Railway Tunnel Remediation in the Bylong Valley

Ben Morris


In recent years rail tunnels on the Ulan Line at Kerrabee and Murrumbo in the Bylong Valley have been suffering from track geometry issues and mud pumping. Investigations have shown that the natural material beneath the tunnel’s floor slab has been pulverised by cyclic coal wagon loads, resulting in: voids, cracking and subsidence of the invert slab, related to the presence of ground water. SMEC have been commissioned on behalf of ARTC to research and prepare formation treatment designs for the tunnel floor, which minimise maintenance. This has involved subsurface investigations using traditional borehole drilling methods as well as ground penetrating radar. The findings from these investigations have been used to: define the problem, research suitable treatments for remediating the tunnel floor condition, and review the floor condition during construction to ensure that the applied treatment is fit-for-purpose.

About Ben Morris

Ben obtained a Bachelor of Engineering (Civil) degree from the University of Newcastle in 2005. Much of his childhood was spent in the developing world, first in Tonga, then later in Bangladesh and Thailand, where he became interested in the impact of civil engineering projects on the development of these countries. Prior to commencing his tertiary studies he spent a year in Japan working in a concrete factory making a variety of blocks for retaining wall and erosion protection applications. After completing his studies, Ben joined the Snowy Mountains Engineering Corporation (SMEC) as a graduate geotechnical engineer with the desire to embed himself in the civil construction industry. He spent his first seven years performing the role of Design Site Geotechnical Representative on numerous highway construction projects including the Ballina Bypass, Tugun Bypass, Bonville Deviation, Brunswick to Yelgun Upgrade and Banora Point Upgrade. In 2012 Ben made a return to Newcastle to establish a geotechnical group with SMEC and has has since been involved in many projects in the region including: the Hunter Expressway, Lake Macquarie Transport Interchange, Gosford Passing Loops rail upgrade, Narara to Lisarow upgrade, Wyong Town Centre, numerous pavement investigations, rail reconditioning projects and other miscellaneous construction projects.

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