Maccaferri: Shoring up the network for the future

The British rail sector is in the midst of a massive programme to increase capacity, relieve congestion and improve passenger and freight facilities.

With new projects like HS2 and East West Rail running alongside the Network Rail Railway Upgrade plan for existing infrastructure, it is no wonder Maccaferri is frequently called on for their earthwork’s expertise.


Across the UK, Network Rail maintains around 32,000 km of track which includes 19,000km in or on some 190,000 earthworks assets comprising mainly embankments, and soil or rock cuttings. Most are more than 150 years old and do not offer comparable levels of resilience and capability to modern engineered slopes. Managing and reducing the geotechnical risk on these assets requires a combination of approaches, including erosion control, protection netting and protection bunds.

The era of High Speed Rail in the UK started with HS1 Channel Tunnel Rail Link, and continues as HS2 construction gathers pace. East West Rail and the coming Transpennine route upgrades include new build as well as uprating existing infrastructure. To ensure such schemes deliver their low carbon aspirations efficient temporary works are as important as permanent works to minimise the environmental impact of building major and mega projects.

Maccaferri has provided earthworks expertise to support engineers and contractors building infrastructure since establishing their UK business in 1956.

In addition to passenger services, Rail offers a lower carbon freight service that also reduces the number of vehicles on our roads. The rise in rail freight has necessitated the creation of new Strategic Rail Freight Interchanges across the UK. The location of these sites is key to their efficiency, so they may need to be built in areas with challenging ground conditions that require improvements such as basal reinforcement or piled foundations.

Maccaferri has provided earthworks expertise to support engineers and contractors building infrastructure since establishing their UK business in 1956. Throughout that time continuous research and product development mean Maccaferri clients always benefit from the latest techniques to keep costs under control and minimising environmental impact.

Maccaferri geosynthetics can be utilised in a number of ways to allow faster, lower carbon construction using innovations proven in many markets. By adopting geosynthetic based solutions in earthworks it is possible to reduce material import, utilise marginal fill that would otherwise be waste and extend the operational life of existing assets.

Worldwide, Maccaferri operates from more than 30 manufacturing facilities and have 70 plus subsidiaries operating in more than 100 countries worldwide. This far-reaching network allows us to tap into knowledge from many markets and sectors to optimise the design and implementation of innovative solutions across civil, geotechnical and environmental engineering disciplines.

The comprehensive range of Maccaferri solutions available to the UK rail infrastructure market are supported by our engineers and technical team, who approach design with a focus on efficient, resilient structures that allow a significantly lower carbon footprint and waste than traditional solutions. Products are supplied with Environmental Product Declarations giving you peace of mind that it is not just the grass that is green.

Whether you are looking for a green abutment to support your bridge, basal reinforcement for your embankments and noise bunds, or remedial works to stabilise an embankment face, Maccaferri offer it all and more.

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The British rail sector is in the midst of a massive programme to increase capacity, relieve congestion and improve passenger and freight facilities. With new projects like HS2 and East West Rail running alongside the Network Rail Railway Upgrade plan for existing infrastructure, it is no wonder Maccaferri is frequently called on for their earthwork’s expertise.

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