A washaway is a particular kind of landslide that can affect man-made structures such as cuttings, embankments and bridges. They are thus a hazard to railways and road traffic.


The biggest danger with washaways is that they may be difficult to spot in time to stop short of the point where one falls over the edge and/or into the water where one may drown.


An embankment that is washed away can be repaired or restored by replacing the washed away earth, which is necessarily large because embankments have a gentle slope.

A quicker method is to replace the washed out earth with a criss-cross structure of timber steepers called a pigsty which is only slightly wider than the track itself. The pigsty has alternating layers of transverse and longitudinal layers of these sleepers, which contains a lot of air which saves weight.[1][2] Steel and concrete sleepers are not necessarily suitable for this purpose as they are either not square or fragile.

The sleepers in the pigsty can be reused when the washaway is fully repaired. Rails can substitute for the sleepers. The hollow space inside the pigsty should be able to act as a culvert.[3]

Warning devices

A mechanical railway signal that is normally "green" can be put to "red" if a link in the pulling wire is disengaged by a slump of the earth beneath.

An electrical railway signal that is normally green can be put to red if a contact is opened circuited by a slump of the earth beneath. One side of contact might be attached to the sleepers, while the other side is buried in the ballast beneath. To protect against a false feed keeping the warning signal green, the circuit should be double cut so that false feeds will connect positive to negative and blow a fuse, forcing the warning signal to red. A similar setup might be used to protect bridges likely to be hit by ship collisions, as with the 1993 Big Bayou Canot train wreck.


Railway accidents involving bridge washaways include:

  • United States 27 September 1923 – near Glenrock, Wyoming - a bridge over Coal Creek was washed away and a passenger train derailed, killing 30 of the train's 66 passengers.
  • New Zealand 24 December 1953 - Tangiwai disaster - lahar caused bridge washaway; train thrown into river; 151 killed.
  • Australia 1974 - Crystal Brook, South Australia - train thrown into river after washaway collapses bridge.
  • Kenya 1993 - 114 perished in a passenger train that plunged into a river after floods washaway a bridge at Ngai Ndethya.
  • India 29 October 2005 - Veligonda train disaster - 114 killed
  • Italy November 2011 - Feroleto-Marcellinara, Italy [4]

Cause unclear

See also


  1. ^ "A Washaway on the Northampton Railway". Sunday Times (Perth, WA : 1902 - 1954). Perth, WA: National Library of Australia. 12 July 1925. p. 13. Retrieved 9 September 2011.
  2. ^ "THE WASHAWAYS". Geraldton Guardian (WA : 1906 - 1928). WA: National Library of Australia. 14 March 1925. p. 4. Retrieved 9 September 2011.
  3. ^ "WILUNA FOOD SHORTAGE". Western Mail (Perth, WA : 1885 - 1954). Perth, WA: National Library of Australia. 5 April 1934. p. 18. Retrieved 9 September 2011.
  4. ^ Today's Railway Europe 213, pg 55

Chiromo is a town in southern Malawi by the Shire River.

The Nairobi suburb of Chiromo near Westlands, as well as University of Nairobi Chiromo Campus and Nairobi's Chiromo Road got their name from this town. Ewart Grogan saw the two rivers that met in that Nairobi area reminding him of the village in southern Malawi and named the place Chiromo. Chiromo means “joining of the streams”.

Coastal erosion

Coastal erosion is the loss or displacement of land, or the long-term removal of sediment and rocks along the coastline due to the action of waves, currents, tides, wind-driven water, waterborne ice, or other impacts of storms. The landward retreat of the shoreline can measured and described over a temporal scale of tides, seasons, and other short-term cyclic processes. Coastal erosion may be caused by hydraulic action, abrasion, impact and corrosion by wind and water, and other forces, natural or unnatural.On non-rocky coasts, coastal erosion results in rock formations in areas where the coastline contains rock layers or fracture zones with varying resistance to erosion. Softer areas become eroded much faster than harder ones, which typically result in landforms such as tunnels, bridges, columns, and pillars. Over time the coast generally evens out. The softer areas fill up with sediment eroded from hard areas, and rock formations are eroded away. Also abrasion commonly happens in areas where there are strong winds, loose sand, and soft rocks. The blowing of millions of sharp sand grains creates a sandblasting effect. This effect helps to erode, smooth and polish rocks. The definition of abrasion is grinding and wearing away of rock surfaces through the mechanical action of other rock or sand particles.

