Railway cuttings and embankments: Experimental and numerical studies of ground vibration

Georges Kouroussis*, David P. Connolly, Bryan Olivier, Omar Laghrouche, Pedro Alves Costa

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Citations (SciVal)


Railway track support conditions affect ground-borne vibration generation and propagation. Therefore this paper presents a combined experimental and numerical study into high speed rail vibrations for tracks on three types of support: a cutting, an embankment and an at grade section. Firstly, an experimental campaign is undertaken where vibrations and in-situ soil properties are measured at three Belgian rail sites. A finite element model is then developed to recreate the complex ground topology at each site. A validation is performed and it is found that although the at-grade and embankment cases show a correlation with the experimental results, the cutting case is more challenging to replicate. Despite this, each site is then analysed to determine the effect of earthworks profile on ground vibrations, with both the near and far fields being investigated. It is found that different earthwork profiles generate strongly differing ground-borne vibration characteristics, with the embankment profile generating lower vibration levels in comparison to the cutting and at-grade cases. Therefore it is concluded that it is important to consider earthwork profiles when undertaking vibration assessments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)110-122
Number of pages13
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Early online date17 Mar 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2016


  • Cutting-excavation
  • Earthworks
  • Environmental impact assessment
  • High speed rail
  • Railway ground vibrations
  • Track embankment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Pollution
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Environmental Engineering


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