Experimental and Numerical Investigations of Flexural Behaviour of Composite Bearers in Railway Switches and Crossings

  • Sakdirat KaewunruenEmail author
  • Pasakorn Sengsri
  • Andre Luis Oliveira de Melo
Conference paper
Part of the Sustainable Civil Infrastructures book series (SUCI)


Composite bearers, which are the long crosstie beams, are safety-critical components in railway switches and crossings. Recent adoption of composites to replace aging timber bearers has raised the concern about their engineering performance and behaviour. Since the design and test standards for composite bearers are not existed, most performance evaluations are based on the flexural tests in accordance with the test standards for railway concrete sleepers. In this study, both numerical and experimental studies into the flexural behaviours of composite bearers have been conducted to improve the understanding into the resilience and robustness of the components under service load condition. The full-scale composite bearers are supplied by an industry partner. The full-scale tests have been conducted in structures laboratory at the University of Birmingham. 3D finite element modelling of the bearers has been developed using Strand7. The comparison between numerical and experimental results yields an excellent agreement with less than 3% discrepancy. The results exhibit that the composite bearers behave in the elastic region under service load condition. This implies that they can recover fully under the load, enhancing engineering resilience of the turnout systems.



The authors would like to acknowledge to the European Commission for the financial sponsorship of the H2020-MSCA-RISE Project No. 691135 “RISEN: Rail Infrastructure Systems Engineering Network,” which enables a global research network that tackles the grand challenge in railway infrastructure resilience and advanced sensing in extreme environments ( [42]. In addition, this project is partially supported by the European Commission’s Shift2Rail, H2020-S2R Project No. 730849 “S-Code: Switch and Crossing Optimal Design and Evaluation”.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sakdirat Kaewunruen
    • 1
    Email author
  • Pasakorn Sengsri
    • 1
  • Andre Luis Oliveira de Melo
    • 1
  1. 1.School of EngineeringThe University of BirminghamBirminghamUK

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