Culgoa River

The Culgoa River is a river that is part of the Darling catchment within the Murray–Darling basin and is located in South West Queensland.

Double switching

Double switching, double cutting, or double breaking is the practice of using a multipole switch to close or open both the positive and negative sides of a DC electrical circuit, or both the hot and neutral sides of an AC circuit. This technique is used to prevent shock hazard in electric devices connected with unpolarised AC power plugs and sockets. Double switching is a crucial safety engineering practice in railway signalling, wherein it is used to ensure that a single false feed of current to a relay is unlikely to cause a wrong-side failure. It is an example of using redundancy to increase safety and reduce the likelihood of failure, analogous to double insulation. Double switching increases the cost and complexity of systems in which it is employed, for example by extra relay contacts and extra relays, so the technique is applied selectively where it can provide a cost-effective safety improvement.


Egloshayle (pronounced "eglos-hale"Cornish: Eglosheyl – eglos meaning church and heyl meaning estuary) is a civil parish and village in north Cornwall, England, United Kingdom. The village is beside the River Camel, southeast of Wadebridge. The civil parish stretches southeast from the village and includes Washaway and Sladesbridge.

Erika Langley

Erika Langley is an American photojournalist and writer. Born in Arlington, Virginia, she has been based in Seattle, Washington since 1992. She worked from 1992 to 2004 as dancer at the Lusty Lady, a peep show in Seattle. Her 1997 book, The Lusty Lady: Photographs and Texts combined memoir, photographs, and sections about several of her co-workers there.Langley is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design. She originally became interested in the Lusty Lady in terms of photographing dancers, but was informed by management that the only way she would have access to do that was if she danced there herself. She ended up working there for twelve years. The photos she took there resulted in her book The Lusty Lady and in several art exhibits including one in 1994 that an administrator of the King County Arts Commission Gallery described at the time as that gallery's "most potentially controversial exhibit." Her work was given an entire wall of the 1999–2000 Seattle Art Museum exhibit "Hereabouts: Northwest Pictures by Seven Photographers," after the same museum had canceled a 1998 exhibit at almost the last minute.More recently, Langley has been documenting the erosion of Washaway Beach at North Cove just south of Grayland, Washington, one of the fastest eroding places in the Western Hemisphere.

Fremantle Railway Bridge

Fremantle Railway Bridge (known also as the North Fremantle Bridge) is the railway bridge on the Fremantle railway line that crosses the Swan River between Fremantle and North Fremantle. It is the second structure with that name.

The original bridge was of concern due to its structure, as well as its position limiting the eastern extent of the Fremantle Harbour.The current bridge is further up stream and closer to the Fremantle Traffic Bridge than the earlier lower structure, and was being planned in the 1950s.


Glenreagh is a small town in the Clarence Valley in the Northern Rivers region of north-eastern New South Wales, Australia. At the 2016 census, Glenreagh had a population of 900 people.It is on the North Coast railway line, completed to Glenreagh in 1915. A picturesque branch was opened from Glenreagh to Dorrigo in 1924, but was difficult to maintain due to the steep terrain and high rainfall and it was closed in 1972 after a washaway. The Glenreagh to Ulong section is proposed for reopening as a heritage tourist railway by the Glenreagh Mountain Railway.

