Geotechnical Centrifuge and Full-Scale Laboratory Testing for Performance Evaluation of Conventional and High-Speed Railway Track Structures

Peter K. Woodward (Lead / Corresponding author), Andrew Brennan, Omar Laghrouche, Ahmet Esen, David Connolly, Tina Mariot

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

1 Citation (Scopus)


The development of high-speed railways is progressing at a very rapid pace worldwide. For example, in the UK, the construction of Phase 1 (225 km) of the HS2 line has now begun, and it will have a maximum operational speed of 360 km/h. In this paper, the performance of a geosynthetic-reinforced soil retaining wall (GRS-RW) is presented for both ballasted track and concrete slab track using full-scale laboratory testing and geotechnical centrifuge modelling. In the full-scale testing, the geo-pavement and railways accelerated fatigue testing (GRAFT II) facility at Heriot-Watt University is used. It operates using six independent hydraulic actuators over three full-size sleepers to simulate the passage of a moving train. The tested GRS-RW structures consist of well-compacted subgrade and a frost protection layer designed to HS2 standards. Results are recorded in terms of deflections, accelerations, total settlement and transient stresses at various locations of the structure model. Whilst the full-scale GRAFT II testing elucidates behaviour of the track and wall, in order to study how the foundation subsoil may interact with the structure, a series of small-scale experiments were carried out in the geotechnical centrifuge by the University of Dundee. By creating small-scale physical models of the GRS-RW and foundation and by increasing gravity, the centrifuge was used to simulate the large induced stresses. Short- and long-term deformations of the wall and foundation were also monitored. Comparisons between the full-scale and centrifuge modelling are presented.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdvances in Transportation Geotechnics IV - Proceedings of the 4th International Conference on Transportation Geotechnics
EditorsErol Tutumluer, Soheil Nazarian, Imad Al-Qadi, Issam I. A. Qamhia
Place of PublicationSwitzerland
PublisherSpringer Nature Switzerland AG
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9783030772345
ISBN (Print)9783030772338 (hbk), 9783030772369 (pbk)
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Event4th International Conference on Transportation Geotechnics, ICTG 2021 - Chicago, United States
Duration: 23 May 202126 May 2021

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Civil Engineering
ISSN (Print)2366-2557
ISSN (Electronic)2366-2565


Conference4th International Conference on Transportation Geotechnics, ICTG 2021
Country/TerritoryUnited States


  • Experimental
  • Geosynthetic
  • Railways

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering


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