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Railway Children revisited


A PAIR OF red bloomers averted a geotechnical disaster in the 1970 film The Railway Children, when they were waved to stop a train hitting a landslide.

A slightly more conventional solution to a geotechnical problem was recently used on the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway, the setting for the film, when gabions were used to form a new stretch of river bank for expansion of Oxenhope Station.

A popular tourist attraction, the steam railway in rural Yorkshire was recently awarded a Heritage Lottery Fund grant to build new sheds and a siding at the station.

However, the proposed development was restricted by a small stream, the Leeming Beck, that flows alongside the tracks.

It was decided to divert the beck to create extra space for the new siding.

Consultant Rawcliffe Associates called in geosynthetics firm Maccaferri to design and supply a gabion wall for the new river bank.

Gabion and soil reinforcement contractor PC Construction installed the wall for main contractor Mowlem Civil Engineering. To ensure they blend in with the railway buildings, the 2m long, 1m square gabions were finished with local stone.

Planting pipes were inserted in the top of the wall to speed up the natural greening process.

It was essential that the environment was restored because the stretch of water is home to otters, which were occasionally seen during construction.

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