This project will use structural health monitoring techniques to evaluate the current condition and anticipated remaining lifespan of railway bridges and tracks in Canada and India.


  • In this new project, researchers are making strong advances towards the developments o novel tailored damage detection methods


Researchers are Investigating the condition of the railway bridges using statistical data available from the industry collaborators.  Researchers are also developing Structural Health Monitoring (SHM) and damage detection methods for railway bridges using strain and acceleration data collected under operation using time series modeling and statistical analysis.  Modeling techniques using multiphysics for thermal-stress combined response of prestressed concrete materials have been developed.  Researchers are currently investigating the feasibility of using artificial neural networks for assessing the integrity of railway tracks using data from rolling deflection measurement systems.  An instrumentation program has been initiated on a newly built prestressed concrete girder using embedded fiber optic and electric resistance sensors.


Aging and deteriorating civil infrastructure systems are among the most significant challenges faced by our modern societies in Indian and Canada. Among these infrastructure systems, railroad infrastructure stands as one of the most critical links for a sustainable freight and passenger transportation network. In order to ensure a safe and sustainable railway network, the condition of the critical components of the railway network, such as bridges and tracks, should be continuously evaluated and assessed.

With more than 48,000 kilometres of track spanning different regions, Canada has one of the largest railway networks in the world. Every year, Canadian railways move more than 70% of the country’s surface goods and carry 70 million passengers. the federal railways in Canada include more than 4,600 bridges. Similarly, India has more than 65,000 kilometres of railway. In 2013, Indian railways carried 8.4 billion passengers and more than 1 billion tons of freight. Railway bridges are one of the major parts of the Indian railway network. There are more than 125,000 major bridges (average of two bridges per route kilometre) in the Indian railway system.

A significantly large number of the railway bridges in India and Canada have been constructed 50-100 (or more than 100) years ago and their design lives have been exceeded. These bridges are experiencing major material aging and figures problems, especially as axle lads have increased several fold during the past decades.

Further India’s Railroad Accident and Incident Reporting System indicates that between 28-33% of all train accidents between 2003 to 2013 occurred due to track related issues.

This research project aims to evaluate railway bridges and railway tracks using Structural Health Monitoring (SHM), to develop and fine-tune novel SHM technologies equipped with novel data analysis methods and signal processing algorithms for evaluating the current condition and estimating the raining lifespan of railways bridges, and to quantitatively investigate how the track structural integrity is correlated to the extreme and variable maximum rail vertical deflections along the track.

Project Team

Dr. Mustafa Gul, University of Alberta
Dr. Pradipta Banerji, IIT Roorkee
Dr. J.J. Roger Cheng, University of Alberta
Dr. Vivek Bindiganavile, University of Alberta
Dr. Sanjay Chikermane, IIT Roorkee


University of Alberta
IIT, Roorkee
Canadian National Railways

Current Number of Students: 4

Key Outcomes

Publications: 1
Presentations: 1