The total engineering geology approach applied to railways in the Pilbara, Western Australia

  • F. J. BaynesEmail author
  • P. G. Fookes
  • J. F. Kennedy
Original Paper


The application of the total engineering geology approach to the investigation, design, construction and operation of several major iron ore railways in the ancient cratonic Pilbara region of Western Australia is described. The approach is based on developing a thorough understanding of the geological and geomorphological history of the area and adopting strategies such as staged investigations, an emphasis on geo-mapping, establishing reference conditions, the development of models and applying the observational method. The role of engineering geologists in such projects, their objectives and responsibilities, and the range of issues that have to be dealt with are reviewed and used to illustrate how inputs from engineering geologists are critical to project implementation. Some conclusions are drawn regarding what is good practice in heavy civil engineering projects.


Total engineering geology Investigation Design Construction Railways 


Une approche globale d’engineering geology est mise en oeuvre pour les études de reconnaissance, conception et construction relatives à d’importants projets de voies de chemins de fer destinées au transport de minerai de fer dans la région du craton de Pilbara (Etat d’Australie-Occidentale). La méthode est basée sur un examen approfondi de l’histoire géologique et géomorphologique des sites concernés, incluant des investigations progressives basées sur l’observation, des études cartographiques spécialisées et l’établissement de modèles géologiques. Les responsabilités des spécialistes en engineering geology, les apports spécifiques de cette discipline et les différents problèmes qui doivent être traités dans ces projets sont soulignés. Des conclusions sont établies concernant les conditions d’une bonne mise en œuvre des méthodes et techniques de l’engineering geology dans les projets importants de génie civil.

Mots clés

Engineering geology Reconnaissance des sites Conception des ouvrages Construction Tracés ferroviaires 



The authors wish to acknowledge the support and encouragement received during the development of the approach described in this paper from many colleagues who work for, or consult to various mining and engineering companies, in particular Steve Brice, Tim Hagan, Doug Johannes, Dick Jupp, Ian Lewis, Doug McInnes, John McMeekan, Greg O’Rourke, Peter Stanes, David Swifte, David Watkins and John Wood.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Consultant Engineering GeologistSubiacoAustralia
  2. 2.Consultant Engineering GeologistWinchesterUK
  3. 3.Consultant Engineering GeologistLeedervilleAustralia

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