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Technical Paper: The stabilisation of slips in cuttings and embankments by means of cationic base exchange

The stabilisation of slips in cuttings and embankments by means of cationic base exchange. This paper was first published in GE’s September 2012 issue.


In the Yearbooks of the American Railway Engineers’ Association (AREA) for 1947 and 1948 there were comprehensive reports on the successful injection grouting on American railways of slips and trackbed by various contractors on many different railways. This work had started somewhere about 1936 but the majority of sites described were treated in the 1940s.

The Americans had not distinguished then between the two types of trackbed failure, namely pumping at sleeper and bearing capacity failure. These were defined on the British Rail Western Region in the early 1950s. It was difficult to determine what the type of failure being repaired was, but the various cross sections in the Yearbooks indicate that there was much bearing capacity failure as well as due to pumping. At that time the consultant to the area was eminent soils engineer Ralph B Peck, so the validity of the claims was not in doubt.

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