Reading Station 

Reinforced earth and LTP design
(Designer - Coffey Geotechnics for Maccaferri)

Project summary
Development of Reading Station has included the construction of an elevated railway to carry the existing main lines away from the freight lines at the Westbury Line Junction and the Reading West Chord Junctions. The aim of this piece of work, associated with a much larger upgrade project, was to relieve congestion at the railway interchange which is the busiest in the UK outside of London.

The elevated railway was constructed on reinforced soil retaining walls which tie into new viaducts over the freight lines. Ground improvement in the form of vibro-concrete columns was required, coupled with a load transfer platform to support the new embankments. I was lead designer for Coffey Geotechnics and worked with a team, including the manufacturer of the reinforced soil products, to obtain an effective solution. The challenge on this project was to design an efficient system which was capable of absorbing the high accidental loading case potentially caused by derailing trains.  It is unusual to design this type of reinforced earth retaining wall to carry railway loading in the UK.  Horizontal loads, high vertical strip loads towards the front of the wall, and limited surcharge over the top straps all combined to create a complex design problem. I enjoyed the challenges this project offered, and it gave me the opportunity to work with a large project team, helping Network Rail and their contractor to solve the challenges they faced both during the design process and during construction.  It was a great success.
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