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Published By Lankelma

Lankelma is the foremost contractor for onshore in-situ soil testing in the UK. An acknowledged specialist in CPT, Lankelma also offers a worldwide consultancy and training service.

A.P. van den Berg develops, designs and manufactures geotechnical and environmental soil investigation equipment for onshore and offshore applications. Specialists in CPT systems and equipment.


Gardline Geosciences offers worldwide marine geotechnics, in-house consutancy and services with marine investigations ranging from nearshore to full ocean depth (down to 3000m).

About the Author

Hans Brouwer studied civil engineering at Delft University in The Netherlands. He has worked as a part-time lecturer at Amsterdam Polytechnic and was senior partner in a structural engineering consultancy. He has written a standard textbook in Dutch about the design of building foundations. He now lives in England where he writes technical textbooks in English, hopefully to reach a bigger readership.

Chapter 8

Push technology in the rail environment

Introduction (to in-situ testing in the rail environment)

Testing on rail tracks is a challenging and difficult task. The work is
mostly carried out at night and within short periods of time. Access to
the sites and working areas are often difficult.
Until recently, the majority of rail-site investigations have been dynamic
probing and window sampling. The problem with these methods is that
the required depths are not always reached and the information gained
is limited. Cone penetration testing (CPT) offers a better solution for
gaining quality site investigation.
Speed Working on the railways during night requires speed. It will take
about 40 minutes to carry out a 15 m CPT. In a 6-hour night possession,
4 to 5 tests to depths of 15 m can be carried out, including getting on
and off the track (depending on the length between access point and
CPT positions). CPTs are fast, and productivity is higher which
counteracts their extra cost compared to dynamic probing.
Quality CPTs offer high quality data in an environment where it is
difficult to get it from other methods. The CPT takes measurements
every centimetre of the cone resistance, sleeve friction and inclination
of thrust rods; and the method is guaranteed to obtain deeper
penetration than dynamic probing. All of the results are shown instantly
on a computer screen and therefore decisions concerning the
investigation can be taken directly on site.
Versatility There are a number of different CPT rigs for different rail
conditions. These are described later in this chapter, but as long as
there is a reaction force and a power supply, cone penetration tests can
be carried out almost anywhere. A standard CPT rig can use any of the
special cones described in Chapter 4. The rail unit can also install
instrumentation such as piezometers and inclinometers. 
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