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Geogrid Reinforced Steep Slopes Subjected to Railway Loading – Case Study


The use of geosynthetic reinforced retaining structures has become more and more established, especially because of its ecological and economical advantages. However, for railway embankments, these constructions were quite uncommon. This was mostly due to the fact that the behaviour of the structures and particularly the geosynthetics, under high dynamic loading was not well known. Furthermore in the field of railroad embankments there are specific questions like foundations for power supply, signal posts or noise protection walls to be considered. Additionally, there are increased demands with regard to the outer facing. This publication presents the experience gained from two representative projects implemented by Deutsche Bahn AG. Apart from results of deformation measurements the paper will describe constructive and structural details.


In this publication, the deformation and serviceability behaviour of two geosynthetic reinforced retaining structures (GRS) that are within the zone of influence of dynamic loading was presented. The analysis of inclinometer readings in one case carried out over a period of several years, shows that the structures have acceptable deformation behaviour for rail traffic throughout. With regard to the track position in both cases, no abnormalities were shown.

Using select project examples, the construction of GRS structures was presented with respect to the special requirements of railway embankments. Particular importance is placed on the formation of the outer facing, section 4.1, and the execution of deep foundations for poles and sound barriers, section 4.2. The examples show that practicable solutions are being offered for both tasks.

This publication shows that geosynthetic reinforced retaining structures can be designed to suit the particular requirements of a railway route. GRS structures are therefore a technically equivalent and often more cost-effective alternative (also considering the life-cycle cost) to traditional retaining structures, even when subjected to dynamic loading.