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Erosion control on railway slopes

Location of work/project:



Groenekan, the Netherlands


In Groenekan, The Netherlands, the multiline railway slope faced erosion and instability challenges due to poor vegetation and soil conditions. To address this, a geosynthetic erosion control system was implemented. With trains passing every five minutes, the project demanded precise planning and a strict six-week timeframe. The solution, covering approximately 11,000m², was selected for its efficiency and simplicity in installation, even with ongoing train operations.

In Groenekan, Utrecht, The Netherlands, a crucial railway infrastructure project was undertaken to combat erosion and micro-instability on the slopes of a heavily used multiline railway. Poor vegetation and inadequate soil conditions had led to significant surface erosion, necessitating an effective solution.

The Naue Secumat® erosion control system was selected for its efficiency, rapid installation capabilities, and proven effectiveness, crucial attributes considering the railway's high frequency of use, with trains passing every five minutes. This project demanded meticulous planning and strict adherence to a six-week completion timeline at two different sites. The limited workspace, with multiple railway lines at both the top and bottom of the embankment, and the necessity to conduct operations while the railway was active, posed additional challenges.

Covering approximately 11,000 square meters, the Secumat® system was deployed to stabilize the slopes. This system featured a geocomposite combining a soil retention artificial root structure with an integrated geogrid (Secumat® 401 20/20 Q1) and isosceles steel pin fixings (Secumat® PinU 23). This design was particularly suited for steep slopes due to its tensile strength. A detailed 3D installation drawing ensured precise panel placement and quantity management. The slopes were reprofiled using a 3D model to maintain design accuracy, with anchoring trenches at both the crest and toe.

Post-installation, the slopes were covered with fertile topsoil and seeded with a grass-herb mixture, promoting revegetation. The Secumat® mats, with their 3D mesh structure, provided durable erosion control, capable of withstanding various environmental stressors like drought and heavy rainfall.

Ecological considerations were a key aspect of this project. The integration of underground winter habitats for local grass snakes aimed to support regional biodiversity, ensuring that the embankment's protective function was harmonized with wildlife conservation.

This project marked the first application of the Naue erosion control system for railway embankments in the Netherlands. It demonstrated an innovative, sustainable approach to fortifying crucial infrastructure against climate-related challenges while simultaneously enhancing ecological biodiversity.

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