Bridge analysis, design + assessment

Case Study

Dynamic Analysis of Newark Dyke Rail Bridge

  • bowstring steel arch bridge for high-speed trains
  • use of interactive modal dynamics techniques
  • detailed dynamic analysis

Newark Dyke Bridge

Newark Dyke bridge is a 77m long, 11.25m wide, steel bowstring arch railway bridge designed for the next generation of 225 kph trains and, as such, is the first of its kind in Britain. It carries the two tracks of the East Coast main line across the River Trent at Newark in Nottinghamshire, and replaces two existing life-expired structures. LUSAS Bridge analysis software was used by Cass Hayward & Partners to carry out detailed dynamic analysis for their client Railtrack London North Eastern. The Interactive Modal Dynamics (IMD) techniques used greatly reduced the time required to assess the dynamic response of the structure for numerous combinations of different moving train loads and speeds.


The client's specification called for dynamic analysis under loading from 12 different basic train types, with variations in carriage makeup within some of the train types. 

Three high-speed trains were identified by Cass Hayward & Partners as likely to cause the most critical dynamic effects. These comprised: 

  • Eurocode ENV 1991-3 Type 3, 
  • Class 373 Eurostar Capital Sets
  • ECML GNER GEC Alsthom/FIAT 160mph tilting train (Pendolino)

The main effects to be determined were the dynamic amplification of forces and moments, and the vertical acceleration at the deck which must not exceed 0.35g in order to prevent ballast instability under the track during the passage of trains. In addition, sensitivity of the analysis to a choice of parameters such as structural damping, stiffness and mass had to be investigated. In order to achieve this, a rapid analysis procedure was required.


The bridge was idealised in LUSAS as a stiffened shell deck structure with beam and shell elements representing the deck. Beam elements modelled the bowstring trusses. A single beam element was used for each bowstring truss member so that local bending modes in the truss would not be identified in the analysis.

The dynamic assessment started with a conventional eigenvalue analysis to obtain the response frequencies, eigenvectors, and participation factors for the bridge structure. Modal force histories were created for a single unit load axle passing over the bridge. For each train, loading profiles were generated from the individual axle weights and then applied to create a composite modal force history for the passage of a complete train. Using the LUSAS IMD facility a range of train speeds from 150 to 288 kph in 3.6 kph (1m/s) intervals were analysed to derive the peak dynamic response effect.


Mode shapes 3, 7 and 8

LUSAS model

Typical eigenmodes


For the Newark Dyke bridge, the different train speeds were defined by maintaining a consistent train motion across that bridge and simply adjusting the time interval for the modal calculations. Such moving load calculations can process a range of train speeds on each execution of the IMD facility. Results are readily obtained for either a single train speed to give full time history output or for a range of train speeds to give peak response output only. Results were presented as graphs showing peak response against train speed at selected points on the structure, and as time histories for specific train speeds. Comparison of the results with the design criteria enabled Cass Hayward to complete their dynamic assessment of the structure.

Representative graphs obtained are shown below.

newark_pawd.gif (9896 bytes)

newark_adth.gif (17656 bytes)

LUSAS Interactive Modal Dynamics facility

The LUSAS IMD facility provides a way of rigorously analysing linear dynamic response effects on a bridge or structure for a large number of possible train crossing speeds or loading events, without the long analysis solution times associated with traditional analysis methods. Forces, moments, displacements, response time histories, and peak response summaries, both for the whole structure and at selected nodes or elements can be obtained. Selected results can then be graphed, or standard contour, vector, or peak value feature plots can be produced.

The assumption of linear structural behaviour enables the IMD facility to make use of summation ("linear superposition") techniques. As a direct result of this, IMD is of considerable benefit when compared with traditional direct integration time-stepping procedures - in many cases results are obtained in seconds as opposed to several hours. The IMD facility therefore offers large savings in design and analysis time and greatly reduces the computational resources required for lightly damped, linear transient dynamic analysis of this nature.

See Software Option - IMDplus Analysis for more information.


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Other LUSAS Bridge case studies:

Kingston Bridge widening project

Novi Sad Friendship Bridge


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