Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

New team offers one-stop rail service

WEEKS GEOTECHNICS has teamed up with consultant Owen Williams Railways to provide a new service for assessing, remediating and maintaining geotechnical structures on railways.

Owen Williams Railways had already developed an assessment management contract with Railtrack in the South-east, focused on a cost-efficient long-term structures maintenance programme.

Weeks was brought on board to apply the same maintenance approach for geotechnical structures, including cuttings and embankments.

These combined capabilities offer a genuine 'one-stop-shop'approach, says Weeks'director Jeff James, providing 'best value and low longterm maintenance of the structures'. A rapid response service is provided, which includes a 24-hour emergency hotline.

The process was tested at three sites with a history of cutting instability. In each, historical deterioration of crest drainage had caused slope failure with near surface translations and scour.

Weeks confirmed the failure mechanisms and came up with a design solution for construction. The firm carried out desk studies, walkover surveys and intrusive investigation where needed before developing the design.

James says the key challenge was 'to provide a low-cost, high-value fix that reduced geotechnical and operational risks to acceptable levels, but achieved a buildable solution in often difficult environments'.

The common problem at each site was inadequate crest drainage to the cuttings, making the sites vulnerable to heavy rainfall. Typically, this has caused near surface translation or scour of the cutting slope with debris and flooding at track level.

Proposed designs were typical 'rail solutions', to cope with limited access and to minimise the impact on rail traffic. These included renovation or renewal of crest drainage discharging to independent surface water systems, gabion baskets and mattresses to stabilise near surface scour paths, installation of formal surface water overflow systems connected into trackside drainage and renovation of trackside drains.

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Please note comments made online may also be published in the print edition of New Civil Engineer. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.