Importance Of Railway Cutting Protection From The Elements

Railway cuttings play a crucial role in Australia’s transportation infrastructure, allowing trains to traverse the diverse terrain of the country. However, these cuttings can be vulnerable to erosion, which can lead to structural instability and pose risks to the safe operation of trains. 

In this article, we’ll discuss the importance of protecting railway cuttings from erosion and maintaining their structural integrity.

What Are Railway Cuttings?

Railway cuttings are excavations made on the earth to create a level path for rail tracks through hilly or uneven terrain. They are designed to reduce the gradient of the track, making it easier for trains to travel uphill or downhill. This process often involves removing large amounts of soil, rock, and other materials, leaving a steep and exposed slope on either side of the track.

Use Of Railway Cuttings In Australian Industries

Australia has a vast network of railways, many of which pass through remote areas with challenging terrain. Industries such as mining, agriculture, and freight rely heavily on these railways to transport goods and resources across the country. The growth of these industries has led to the construction of railway cuttings in areas with less-than-stable soils, increasing the risk of erosion and subsequent damage to the infrastructure.

In recent years, the Australian government and private sector have invested heavily in expanding and upgrading the rail network to meet growing demand. As a result, protecting railway cuttings from erosion has become a critical priority for maintaining the safety and efficiency of the country’s rail system.

Structural Vulnerability In A Railway Cutting

The basic structure of a railway cutting consists of a level track bed flanked by steep, exposed slopes. These slopes are particularly vulnerable to erosion due to their angle and the nature of the materials used in their construction. Rainwater runoff, wind, and other natural forces can cause soil and rock to loosen and move, undermining the stability of the cutting and leading to potential hazards.

Some states in Australia, such as New South Wales and Queensland, are more prone to erosion due to their climate and geological conditions. In these areas, the need for effective railway cutting protection is even more critical to ensure the safety and reliability of rail services.

The Need To Protect Railway Cuttings From Disrepair

Unprotected and unmaintained railway cuttings can lead to a range of problems that can impact the safety and efficiency of rail operations. These issues include:

Substantial Erosion

Erosion can cause significant damage to railway cuttings, leading to the loss of soil and rock from the slopes. This can result in track instability, increased maintenance costs, and the potential for landslides or collapses that could endanger rail workers and passengers.

May Impede Railway Operations

Erosion and sedimentation on railway cuttings can also impede railway operations by causing flooding and sediment buildup on tracks. This can lead to delays, disruptions, and even derailments if not addressed promptly. Furthermore, the cost of repairing and maintaining eroded railway cuttings can be substantial, placing additional financial strain on railway operators and infrastructure managers.

Erizon’s Railway Cutting Protection Solutions

Erizon is a leading provider of advanced solutions designed to protect railway cuttings from the harmful effects of erosion and sedimentation. With our commitment to innovation and sustainability, we offer a range of products and services that promote the long-term stability and safety of Australia’s rail infrastructure.

Depending on our initial analysis and the scope of your railway-cutting project, our range of solutions includes:

Erosion Control

Our erosion control solutions are tailor-made to endure the harshest Australian climates. Capable of stabilising practically any surface, these solutions bond to the substrate within hours, providing instantaneous erosion control.

We employ EcoArmour that binds effortlessly to various substrates, including soil, clay, rock, shale, weathered concrete, sand, and sandy loam, making it simple to apply even to hard-to-manage areas.

Our product also meets all relevant transport and main roads specifications, including:

• MRSW52 – Erosion and sediment control

• 20601P – Geobinders

• 20605P – Erosion control blanket

Dust Suppression

Erizon’s dust suppression technologies not only save water but minimise site activity too, lowering project management costs and reducing energy expenditure. In addition, our solutions deliver optimal control over dust.

Our SuppressX is the best solution for all types of substrates such as tailings, ash dams, and stockpiles. The crust is composed of unique microscopic cross-linked superabsorbent polymers that bind fine particles together and provide instant dust suppression. With this state-of-the-art technology, your dust problem will be a thing of the past.

Revegetation

Depending on the project, we employ hydroseeding, hydromulching, or soil stabilisation solutions. Our Revegetation range of products reduces erosion and provides a successful revegetation strategy with rapid results. We offer customised solutions based on specific project requirements, so you can be sure to get the best solution for your needs.

Our Solutions In Action

We have been innovating our solutions and methods to make sure that any project we handle will be compliant with Australian environmental standards and able to withstand extreme weather for over 25 years. One of the most successful erosion control projects we handled included: 

Merbein Railway Cutting Erosion Control

In early 2017, V/Line faced drainage challenges within the Merbein railway cutting, located 617.60 kilometres along the Dunolly to Yelta Freight corridor.

In August 2017, an investigation led by GHD, an engineering firm, was conducted to address the prevalent issues at the site. Results revealed a grave concern whereby the slopes had eroded due to wind and water damage. This led to the formation of such large cavities that were then filled up with silt, sand, and clay particles, significantly contributing to the blockage of crest drains.

Erizon’s environmental consultants examined the site location and used a 3D drone survey to determine land topography, measuring the area for optimal product coverage. Based on this analysis, Erizon offered a proposal aligned with V/Line’s commitment to meeting the relevant Australian Road and Maritime Services (RMS) requirements for embankment stabilisation.

V/Line achieved an ideal resolution by opting for EcoArmour, which was applied at seven tonnes per hectare, backed with a ten-year guarantee.

Protect Railway Cutting Projects From The Effects Of Erosion

Safeguarding railway-cutting projects from the detrimental effects of erosion is crucial for maintaining the safety, reliability, and lifespan of our transportation infrastructure. By employing efficient erosion control strategies, including appropriate drainage systems, vegetation establishment, and retaining structures, we can effectively reduce the risks associated with soil erosion and landslides. 

For over 25 years, our team’s work has benefited thousands of acres of Australian land. By continually innovating our solutions and methods, our projects remain compliant with Australian environmental standards and resilient in the face of extreme weather. 

Ready to get started on protecting your railway cutting project? Explore how Erizon can assist railway industries.

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Please note we do not service Residential Projects.