This paper describes the use of the finite element method to simulate crack propagation in a pipeline in the presence of soil backfill. Since typical values for soil modulus are known, a spring element can be used to simulate the effects of backfilled soil on crack propagation. This consists of the relationship between the soil property and the stiffness of the spring element, and the effect of backfill depth on the crack propagation in the pipes. By equating crack driving force,G, in the presence of soil, to the dynamic fracture toughness of the pipeline material, a theoretical predictive capability is obtained for the first time for the gas transmission and distribution pipelines. Numerical calculations have also been carried out for the cracked pipe with backfill and without backfill.