Chicken Curve Railway Embankment Failure

GIP were commissioned by the Gloucester and Warwickshire Steam Railway (GWSR), which is a privately owned heritage railway, to investigate a 225m, long 6m high, embankment failure that had closed a portion of the railway near Winchcombe in Gloucestershire.

The embankment had been an area of historic instability, with approximately one third of the southern side having failed, with the generation of a back scarp around 1m in height.

We undertook an intrusive investigation to ascertain the causes of the failure, to provide recommendations for the design of remedial works.

The investigation included the drilling of boreholes, installing geotechnical instrumentation, geotechnical laboratory testing, monitoring of the geotechnical instrumentation and a stability assessment.

GIP then undertook the remedial design works and supervised the remedial works with the final solution being a combination of:


  • Excavating the failed material, down to below the former ground level, where driven piles were installed and the embankment reconstructed using granular stone with layers of reinforcement geotextile
  • Soil nailing.
  • Reuse of the excavated material as a toe berm to provided increased stability to portions of the embankment where full reconstruction was not necessary.

We were able to provide a full site investigation, monitoring, assessment, remedial design and supervision of the reconstruction using our in-house capabilities.

Not only did this provide added value to the client but also enable the railway line to be reopened in the shortest time frame.

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