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GEOTECHNICAL ASPECTS OF THE STROOD AND HIGHAM RAILWAY TUNNEL RELINING AND REFURBISHMENT (2006)

The Strood and Higham Railway Tunnel is some 3.7km in length and was originally built as a canal tunnel enabling boats to pass freely between the river Medway and the river Thames. The tunnel was excavated between 1819 and 1824 through reasonably competent Seaford Chalk such that many sections were left unlined. In 1830, a 100m long section was opened out in cutting as a passing basin for the canal boats before in 1844 a single track railway was added to the tunnel. Finally in 1846, the canal was infilled to permit a double railway track to be built. Over the years, the operating railway has suffered disruption because of flooding, problems associated with old shafts and from chalk falls in unlined sections of the tunnel, one of which in December 1999 caused derailment of four railway carriages. Six months later one of the original construction shafts collapsed and the tunnel was closed for four weeks, re-opening only after a 30km/hour speed restriction was applied. This was clearly not a viable long-term solution and following option studies, in January 2004 a 12 month blockade began, to allow the tunnel to be fully refurbished. This paper summarises various geological and geotechnical aspects associated with the relining and refurbishment works.

Reference:
The 10th IAEG International Congress, Nottingham, United Kingdom, 6-10 September 2006, Paper number 46
Organization:
Halcrow
UK
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