Distributed dynamic fibre-optic strain monitoring of the behaviour of a skewed masonry arch railway bridge

Sam Cocking*, Haris Alexakis, Matthew DeJong

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Skewed masonry arch railway bridges are common, yet their structural behaviour under typical working loads, along with gradual changes in behaviour due to degradation, can be difficult to determine. This paper aims to address this problem through detailed monitoring of a damaged, skewed masonry arch railway bridge in the UK, which was recently repaired. A comprehensive Structural Health Monitoring system was installed, including an array of fibre-optic Fibre Bragg Grating (FBG) sensors to provide distributed sensing data across a large portion of the bridge. This FBG monitoring data is used, in this paper, to investigate the typical dynamic structural response of the skewed bridge in detail, and to quantify the sensitivity of this response to a range of variables. It is observed that the dynamic bridge response is sensitive to the time of day, which is a proxy for passenger loading, to the train speed, and to temperature. It is also observed that the sensitivity of the response to these variables can be local, in that the response can differ throughout the bridge and be affected by existing local damage. Identifying these trends is important to distinguish additional damage from other effects. The results are also used to evaluate some typical assumptions regarding bridge behaviour, which may be of interest to asset engineers working with skewed masonry arch bridges.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)989-1012
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Civil Structural Health Monitoring
Issue number4
Early online date1 Jun 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2021

Bibliographical note

This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

Funding Information:
The monitoring project described in this paper has been funded by Network Rail, the asset owners of the bridge. This study also forms part of a PhD, which is funded by an EPSRC Doctoral Training Partnership (Grant Number EP/M506485/1). The monitoring installation was performed with assistance from the Cambridge Centre for Smart Infrastructure and Construction, which is supported by EPSRC, Innovate UK, and industry funding (including Grant Numbers EP/I019308/1, EP/K000314/1, EP/L010917/1, and EP/N021614/1).


  • Fibre Bragg Gratings
  • Fibre optics
  • Masonry arch bridge
  • Railway bridge
  • Skewed arch
  • Structural Health Monitoring


Dive into the research topics of 'Distributed dynamic fibre-optic strain monitoring of the behaviour of a skewed masonry arch railway bridge'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this