Flood and scour related failure incidents at railway assets

In 2013 JBA Trust funded a summer placement to investigate and document railway asset failure incidents due to flooding and scour between 2003 and 2013.

The project built on a report carried out by JBA for the Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB) in 2004 to investigate and record failures of railway assets in flood conditions. The placement student, Zora van Leeuwen, carried out the research and analysis, supported by technical experts from JBA Consulting.

Asset failure was defined as “complete or partial collapse of the structure sufficient to cause derailment or closure of the line”.

The most common failure mechanism was found to be the undermining of abutments or piers by scour, resulting in their collapse.

We combined the 2003-2013 update with the results from the earlier RSSB study to provide a consolidated chronology of railway asset failures relating to flooding for the period 1846 to 2013.

The full report is available as an educational and research resource and we are working with the RSSB to disseminate the findings to support continuing improvements in railway safety.

Supporting data and failure incident reports can also be made available on request, please contact us