We have been asked to look at a 150 year old, 4m high, railway embankment constructed over approximately 5m of peat over chalk. Over the past 3 years the embankment has begun to settle (approimately 500mm of downward movemnt). The embankment was never a problem previously and I would assume that after 20 years or so most of the settlemet would hace occuredd and the peat would be pretty well consolidated. The renewed movemnets correspond with the recent creation of an area of wetland next to the site. Is there likely to be a connection? Also how can a rise in groundwater level in an already consolidated material cause renewed settlements? Any advise on how to analyse the problem would also be appreciated. There is no indication of any slope instability (other than some minor surface slips in the over steepened ballast shoulder)and there is no deflection of track side masts so I don't think that it is a slope failure.
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