TrackWater: Supporting High-Value, Low-Cost Rail Network Drainage Asset Management

Lead Participant: In Touch Limited


The rail network relies on an extensive system of trackside drains to remove surface water and minimise the risk of flooding and damage to the network. Failure to maintain the drainage infrastructure can have significant cost and safety implications for the parent asset; such as delay minutes, poor track geometry, line closures and the likelihood of earthwork failures. Our focus is on improving the performance of the rail infrastructure's drainage system - a critical, yet often overlooked element of the network infrastructure in order to help "design, build and operate railway infrastructure at reduced cost". Our approach is to leverage previous work on an innovative self-learning system for maintaining drainage networks in the highways sector and adapt this technology – including the IoT sensor network, data models and decision support system - for use in the rail sector. This represents a major advance in the state of the art as it will address key challenges identified by Network Rail and enable proactive maintenance of trackside drainage assets. Our consortium includes Network Rail as a challenge owner, InTouch Ltd as a technology supplier and primary route to market, and a strong science base consisting of the Transport Systems Catapult and Lancaster University. The resulting system will be tested on 14 miles of Network Rail test track.

Lead Participant

Project Cost

Grant Offer

In Touch Limited, Morecombe £590,734 £ 413,514


Transport Systems Catapult, Milton Keynes, United Kingdom £58,201 £ 58,201
Lancaster University £116,174 £ 116,174
Network Rail Infrastructure Limited, BIRMINGHAM £48,189 £ 48,189


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