Alternative Bridge Ties for Open Deck Steel Bridges

Railroads are looking for longer lasting ties for their bridge decks as railroad traffic increases. Railroad bridge engineers have noted that increasing expenses and decreasing service life of traditional solid timber bridge decks that are currently in revenue service has prompted interest in alternatives that might provide lower-life cycle costs. Because of this, the Transportation Technology Center, Inc. (TTCI) has begun the investigation of alternatives to solid sawn timber ties for open deck bridges. This article discusses how ties for open deck bridge applications serve as structural members in addition to performing the functions of a conventional track tie in many cases. These ties are often referred to as span ties. For ties to adequately perform as structural members on open deck bridges, additional bending strength, shear strength and limited deflection are required. Until recently, the lack of design guidelines has hindered the development of alternative ties for open deck bridge applications. The article describes how TTCI, under the direction of bridge engineers from Class I railroads, has been working in three areas to encourage the development of improved bridge ties: (1) in-track testing of ties at the Facility for Accelerated Service Testing (FAST) and in revenue service; (2) laboratory testing of ties to determine suitability; and (3) development of recommended practice for bridge ties in conjunction with committees of the American Railway Engineering and Maintenance of Way Association (AREMA).

  • Availability:
  • Authors:
    • Otter, Duane
    • Joy, Richard
  • Publication Date: 2013-5


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Print
  • Features: Figures; Photos; References;
  • Pagination: pp 12-15
  • Serial:

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01484559
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jun 20 2013 4:38PM