Stress distribution in reinforced railway structures

A. F. Esen, P. K. Woodward, O. Laghrouche, D. P. Connolly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
5 Downloads (Pure)


This paper evaluates the performance of a geosynthetic reinforced soil retaining wall (GRS-RW) system as an alternative to a conventional railway embankment. The aim is to investigate the behaviour of the GRS-RW system in terms of displacements and stress levels at different locations in the track and substructure. Full-scale laboratory experimental testing is carried out on a GRS-RW structure, supporting sections of ballasted and slab track, under moving loads at 360 km/h. The tracks are supported by a low-level fully confined conventional embankment and a GRS-RW system, which are constructed to high-speed standards. Displacement transducers and earth pressure cells are placed at different locations to record the displacements of the track and the stress levels in the substructure. The test results show that the pressure levels on the GRS-RW wall are negligibly small for the particular test setup, proving the GRS structure under the action of compaction reached its active state. This means that the reinforced soil was self-supporting under its self-weight and train loads, meaning there was minimal pressure on the walls. Therefore, GRS-RW systems are better alternatives to traditional earth embankments due to enhanced soil stabilisation and less land take.
Original languageEnglish
Article number100699
JournalTransportation Geotechnics
Early online date27 Nov 2021
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022


  • Conventional embankment
  • Full-scale railway track testing
  • Geosynthetic Reinforced Soil
  • High-speed rail slab track
  • High-speed railway earthworks
  • Railroad ballasted track

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Transportation
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology


Dive into the research topics of 'Stress distribution in reinforced railway structures'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this