical Speed and Resonance Criteria of Railway Bridge Response to Moving Trains

Lei Mao, Yong Lu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

The dynamic response of railway bridges to moving trains is complicated due to the involvement of the moving loads as well as the moving masses. Among various response characteristics, the bridge resonance is of particular interest in terms of the structural effect and safety of the bridge. As far as the global bridge response is concerned, it is generally understood that when one of the apparent trainload excitation frequencies coincides with the fundamental natural frequency of the bridge, resonance could occur. However, such a general criterion is of little practical use due to the fact that a typical trainload would involve numerous apparent frequencies (at equal intervals); consequently for a given bridge (natural frequency) there could be many train speeds that satisfy the above resonance condition. Therefore, it is necessary to establish the relative severity of the resonance associated with each resonance scenario. This paper presents the development of a new resonance severity indicator, called Z-factor, for the assessment of the resonance effect. It is found that the resonance severity is essentially governed by the ratio between the bridge and carriage lengths. When the carriage mass is significant, the same Z-factor will apply, however the underlying resonance speeds will change due to the altered natural frequency of the bridge-train system. Numerical results demonstrate that the proposed methods are effective for the determination of the resonance effects associated with the potential resonance speeds.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)131-141
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Bridge Engineering
Issue number2
Early online date5 Nov 2011
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2013

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Railway bridge
  • Moving mass
  • Critical speed
  • Resonance
  • Trainload
  • Resonance severity
  • Finite-element analysis


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