Rehabilitation of Müngsten Viaduct, Germany

Structures Analyzed with Dlubal Software

  • Customer project

Customer Project

The Müngsten Viaduct, completed in 1897, ranks among the most important buildings in steel bridge construction in the world today. With a height of 351 ft over the Wupper River, it is Germany's highest railway bridge. The design derives from the Garabit Viaduct, completed in 1884, which is located near Saint-Flour in southern France and was designed by Gustave Eiffel.

DB Netz AG, Produktionsdurchführung Düsseldorf, Germany
Project Management DB Engineering & Consulting GmbH, Cologne, Germany
General Planning IGS Ingenieure GmbH & Co. KG
Structural Reanalysis IWS Beratende Bauingenieure
Check of Structural Analysis PSP - Professor Sedlacek und Partner, Dortmund, Germany


The bridge connects the two cities Solingen and Remscheid. Approximately 120 years of rail traffic and climatic conditions have led to various damages to the structure. Furthermore, deficits in component design resulted from modified requirements of currently valid standards. Therefore, a rehabilitation of the structure for further usage of at least 30 years was necessary.

The structural reanalysis of the bridge has been performed by IWS Ingenieure. The check of the bridge analysis has been carried out by PSP - Professor Sedlacek and Partner by using RSTAB.


The bridge has a total length of 1525 ft. It consists of an arc construction with a span of 577 ft and trestle bridges on both sides with individual lengths of 98 and 147 ft which are supported on roller bearings on truss pillars.

There is a lane on top designed as open girder grillage and on that there is a two‑tier railway track superstructure.


The calculation for the operation and for the check has been performed on the 3D framework model. The modeling has been carried out in consideration of the detected damages. For example, special attention has been paid to the point of hinge to display limited moving roller bearings close to reality.

In contrast to the original structural analysis, 13 construction load cases have been considered for the first time as well. For example position manipulation of the truss arc. At that time, it was set up in the classic cantilever construction method with a cantilever length of up to 98 ft. The construction stages have a significant influence on the stress condition for the load case self‑weight.

In addition to the usual linearly variable loads from temperature, wind, acceleration/braking and lateral impact, 3 traffic loads (load effect UIC71 etc.) have been applied. The recalculation has been verified and calibrated by, among other things, conducted test runs under load conditions.

Results and Rehabilitation

With the recalculation it was possible to calculate the damages on the structure. In single structural components such as longitudinal and secondary beams of the road, wind bracings and anchorages, the design ratios resulted in partly more than 200 %. This led to the decision that the bridge must be thoroughly reconstructed.

The most serious intervention has been the replacement of the bridge lane which required a complete closure of the railway line. Moreover, it was necessary to reduce the load level. The rehabilitation of the trestle bridges, pillars, foundation elements as well as of the arc can take place during reduced railway operation.

With the decision to rehabilitate the Müngsten Viaduct despite high financial investments, an outstanding steel bridge structure is preserved.

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  • Updated 12/17/2020

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