The railway infrastructure in the UK is around 150 years old and the rock cuttings, which were excavated or blasted, are located generally closer to the rail infrastructure than would normally be recommended by today's standards. Consequently, at many railway rock cuttings there is a risk of falling rocks reaching rail infrastructure. The risk of falling rocks is managed by periodic inspections of the cuttings. Rock slopes classified as being in a poor condition are scheduled further detailed inspection and remedial works as appropriate. This paper discusses two separate rock cuttings located inYorkshire. Both cuttings are located within Carboniferous strata and had been classified as being in poor condition, with failures occurring at each site. The failure mechanisms at each site are described together with a summary of the rock fall analyses and the associated risks. The remedial solutions for each site are discussed. The design methodology for the two sites was strongly influenced by the requirement to maintain a safe working environment, while minimizing disruption to the passage of trains. Railway remedial works are typically undertaken when the line is closed to trains, which can cause disruption to rail traffic. Therefore, where possible, design methodologies should enable packages of the remedial works to be constructed while trains are running. Remedial designs should also ensure that future maintenance can be undertaken with minimal disruption to trains.
There are hundreds of railway cuttings in rock in the UK, most of which were constructed between about 1840 and 1880 and are now around 150 years old (Perry, Pedley & Brady 2003). The distance between the railway lines and the rock face in many of these cuttings is 2.0mor closer. This is generally less than would be recommended by today's standards.