Failure in Civil Engineering

Document Type:Coursework

Subject Area:Engineering

Document 1

According to RAIB report 2014, the Hatfield accident that occurred on October 2000 was caused by track failure that led to 115 mph derailment leaving 70 injured and 4 fatalities. The Selby (Great Heck) accident on the February 2001 occurred when a train collided with a land rover leaving 82 injured and 10 fatalities after a 130 mph derailment. Subsequently, in May 2002 at Potters Bar 11 and 7 people were injured and died respectively. The cause of the accident was determined to be point failure that led to derailment of 97 mph. In the November 2004, at Ufton Nervet a train collided with a car at a level crossing causing a 97 mph derailment that left 7 dead and about 100 fatalities. The derailment aspect is significant enough to prompt further investigation into the architectural and structural design aspect of the tracks that seems to be the subsequent cause of accidents and vehemently features on all accidents witnessed in rail transport sector.

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But can derailment be avoided in the unlike event that an accident occurs? The immediate answer is yes and as a principle problem in the rail transport sector, it requires a principle solution which is the primary role of track route and track designers in collaboration with civil engineers. Unlike other civil engineering failures the design part of the rail system almost features silently in all accidents but goes unnoticed and unless the design aspect is addressed objectively the ugliness of rail accidents will continue to feature in the media “Breaking News” at least for the longest unknown future unless an overhaul on structural and architectural design is conducted on the rail system. Architectural and Structural Design Failures With the number of accidents, the number of causalities and injuries as well as permanent incapacitation realized after a rail accident, it is not enough that structural design of the rail tracks meet the threshold of the safety standards and regulations, but rather it should be the game changer for civil engineers to push the structural design to the limit and attain the fail-safe design standards at least for now.

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Digging deep into RAIB’s investigative and recommendation reports on rail accidents, a single crucial aspect such as structural design failures has not been intensely mentioned in the reports yet it plays a critical role in allowing rather than protecting the extents of some of these avoidable and unavoidable accidents. google. com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=8&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwiGnvO23ZXZAhUHaxQKHWbRBqMQFghaMAc&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww. iosh. co. uk%2F~%2Fmedia%2FDocuments%2FNetworks%2FBranch%2FBristol%2520and%2520West%2FPast%2520events%2FPresentations%2FMark%2520Turner. publishing. service. gov. uk/media/547c8fc4ed915d4c10000147/R082013_130722_Shrewsbury. pdf Figure 5. Available at: https://www. google. com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=8&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwiGnvO23ZXZAhUHaxQKHWbRBqMQFghaMAc&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.

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iosh. co. Shows a poorly designed sharp bend that does not accommodate a full bogie and an improperly positioned speed restriction board. Analysis According to Trans-city Rail News 2017, the London Waterloo Station crash figure 1 was allegedly caused by a set of points which were incorrectly positioned a result that can be blamed on poor design. Images shown on figure 2 and 3 are a result of poor design that allows for derailment. Figures 4 and 5 all illustrate sharp curve resulting from poor architectural design that have been a primary cause of accident. Figure 5 further illustrates that the sharp curve design of the tracks is acceptable and used in various rail section meaning that any slight over speed or human error at those curve would result into an accident.

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From figure 8, the speed restriction is poorly sited and the curve is too sharp to safely negotiate the corner in case of brake failure. At least the fail-safe design should allow the train to safely make the corner even when the conditions are lean to avoid accidents. Fail-safe design should eliminate a single cause of accident as it is with the current rail designs. At least multiple factors should come into convergence before an accident occurs which have low probability of occurring. According to Jack (p. Recommendations: • All Sharp curve design limits should be reviewed to determine fail-safe design limits. • All level crossing should be abolished and instead tunnels or flyovers established to eliminate the high accident rates related to level crossing.

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