Loughborough University
Leicestershire, UK
LE11 3TU
+44 (0)1509 222222
Loughborough University

Centre for Innovative and Collaborative Construction Engineering

Current research engineers

Katerina Kyrkou


Innovations in Construction Quality of Trackbed and Geotechnical Assets


High Speed Two (HS2) Ltd


Dr Matthew Frost
Dr Paul Fleming

Mr Nick Sartain
Mr Andrew Pestana

Director of Research
Dr Chris Goodier

Research Period

2019 - 2023

Innovations in Construction Quality of Trackbed and Geotechnical Assets

To support the successful delivery and operation of the HS2 rail network it is acknowledged that innovation will be essential.  The overarching aim will be to deliver a range of outputs that will support shorter term impact, which will help inform design, specification and build, through to consideration of solutions that will deliver longer term whole life benefits during operations.

Project Proposal

A key theme identified by HS2 is Connected/SMART Infrastructure – robust data capture methods and solutions to support construction and operation of the railway.

A further specific sub-topic identified and discussed is:

Compaction of earthworks – HS2 is currently exploring the advantages and disadvantages of instrumentation and monitoring based methods and techniques which should be considered to provide for the near real time assessment of compliance of individual soil layers as they are placed and compacted in earthworks. This work is planned to inform the construction verification and quality assurance of HS2 earthworks and is planned to comprise a short-term (2018) test programme to evaluate and develop suitable monitoring methods and techniques, followed by development of appropriate techniques through the construction of Phase 1.  The work will rely upon the collaboration of HS2 Ltd.’s supply chain. 


The overall aim of this theme is to develop novel approaches to the verification of earthworks activities that align with the design standards for high-speed rail, which align with the BIM aspirations of HS2 and which potentially facilitate a step-change in construction assurance in respect of quality, safety and programme.

The specific project aim is to develop a ‘toolkit’ of site based compliance monitoring and/or testing to verify appropriate build quality of placed soils/fill materials and trackbed support.


The proposed objectives are to:

  1. Review the current state of practice in regard compaction control and monitoring/measurement techniques, and requirements for material performance. To include ‘treated’ soils.

  2. Collaborate with other related rail track research programmes of relevance. 

  3. Evaluate effective correlations between direct and indirect measurements of compliance and performance of the compacted soil/fill behaviour (e.g. stiffness, density etc.).

  4. Develop and verify a selected suite of monitoring/measurement tools and protocols.

  5. Evaluate implementation and training requirements.

  6. Explore opportunities to evaluate short-term build quality and in-service performance of track sub-structure.



Contact us

+44 (0)1509 222623

The Centre Administrator
Loughborough University
LE11 3TU

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