National analysis of bridge scour failure risks

“Malahide viaduct collapse” by Fergus Wheatley licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

In collaboration with the Infrastructure Transitions Research Consortium (ITRC) team at Oxford University, we undertook research that builds on our analysis of railway bridge failures.

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.

Asset failure was defined as “complete or partial collapse of the structure sufficient to cause derailment or closure of the line”. The placement student, Zora van Leeuwen, carried out the research and analysis, supported by technical experts from JBA Consulting.

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

On 15 October 2015, Professor Rob Lamb, Director of JBA Trust, gave a update on our collaborative research at the ITRC’s meeting on The Future of National Infrastructure at the Institution of Civil Engineers, London. View a video of the presentation.

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


Who we are working with

UK Infrastructure Transitions Research Consortium (ITRC)
Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB)

JBA Trust resources