Long-Term Performance Assessment of a Geosynthetic-Reinforced Railway Substructure

Ahmet F. Esen, Peter Keith Woodward, Omar Laghrouche, David P. Connolly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
19 Downloads (Pure)


Significant savings in carbon emissions, cost, and time could be achieved via the reduction in maintenance frequency, capital costs of track construction, and land used. Geosynthetic-reinforced soils offer such sustainable solutions. The experimental work presented in this paper investigates the long-term performance of a Geosynthetic-Reinforced Soil Retaining Wall (GRS-RW) system as an alternative to the conventional railway embankment. Full-scale testing was carried out on three sleeper sections of ballasted and slab tracks by simulating train loads cyclically, phased to 360 km/h. The tracks were supported by either a low-level fully confined conventional embankment or a GRS-RW substructure. The substructures were formed of a 1.2 m deep subgrade and frost protection layer, in accordance with high-speed railway design standards. The overall aim was to assess the performance of the tracks, in terms of transient displacements and total settlements. It was observed that once the GRS-RW system reached its active state, it deformed in a very similar way to a conventional embankment despite the fact that the GRS-RW system is less confined than the conventional embankment. The results indicate that the cumulative settlement of the slab track, which is due to the plastic deformation of the soil, is significantly less than that of the ballasted track, which is primarily caused by the movement of the ballast particles.
Original languageEnglish
Article number9364
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jun 2023


  • ballasted track
  • full-scale testing
  • geosynthetic-reinforced soil
  • railway track settlement
  • slab track

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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