AS 5100 Bridge Design Standard: focus on safety for railway bridges

The new Australian bridge design standard AS5100 contains provisions to maximise safety at bridges and structures over and under railway lines. The intent of AS5100 is to avoid catastrophic failures of bridges due to loading or collision impact by derailed trains or road vehicles and to provide a forgiving environment to minimise the probability of injury to the occupants of derailed trains. The provisions are a legacy of the Granville (Australia) and the Eschede (Germany) bridge disasters and are designed to protect both the bridge and the train occupants in the event of a train derailment. These are general principles and it is the responsibility of bridge designers to apply them in any situation where there is a risk of bridge collapse due to a de-railed train. The application of the provisions to some recent projects have highlighted that there is disagreement among designers and Rail Authorities in regards to the intent of the standard and interpretation of the provisions. The application of some of the prescriptive requirements is very difficult if not impossible in some situations and may be too costly in low risk situations. A risk analysis at the concept stage may be the only way to determine the appropriate course of action. This paper discusses the intent of the standard, the application of the provisions in a case study and proposes some guidelines to assist designers and Rail Authorities in making decisions about the application of the provisions. A methodology using a risk analysis approach is required to clearly, objectively and consistently assess optional bridging solutions taking safety aspects into account. A model to assess the risk profile of a project by quantifying the probability of derailment and by establishing the likely consequences has been developed by PB to the concept stage. This will be discussed with the Rail Authorities for further development. (a) For the covering entry of this conference, please see IRRD abstract no. E218160.


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  • Accession Number: 01144022
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: TRL
  • Files: ITRD, ATRI
  • Created Date: Nov 16 2009 12:21PM