East Coast Railway Protection Works

Project: East Coast Railway Protection Works
Completion Date: 2007
Client: Iarnród Éireann
Project Value: €80m
Services Provided: Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering
Project Size: 100 km coastline

Project Description

A significant length of the Irish rail network lies close to shoreline that is subject to ongoing coastal erosion, especially along the east coast between Dublin and Wicklow. In association with COWI and FTG, Garland were engaged by  Iarnród Éireann to prepare a feasibility report and implement a long-term plan for protection of the coastal railways over a 100km stretch of coastline.

A significant length of the Irish rail network lies close to shoreline and is subject to ongoing coastal erosion, instability of coastal defence structures and wave overtopping, especially along the East coast between Dublin and Wicklow.  In 2000, Garland in association with COWI A/S and Fehily Timoney Gifford carried out a feasibility study for coastal defence works as part of this Cuttings and Embankments Programme. The study produced a 10-year strategy, in which geotechnical and coastal defence works were planned and prioritized and implemented. The project programme included the following coastal projects:

  • Malahide Causeway
  • Sorrento Point
  • Bray Head
  • Ballygannon (south of Greystones)
  • Kilcoole
  • The Breaches
  • Six Mile Point (Newcastle)
  • Five Mile Point
  • Rogerstown Causeway
  • Merrion Gates to Blackrock
  • Rosslare Strand

Following Iarnród Éireann approval of the feisibility studey, Garland in association with COWI A/S, Fehily Timoney Gifford and Bruce Shaw Partnership, carried out detailed design, procurement and supervision of the coastal defence works. 

A variety of geotechnical and coastal defence works are adopted at the various locations in order to suit the local site conditions.  Heavy rock berm structures have been applied to the coastal defences in areas of steep rocky headland where the railway line runs in a series of embankments and rock cuttings supported at their base by masonry retaining structures.  At several locations, the railway runs on top of what is thought to be ancient littoral berm formations. These are fronted by sandy beach and with low hinterland. At these locations, the coastline is subject to rapid coastal erosion.  Therefore, new revetments have been established.  In order to preserve the amenity of the beaches, the new revetments have been partially burried into the beach and the reconstructed dunes have been planted with marram grass. For other locations, rock and concrete block revetments behind the beach protect the track.

Find out more about our Geotechnical Engineering Services here.

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