Slope ALARMS: Rail
Grossreifling, Austria

INGLAS (Germany)
Austrian Railway (OeBB)
Austrian Research Council

The Grossreifling trial site in Styria consists of a steep conglomerate slope that threatens a section of railway line.

The trial was set up with German project partners INGLAS in April 2014 as a complementary component of the Sentinel for Alpine Railway Traffic (SART) project, jointly funded by the Austrian Railway (OeBB) and the Austrian Research Council.

The monitoring approach uses:

  • early warning of imminent rockfalls given by acoustic emission generated within the rock slope
  • detection of rock fall occurrence provided by a light static catch fence instrumented with movement sensors that give information about the debris that detaches from the slope and impacts the fence

The AE monitoring system comprised three waveguides grouted into the rock slope, two horizontal and one vertical.

Progress and impact

A strong response to ground water flow linked to rainfall was established.

The critical time for slope stability is in the spring following snow melt. However, a series of mild winters during the trial meant that there were no slope failures during the monitoring period, although proof of concept was established.

Monitoring was discontinued and the site decommissioned in February 2018.

Published papers

Codeglia D (2017) Development of an acoustic emission waveguide-based system for monitoring of rock slope deformation mechanisms. PhD Thesis, School of Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering, Loughborough University, UK.

Codeglia D, Dixon N, Fowmes GJ and Marcato G (2015) Strategies for rock slope failure early warning using acoustic emission monitoring. In IOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science (Vol. 26, No. 1, p. 012028). IOP Publishing.

Codeglia D, Dixon N, Fowmes G and Marcato G (2017) Analysis of acoustic emission patterns for monitoring of rock slope deformation mechanisms. Engineering geology, 219, 21-31.