Earthworks risk assessment on a heritage railway

Martin Crapper, Michael Fell, Imad Gammoh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
29 Downloads (Pure)


The UK is home to a substantial number of heritage and tourist railways, which make a significant contribution to their local economies. They are mostly constructed on the routes of closed lines, and include large numbers of earthworks of uncertain construction and unknown strength. Recently, there have been earthwork collapses, most notably on the Gloucester and Warwickshire Railway during 2010 and 2011. The Office of Rail Regulation has also noted a number of safety incidents on heritage railways, all attributable to management failures. This paper describes an analysis of the Victorian earthworks on the Bo'ness and Kinneil Railway, a 8 km-long heritage railway in central Scotland. The analysis and risk prioritisation method used by Network Rail was found to be unsuitable for direct application to heritage railways, owing to the different operating context. A new system was therefore developed, removing some risk factors from the Network Rail approach, adding others, and modifying further ones. The new system was successfully applied, and the Bo'ness and Kinneil Railway earthworks were found to be generally stable and safe.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)344-356
JournalProceedings of the ICE - Geotechnical Engineering
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2014


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