Hugstetten rail disaster

The Hugstetten rail disaster occurred on the railway line between Freiburg im Breisgau and Breisach am Rhein on 3 September 1882. With 64 people killed and some 230 seriously injured, it was the deadliest train accident in German history until the collision of two D-Trains in the Genthin rail disaster on 21 December 1939, which claimed 278 casualties.

List of abandoned railway lines in South Africa

This is a list of disused, abandoned, closed or dismantled railway lines in South Africa since 1910.

The list is primarily intended to document South African Railways (Government) or private lines of historical significance. (e.g.: Okiep railway)

List of beaches in Sydney

The city of Sydney, Australia, is home to some of the finest and most famous beaches in the world. There are well over 100 beaches in the city, ranging in size from a few metres to several kilometres, located along the city's Pacific Ocean coastline and its harbours, bays and rivers.

With around 70 surf beaches and dozens of harbour coves, Sydney is almost unrivalled in the world for the number and quality of beaches available. The water and sand among the city beaches, despite their popularity, are remarkably clean. The beach watch program was established in 1989 in response to community concern about the impact of sewage pollution on human health and the environment at Sydney's ocean beaches.

North Cove, Washington

North Cove is an unincorporated community in Pacific County, Washington.

North Cove is mostly residential, with some vacation rentals and a general store being the only commercial properties. The community suffers from the extreme coastal erosion of Cape Shoalwater, which has been diminished drastically in size, with the ocean claiming dozens of structures over the last 100 years and remaining a substantial threat.

Old Junee

Old Junee is a village community in the central east part of the Riverina and situated about 8 kilometres north west from Junee and 16 kilometres east from Marrar. It was originally known as "Jewnee"

Jewnee Post Office opened on 1 May 1862 and was renamed Old Junee in 1885 when the present town of Junee was given the name.The school at Old Junee was opened in 1880 and conducted in the old Methodist Church building under the name "Provisional School, Jewnee". A short time later Junee Junction, five miles distant, sprang up and so the name of this school and the village was, in 1885, changed from Jewnee to Old Junee. The school at Junee Junction is now known as Junee School.

Mr Harry D. Balmain was the first teacher and the oldest record at the school dates from 14 May 1880. For the portion of the quarter ending June, 1880, the total enrolment was 39 (20 boys, 19 girls), the average being 22.3. An amount of £2/8/0 was received in fees, there being no "gratuitous" scholars. The return was signed by Mr Samuel Storey as a member of the School Board. Mr Storey officially opened the first school in 1880, a second building attached to the residence in 1882, and on Empire Day, 1913, the new, commodious building of two large rooms.

In 1894 Mr W. H. Bullen was the Teacher-in-Charge and remained there until 1912 when Mr. W. E. Cook was appointed. Mr Bullen had leave of absence for 3 months in 1902 after 20 years' service and was relieved by Messrs Hallman and Dawson for that period.

In 1895 an urgent application was made for fencing to provide for four horses - no doubt for the use of children arriving at school by horse and also in that year the school acquired 8 acres (3.2 ha) for the school paddock.

In 1899 an application was made for the use of the playground for a Moonlight Concert in aid of the Cricket Cub - evidence of the importance of the little country school in the community.

Additions were made to the school buildings from time to time. In 1901 additions in the form of bathroom and pantry for the residence, again in 1907 and 1911 a new bell post was required and finally in 1913 a new school was provided as mentioned earlier when Mr Cook was Headmaster with Miss Catherine Sly as assistant and the enrolment was 75 pupils. At this time the school was Class IV, the area of the grounds was 2 acres (0.81 ha), with a reserve of 8 acres not adjoining. An additional area of 1 acre for playground purposes had been surveyed but as yet not dedicated.

From an enrollment of 75 in 1913, it rose to nearly 90 by 1914.

In 1916 the Roll of Honour was unveiled at the Old Junee School, and in 1921 application was again made to use the school as a meeting place for a social club.

