Rail Track & Embankment Stabilisation

A railway track going into a railway tunnel

Railway track & embankment stabilisation

Helping rail authorities stretch budgets further  

Railway embankments and bridgeworks are key components in railway design that ensure safe travel for passengers and freight across nations and continents. Rail engineers designing new railways  seek to deliver safer, better, longer-lasting railways through improved railway design and railway construction practices, more economically, more sustainably and with greater climate resilience. Those responsible for maintaining existing rail networks face a widening gap between the needs of a deteriorating network and squeezed maintenance budgets.

With materials and labour costs continuously rising and the scope of their responsibilities constantly expanding, how do rail authorities keep up?  Tensar’s proven technologies for railway embankment stabilisation and railway track reinforcement can help stretch budgets further. Our solutions supported by Tensar’s expertise and software, can be applied throughout the railway lifecycle, from rail design, and railway construction, to railway track stabilisation and railway maintenance. 

Image of Railway Embankments

Railway Embankments

Rail embankments allow rail tracks to be established at a raised level, ensuring the train can pass easily over the terrain. However, for long-lasting and efficient railways, railway embankment stabilisation is crucial. This involves implementing geotechnical engineering solutions to create resilient railway embankments with improved drainage, settlement control, and erosion prevention so the track is viable for years to come.

The aim of incorporating geotechnical engineering solutions into railway embankments is to produce them with greater resilience, whilst reducing costs and carbon emissions. By incorporating Tensar geogrids into the steep-slope rail embankments, the maintenance lifecycle is significantly improved, the risk of erosion is reduced and settlement is controlled. They can also meet aesthetic requirements with a number of facia options available such as naturally vegetated slopes.

Image of Railway Retaining Walls

Railway Retaining Walls

Railway retaining walls are fundamental to rail networks, both protecting rail tracks at a lower level, whilst also supporting elevated rail tracks such as those on embankments. Retaining walls on railway lines can be especially effective where space is restricted, allowing the structures footprint to be minimised in areas such as high-density urban cities.

Engineering railway retaining walls can be particularly difficult as rail loads differ massively to that of highways and often require near vertical sloping soil. Therefore using retaining walls with superior structural integrity, such as TensarTech Earth Retaining Systems, allows Rail Authorities to choose a rail retaining wall that can maximise the land available, reduce construction times and utilise site-won materials. 

Need a retaining wall or slope design for your rail project?

Tensar’s design team can produce a free-of-charge “Application Suggestion” to illustrate what Tensar can achieve and how much value can be added to your project.

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Image of Rail Track

Rail Track

What if you could design higher performing trackbed more sustainably and with greater resiliency - without increasing costs? What if you could extend trackbed service life or greatly extend the periods between routine maintenance?    

The rail track is the primary focus of a railway, but it is supported by major earthworks, rail embankments and bridgeworks. Structural and geotechnical engineers building railway infrastructure are faced with the same pressures: to deliver more for less. They also seek to design more economically, more sustainably and with greater resilience.  The goal is to construct railway embankments with a reduced footprint, more quickly and with reduced carbon emissions or for a rail bridge or over bridge decks to be constructed bank seats bearing directly on lower-cost reinforced soil abutments using recycled fill. 

Tensar has proven innovative railway solutions for trackbed, earthworks, and bridgeworks - supported by Tensar expertise and software. 


Image of Trackbed Maintenance

Even Better Value

An efficient rail network must maintain design speeds and minimise service disruptions for major maintenance operations. The quality and durability of the trackbed are critical, both in determining safe operating speeds and in minimising maintenance related disruption.

In new track and track reconstruction works the bearing capacity and stiffness of the trackbed foundation can be improved by incorporating Tensar stabilisation geogrids into the sub-ballast layer. In ballasted track, the time between necessary tamping maintenance can be significantly increased by incorporating Tensar stabilisation geogrid in the base of the ballast layer. Ballast degradation and track settlements are reduced, maintaining track speed and extending maintenance cycles. 


Image of Earthworks and Bridgeworks 

Earthworks and Bridgeworks  

Almost all rail projects involve the construction of retaining walls, road and rail embankments, bridge abutments, and other features. Tensar has a range of TensarTech earth retaining systems for retaining walls, steep embankments and bridge abutments. These solutions offer major cost advantages and construction programme advantages over alternative construction methods. They also enable the use of recycled or site-won fill materials to keep down costs and minimise local impact.  

Additionally, Tensar has innovative solutions for the construction of railway embankment foundations over weak soils. These can be quicker to construct, with a reduced land take and controlled settlements. 


Design with confidence, from anywhere.

  • Design & evaluate pavement and gravel sections
  • Design & evaluate working platforms
  • Easily compare alternative materials
  • Determine initial and lifecycle cost savings, time savings, and sustainability metrics
  • Create high-level summaries of the design alternatives for project stakeholders
  • Share features that aid collaboration

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