The Anonymous Widower

Rail Flood Defender

This project was one of the winners in the First Of A Kind 2022 competition run by Innovate UK.

In this document, this is said about the project.

Project No: 10038342

Project title: Rail Flood Defender
Lead organisation: University of Sheffield
Project grant: £249,770

Public description: Rail Flood Defender will deliver a more reliable railway network that is safer for all stakeholders,
and empower Network Rail (NR) and the UK to become global leaders in intelligent holistic rail
drainage management. It will future-proof rail transport against the effects of climate change where
more intense and regular rainstorm events are expected.

The project will explore principles of autonomous active flow control to reduce manual operations
associated with protecting rail infrastructure from the effects of flooding. It achieves this by taking
the latest advances in edge computing and applying it to real-time automation of mechanical and
electrical equipment to control the flows in rail drainage systems, thus protecting the track drainage
from being overloaded and flooded during rainstorm events.

The importance of managing rail drainage infrastructure cannot be overstated. It is designed to
carry stormwater safely water away from the track via a system of pipes and channels. When
drainage infrastructure is compromised or inadequate, flooding can occur. Flooding causes delays
to passengers and costs to asset owners, but crucially can also affect other assets such as
structures and signalling, which endangers human life (e.g. Watford Tunnel
Derailment This
project aims to collaboratively investigate the application of AI-powered automated real-time control
(RTC) for protecting the railway system and mitigating any impact on adjacent land.
The feasibility project will identify how the following benefits and sustainability opportunities can be

  • Reduce risk of rail services being disrupted during rainstorm events.
  • Make the drainage design process more efficient.
  • Avoid capitally and spatially expensive flood solutions (e.g. stormwater retention tanks).
  • Provide a means for automated flushing to clear blockages (reduce manual intervention).
  • Reduce surcharging on adjacent rural or urban areas.
  • Explore additional opportunities such as rainwater harvesting for agriculture.

My Thoughts And Conclusions

Fifty years ago, I wrote and provided the software, that the Water Resources Board used to plan the water flows and new reservoirs in a large part of England. As over the intervening years, there have been few water shortages due to lack of reservoirs, I am led to believe that the WRB must have done a good job.

Now fifty years later our computing capabilities are much more advanced and I feel that the aims of this project are readily achievable.

November 18, 2022 - Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. […] 10038342 – Rail Flood Defender […]

    Pingback by First Of A Kind 2022 Winners Announced « The Anonymous Widower | November 18, 2022 | Reply

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