In 1928 the Assistant Teacher, Mr L. Goodwin, on 17 February 1928, was unable to report for duty owing to a washaway on the railway line. A heavy rain event throughout the district at this time flooded the town of Junee causing washaways. Many of the business houses were flooded and major railway line damage occurred.

In 1929, when school opened, there was no water available so an application had to be made to buy and transport water from the railway station. During the early thirties enrolment had dropped considerably and difficulties were experienced in keeping an assistant teacher and at one stage in 1935 (5 March 1935, there was no teacher at all. In that year 30 children competed in the P.S .A.A.A. sports.

Improvements to the school continued: In 1927 the school accepted a gift of 100 volumes of suitable literature from Mr & Mrs G. LeGay Brereton. In 1938 fly screens were supplied for the school and the parents fenced the school - all catering to the varied needs of the children. In 1938, also, Mr L. W. Storey donated a piece of land - 2 roods 25 perches (2,656 m2) to the school. The school closed in 1966.

Staff: 1880, Mr Harry Balmain; 1893, W. H. Bullen; (1911, Assistant Miss Janet Butt); 1912, Mr W. E. Cook (assistant Miss Catherine Sly); (1915, assistant Miss F. M. Murphy); (1917, assistant Miss Nina Jones); (1919, assistant Miss Elizabeth Heritage); 1920, S. A. Latham; 1922, Alex Jennings (assistant Miss S. Mulhearne); (1924, assistant Mrs Mary Allan); (1926, assistant Miss Adelaide Stenning); (1928, assistant L. Goodwin); (1932, assistant Miss Sheila Paton); 1935, Henry Forge (assistant Mr Norman Gibbs); 1936, Peter Thompson (assistant Miss Eveleen McGowan; 1937, J. A. Heiss; 1941, Robert Lampard; Bill Mulrooney; Val Kesby (assistant Miss Patricia Phillipps); Doug Gamble; Ken Fletcher; Warren Dunnicliff.

Paroo River

The Paroo River, a series of waterholes, connected in wet weather as a running stream of the Darling catchment within the Murray–Darling basin, is located in the South West region of Queensland and Far West region of New South Wales, Australia. It is the home of the Paarkantji people.

St Conan's Church, Egloshayle

The Church of St Conan is an Anglican church on the A389 road near Washaway in Egloshayle, Cornwall, England, UK.

Vaibhavwadi train crash

The Vaibhavwadi train crash was a fatal train derailment near the village of Vaibhavwadi in Sindhudurg district, Maharashtra in India on 23 June 2003.

Valigonda train wreck

The Valigonda rail disaster occurred on 29 October 2005 near the town of Valigonda, south of Hyderabad in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. A flash flood swept away a small rail bridge, and a "Delta Fast Passenger" train traveling on it derailed at the broken section of the line, killing at least 114 people and injuring over 200.

Washout (erosion)

A washout is the sudden erosion of soft soil or other support surfaces by a gush of water, usually occurring during a heavy downpour of rain (a flash flood) or other stream flooding. These downpours may occur locally in a thunderstorm or over a large area, such as following the landfall of a tropical cyclone. If a washout occurs in a crater-like formation, it is called a sinkhole, and it usually involves a leaking or broken water main or sewerage pipes. Other types of sinkholes, such as collapsed caves, are not washouts.

Widespread washouts can occur in mountainous areas after heavy rains, even in normally dry ravines. A severe washout can become a landslide, or cause a dam break in an earthen dam. Like other forms of erosion, most washouts can be prevented by vegetation whose roots hold the soil and/or slow the flow of surface and underground water. Deforestation increases the risk of washouts. Retaining walls and culverts may be used to try to prevent washouts, although particularly severe washouts may even destroy these if they are not large or strong enough.

Zanthus, Western Australia

Zanthus is a remote outpost on the Trans-Australian rail line approximately 210 kilometres (130 mi) east of the regional city of Kalgoorlie in the Goldfields-Esperance region of Western Australia.

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