Due to the geographical diversity of Canada, climatic extremes, and active geomorphic processes, the Canadian rail infrastructure is vulnerable where ground hazards exist.
Railway ground hazards are defined as natural hazards including rock falls, landslides, subsidence (sinking), erosion, or snow and ice conditions that can result in track failure or pose a risk to safe railway operations.
The Railway Ground Hazard Research Program (RGHRP) is a collaborative effort among industry, academic institutions and the federal government. The Program was created in 2003 to develop and evaluate scientific and technical solutions to help railways manage the risks associated with ground hazards.
Dr. Derek Martin (University of Alberta), Dr. Michael Hendry (University of Alberta) and Dr. Jean Hutchinson, FEIC (Queen’s University) serve as Principal Investigators for RGHRP. They direct and coordinate the research activities.
Phase 1 (2003-2008) and Phase 2 (2009-2015) focuses on scientific research and investigations to better understand the mechanisms that cause various ground hazards, develop guidelines to manage the risks, and develop and identify tools and technologies to mitigate the hazards.