This article first appeared in the Railway-News magazine Issue 4 2021.
The spread of invasive plants, like Japanese Knotweed, is a huge headache for the rail industry. Damage to infrastructure – like pipework, drains, ballast and cabling – and uncontrolled spread to neighbouring land can result in excessive costs for remediation, prosecution and compensation claims. Knotweed can also obscure railway signals and signs, making it a significant safety concern, too.
Japanese Knotweed is considered to be the most aggressive of invasive plant species. Affecting a wide range of environments, it’s often found colonising man-made habitats, such as roadsides, railways and brownfield land. Its main method of spreading is via rhizome fragments – these can be as small as a 1g in weight and still form a new knotweed colony, even after lying dormant.
Knotweed can be dispersed in water, through garden waste, fly-tipping and via machines at construction sites, establishing a colony from one rhizome that can extend up to seven metres with plants around two to three metres high. That means its excavation and prevention methods are a serious business. It’s thought that eradicating all known knotweed in the UK would cost billions of pounds.
It’s not illegal to have Japanese knotweed on your land, but legislation exists to prohibit its further spread. Once it has been removed from a site, action must be taken to prevent any rhizome fragments from re-growing.
There are a number of solutions on the market, from chemical treatments to plastic barriers. However, these can cause problems of their own. Plastic prevents water from draining freely, creating the risk of flooding. And chemicals can damage the ecosystem and have a detrimental effect on nutrients, other plants and wildlife. This is where CuTex comes in.
CuTex is a permeable geocomposite root barrie system consisting of a copper sheet mechanically encapsulated between two high-strength geotextiles. An innovative solution to the problem of invasive plants, it can provide direct protection from root intrusion to foundations and drains, landfill caps, roads, railways, dams and green roofs. So, what are its key benefits?
Railway-News magazine Issue 4 Track & Infrastructure edition, November 2022: GEOfabrics - Trackbed Stabilisation Solutions from the Experts.
Railway-News magazine Issue 3, September 2022: GEOfabrics – Performance You Can Trust, Reinforcement Where It's Needed.
Railway-News Magazine issue 3 2021: GEOfabrics – TrackTex Geocomposite – The ‘Once Only’ Solution to Mud Pumping
In 2010 Geofabrics launched a new anti pumping geocomposite in the UK, which could be used to prevent the development of mud pumping.
This paper describes the development process undertaken to produce a lightweight, geosynthetic filter to replace a sand-blanket used within trackbed.
RK4 - a textile/grid composite, was installed to stabilise the ballast/subgrade interface and reduce the upward movement of subgrade fines.
TrackTex™ Anti-Pumping Geocomposite was used to to provide an increased form of ballast protection in known trouble areas in Christiansburg, Virginia.
TrackTex anti-pumping geocomposite was selected by Network Rail as a method of preventing mud pumping and prolonging trackbed performance.
Geofabrics' CuTex copper composite root barrier protects rail infrastructure from Japanese knotweed.
A statement from Gordon Donald, on the success of the Geofabrics Ltd versus Fiberweb Geosynthetics Ltd patent infingement case.
A statement by Gordon Donald, Managing Director of Geofabrics, regarding the judgement on patent infringement by Fiberweb Geosynthetics Ltd.
TrackTex was installed on a frequently trafficked diamond crossing as a long-term effective remedy to frequent fouling caused by mud-pumping.
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