NORWEST HOLST Soil Engineering had to contend with extreme access difficulties during a £200,000 investigation of one of the most exposed sections of the Dublin to Wexford railway line in the Republic of Ireland.
Between Bray Head and Greystones the line runs along the coast with tunnelled sections and high, near-vertical retaining walls, which in places rise directly from the beach and are cut off at high tide.
Working for client Iarnrod Eireann (Irish Rail) and supervised by consultant Cowi, Norwest Holst carried out physical investigations using sectional cable tool boring plant and purpose-built lightweight coring equipment. It also undertook detailed engineering inspections of the retaining structures along the route.
The only access to most of the site along the railway is by foot and down the steep slopes using rope-assisted methods. Plant and equipment were brought to site using a road-rail crane at night and then manhandled into position during the day. Fuel, water consumables and samples were also moved on and off site from the road-rail crane every night.