This paper is the second in a two-part series describing research sponsored by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) to study the structural integrity of joint bars. In Part I, observations from field surveys of joint bar inspections conducted on revenue service track were presented [1]. In this paper, finite element analyses are described to examine the structural performance of rail joints under various loading and tie-ballast support conditions. The primary purpose of these analyses is to help interpret and understand the observations from the field surveys.

Moreover, the finite element analyses described in this paper are applied to conduct comparative studies and to assess the relative effect of various factors on the structural response of jointed rail to applied loads. Such factors include: discrete tie support (i.e. supported joint versus suspended joint with varying spans between effective ties), bolt pattern (four versus six bolts), initial bolt tension, and easement. In addition, results are shown for 90 lb rail joined with long-toe angle bars compared to 136 lb rail joined with standard short-toe joint bars.

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