Spotlight on Rail Trackbed Geosynthetics

Spotlight on Rail Trackbed Geosynthetics

Spotlight on Rail Trackbed Geosynthetics

Spotlight on Rail Trackbed Geosynthetics

Spotlight on Rail Trackbed Geosynthetics

Spotlight on Rail Trackbed Geosynthetics

Spotlight on Rail Trackbed Geosynthetics

Spotlight on Rail Trackbed Geosynthetics

Railway construction and renewal is a key market for TERRAM products. Here, our rail specialist Neil Stewart describes the value TERRAM materials bring to international rail projects.

Neil, what products does TERRAM offer for the rail market?

“Our geosynthetics are primarily used in trackbed construction. They fulfil four key functions:

  • Separation, to prevent the intermixing of different soil and sand types
  • Filtration, to prevent the leaching of soil particles
  • Drainage, to allow the free passage of water
  • Reinforcement, to provide additional strength.

Our product portfolio includes PW1, PW2, PW4-LA, PW9, Hydrotex and PW3.1, which means we can supply a range of solutions across different terrain types – for example in boggier ground and soil containing angular stone.”

What are the benefits?

“TERRAM solutions are often quicker, cheaper and more environmentally friendly to install than other methods. High permeability, high puncture and abrasion resistance help to ensure a solid, lasting foundation for railway lines.”

What other products are used for rail?

“Our GEOCELLS are often used in reinforcing embankments, and preventing erosion on adjoining railway slopes. GEOCELLS are honeycomb style 3D confinement systems. Their shape makes them extremely versatile and they utilise on-site materials, making them quick and simple to install.”

Why do you think TERRAM is uniquely placed to serve the rail market?

“The rail industry is now looking for ‘value engineering’, meaning great products at competitive rates. We offer both. Also, I have been involved in sales for 20 years and been in the rail market for over eight years. I understand that punctuality is vitally important when you have short possession times – brief periods when you can access the site. Getting materials where they need to be quickly and on time every time is very important to allow the work to be carried out within the allocated time frame – this influences TERRAM’s approach to delivery. Speed of quote is something we work hard on. We also offer technical support on all our products, and are happy to offer free lunchtime TERRAM Technical Talk presentations to develop understanding about the benefits of TERRAM solutions.”

Can you tell us a little more about Hydrotex?

“Hydrotex is a real success story for TERRAM. The team spotted the market need for a replacement for sand blankets in preventing clay pumping – something quicker and less expensive to install. They developed the Hydrotex geocomposite, which acts as a filter separator and achieves those aims. Hydrotex has been approved by Network Rail and is proving its worth – particularly in possession times - across a variety of rail projects.”

How do TERRAM manufacturing techniques make a difference to the products?

“The emphasis is on quality. We’ve invested a huge amount of money into machinery and staff training, and this shows in the finished products. Our quality control procedures are also industry-leading. We test all products for mass, thickness, tensile strength, tensile elongation, and resistance to static puncture, and carry out additional hourly checks on the manufacturing line. Every product line is also subject to rigorous and regular quality testing to EN ISO standards – including water permeation checks and tests on dynamic perforation (simulating a weight dropped from height onto the product). We even have tests for acid erosion, oxidation and a resistance to weathering test that simulates a hot continental climate. Our hard-won product approvals from the likes of London Underground and Network Rail are testament to our quality.”

Anything else you’d like to say about TERRAM quality?

“One key thing to note is TERRAM geotextiles are now NeedlePunch produced as opposed to spunbond. This makes them stronger, and delivers a much higher puncture resistance. Also, by manufacturing our own materials here in the UK, we can tailor to different widths and lengths depending on the specification from the engineers on site. That ability to customise solutions is something our competitors struggle to match. We’re very proud of our manufacturing facility – if any interested parties would like a tour they can contact me direct and I will arrange one.”

Which recent rail projects has TERRAM been involved in?

“Some recent successes include our products being used in work at Scunthorpe Station, in Eccles Yard, Doncaster, and at Standedge Tunnel in Huddersfield, Case studies for these projects can be found here. We are also heavily involved in Crossrail and expect TERRAM to be utilised in other major rail projects as they move into the construction phase.”

Where can people find out more about TERRAM rail products?

They can contact me on neil.stewart@terram.com and 07881 955211.

View our rail geosynthetic pages here

Terram PW4LA railway reinforced trackbed geotextile separator
PW9 Robust geotextile for railway track stabilisation
Terram PW rail geosynthetics separate the sub-base and ballast
Geosynthetics used on railway track renewals and new lines
Neil Stewart - Rail Solutions Manager for Terram


PW Geosynthetics Products:

  • PW1 Geotextile is trackbed separator, designed to maintain separation between the adjacent sand/ballast layers within the trackbed construction, preventing the upward movement of fine sub-grade. particles.

  • PW2 Geotextile is a robust trackbed separator designed where the sub-grade soils are good but contain angular stone. This angular stone could damage a standard geotextile, so a robust geotextile that protects the separation geotextile is essential.

  • PW3.1 Geocomposite comprises a high quality black LDPE impermeable membrane, a drainage net and TERRAM PW1.0 geotextile.

  • PW4-LA geocomposite is a reinforced trackbed separator designed where the sub-grade is weak, ie. soft and boggy conditions. Combines a filter/separator geotextile and reinforcement geogrid.

  • PW9 Geotextile is a Robust Separator for trackbed, designed where the sub-grade soils are good but contain angular stone. PW9 is a next generation separator geotextile, used where there is a significant amount of coarse granular particles 14mm and above.

  • HYDROTEX Geocomposite provides a permanent way solution for trackbed stability where clay pumping can cause loss of trackbed stability. Removes the requirement for a sand blanket.

Recent Projects

TERRAM PW1 geotextile installed at Scunthorpe Station to strengthen track bed quality and reduce further maintenance costs

TERRAM PW1 Geotextile separator was installed to prevent intermixing between the sand blanket and new ballast on track renewals at Standedge Rail Tunnel.

TERRAM PW2 and Hydrotex geotextiles support rail tracks and ballast and have been installed for track renewals at Eccles Yard, Doncaster