A recently developed method for modelling the effect of vertical drains in plane strain finite element analyses of consolidation beneath embankments on soft ground is applied to three case histories. Analyses are reported for the consolidation of the soil served by a single drain (a unit cell) under conditions of no lateral strain. In all three cases a good match was obtained between the average degrees of consolidation in an axisymmetric unit cell and the equivalent plane strain unit cell. This suggests that the method could be used to facilitate full two-dimensional analyses of many embankments. The results of the analyses are also compared with the available field data.