Cuttings at “Botarell” and “El Morell", Tarragona (Spain)

“Maintenance and Strengthening of the cuttings to avoid rock falls and traffic disruptions in the Madrid- Barcelona rail line”

Ensuring greater levels of reliability and quality for the railway line has become one of the key concerns in this type of infrastructure. The method used to obtain these increased levels of safety consists in strengthening the cuttings, which are so characteristic of railway infrastructures.

The two sections in the project are located in the conventional railway line between Madrid and Barcelona, in the province of Tarragona.

The project designed by Azierta defines the actions required for the correction of the problems detected on the slopes of the cuttings by improving safety globally and at specific points in order to prevent an impairment of train safety.

The actions taken include the laying of triple twist hexagonal meshes, geogrids, networks of wire, rip rap retaining wall, gunting as well as actions aimed at improving drainage.

Technical characteristics

Botarell cutting:

  • Electrified, single track
  • Length of the cutting: 400 m
  • Height of slopes: 10 m
  • Gradient of the slope: 70º
  • Materials found: Colluvial grounds on granodiorites in different weathering states with great blocks of granite.
  • Instability: Circular rock fall failures, degradation of the slope face and waterlogged areas at the bottom of the slope.
  • Solutions taken:
    • Triple twist hexagonal mesh
    • Geogrid
    • Rip rap retaining wall
    • Improvements to the drainage system

El Morell cutting:

  • Non-electrified, single track
  • Length of the cutting: 395 m
  • Height of slopes : 12 m
  • Gradient of the slope: 70º
  • Materials found: aggregates at gravel level and uncemented sands.
  • Instability: Collapses at aggregate layer resulting from the erosion of the lower layer of gravel and sand.
  • Solutions taken:
    • Guniting the slope
    • Improvement to the drainage system



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