UK: A project has been launched which aims to combine real-time measurement of water levels, weather forecasting, historical data and smart analysis to prevent the flooding of railway lines.
The TrackWater project is being undertaken by InTouch Ltd, Network Rail, Lancaster University and the Transport Systems Catapult, with funding from Innovate UK and the Department for Transport. Installation of water level sensors at the infrastructure manager’s Melton Mowbray test track is set to get underway in November, with trials scheduled to run until April.
This approach is already used on major roads, allowing highway authorities to target drain maintenance activities such as silt removal at locations where it will have the most effect on reducing the impact of predicted weather. The trials will look at whether this could work in the rail sector, and assist the process of obtaining approval for the equipment to be used on railways.
The project aims to ‘understand and overcome the challenges of adopting more automated, data-driven approaches to drainage management’, said Mike Harding of Lancaster University.
‘TrackWater, in collaboration with transport maintenance companies, is providing a unique opportunity to better understand the real-world challenges of deploying emerging cyber-physical, data-driven technologies in a domain that traditionally has relied significantly on local knowledge to inform decision-making’, he added. ‘Through providing a greater awareness of the performance of the drainage network, Network Rail can perform more targeted maintenance and avoid costly incidents that result from flooding.’