Network Rail Spotlight On Flooding, Prevention, And Repair

But not in West Lancashire, no culvert work for Burscough

In August 2018 Network Rail stated “In September we’ll start work on a £9 million flood defence scheme on our Wessex route to better protect the railway line.

“We’ll reduce the likelihood of local flooding from a one in five-year risk, to a one in 20-year risk by installing two 550-tonne underground culverts, tunnels carrying drains, at Axe Valley in Devon. In July, we completed culvert installation work near Exeter as part of £26.5m flood alleviation scheme for the south west”.

Flooding in the Cowley area had been a longstanding problem that had had a devastating impact on this part of the Great Western Mainline, resulting in numerous delays and closures.

The Cowley culverts project was one of the schemes under the Department for Transport’s £26.5m Flood Resilience Programme. It was established after extreme weather in 2012 and 2014 caused extensive disruption to the rail network. Its aim is to reduce the risk of flooding at key locations in the Thames Valley and south west and ensure that when flooding does occur, train services can be resumed at a quicker rate, reducing disruption for passengers. A culvert (pictured) is just one example of how we deal with flooding on the railway… Anglia-Gipsy-Lane-level-crossing-Culvert-Underpass

Many sections of the railway were built in cuttings and tunnels that are lower than the surrounding area. Other lines sit on flat, low-lying land with limited drainage that can be overwhelmed by heavy rain. For these reasons, many of our lines can flood, and this can cause serious problems for the railway. That’s why we’re always looking for ways to prevent floods happening in future.

Building on land near the railway can also increase flooding because rain that previously would have soaked into the ground can run off the new hard ground and onto the tracks. To help prevent this, we review planning applications for developments near railway lines to make sure the drainage systems proposed are adequate.

When flood water drains away, it can wash away the ‘ballast’ the bed of stones that supports the sleepers and this destabilises the track. To make the line safe again, this ballast must be relaid.

How we reduce the effects of flooding and prevent delays • We continually monitor the weather – as soon as we receive a flood warning from the Environment Agency and Flood Forecasting Centre, we send people and equipment to at-risk areas so we’re in position to act quickly. • We deploy flood defence systems, including barriers with a membrane that seals to prevent water getting through, and inflatable barriers filled with water. • Branches, leaves and debris in ditches and drainage systems prevent water runoff – so we clear these out both on and near the trackThanks to our ongoing project to build pumping stations in flood-prone locations, we have the resources in place to enable us to quickly pump flood water away when needed.

Upgrades to Liverpool Lime Street, the Halton Curve project and new Maghull North station are a few of the vital schemes that form part of a £340m railway investment in the Liverpool City Region by the end of 2019. This work also sits within the wider Great North Rail Project to transform rail travel for customers across the North of England. 
21st century signalling upgrade will mean more reliable journeys for passengers and will help to minimise delays by enabling faster decision making on the railway.

Readers might wonder how and why such massive emphasis is placed on vast investments in Liverpool City Region but no mention of funding of any kind in nearby Burscough where the only flood pumps are in a private residence and the branches, leaves and debris are never cleaned out under the railway line? 21st century signalling with Victorian age Network Rail flood defences in Crabtree Lane! 

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