Case Study

Transportation | Roads & Railways

Railway Monitoring


A 1,300 foot section of a private railroad alignment cut into a river embankment was directly impacted by a series of imbricated slope failures. These failures were causing loss of ballast material and deection of the track alignment, creating increased maintenance and presenting a risk for derailment. The Owner required a better understanding of the landslide behavior to avoid costly shutdowns associated with loss of product transport.



Deere & Ault Consultants (a Schnabel Engineering Company) was retained by the rail owner to analyze the impacted area and implement a monitoring solution to aid in the design of a long term solution. Deere & Ault leveraged the sensemetrics platform using THREADs and our secure Cloud Platform to bring wireless connectivity and online storage to all of their sensors.

Selected sensors included Geokon Vibrating Wire Piezometers to monitor changes in groundwater elevations, vertical Measurand ShapeArrays to monitor horizontal displacements every half meter, and a Vaisala weather station to associate atmospheric information. By using the sensemetrics platform, the project team is able to better correlate groundwater levels with rain events and resultant ground movement as long-term performance trends develop. In addition, near real-time alerts based on established thresholds for the performance and conditions of the site enable the owner better control of their assets and minimizes response times when action is needed.

Together, the sensemetrics monitoring platform allowed the Owner and his Engineer to make informed decisions based on real time data to reduce risk, maximize product transport, and safely maintain operational readiness.

Project Details

Location: Iowa, USA

Date: 2018-Ongoing

Engineering: Deere & Ault | A Schnabel Engineering Company

Instrumentation: Deere & Ault | A Schnabel Engineering Company

Project Type: Railroad – Geohazard (Landslide)


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