Vibration Monitoring of a Large Scale Heavy Haul Railway Viaduct
University of Cape Town, Department of Civil Engineering, 7701 Rondebosch, Cape Town, South Africa
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In South Africa, heavy haul railway transport was introduced in the mid-1970s for the Iron Ore and the Coal Export lines. In recent decades, the expansion of existing mines, new markets and the competition of iron ore- and coal-exporting countries have led owners and operators to progressively increase the capacity of the export lines. On the one hand, operational efficiencies have been improved; on the other hand, a significant increase of the rail traffic has been experienced. Thus, bridges along the export lines are now crossed by heavier and longer trains with more frequent train passages than in the past. Increasing train loading might lead to significant consequences on structures such as dynamic amplifications and reduction of service life due to fatigue. Hence dynamic assessment and monitoring of the structural condition of bridges under actual train loading are becoming more relevant to support decision making processes. The paper presents the investigations carried out on the Olifants River Viaduct, a critical structure along the Iron Ore Export Line, in order to implement a state-of-the-art vibration monitoring system.
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