Novel integrated drainage assessment to improve rail safety and reduce operational costs

Lead Research Organisation: University of Sheffield
Department Name: Civil and Structural Engineering


- Provide a framework of Whole Life Cost model that can be applied across the
railway drainage network.
- Develop a drainage system performance assessment regime so that NR can
have a thorough realisation of the impact of poor drainage.
- Identify high risk / critical drainage assets within the system. This will provide
the foundation of a more robust and economic maintenance scheme.
- Analyse the residual asset life and deterioration patterns of existing assets in
order to assist maintaining aged drainage assets.
- Build a decision support tool that can help NR prioritise drainage work based
on budgets and risks.

Potential outcome:
- Increase asset knowledge - gain in depth understanding of the drainage
system's capacity and performance.
- Budget planning - with a WLC model, the lifetime expenditure is taken into
consideration, which will help with overall budget forecasting and allocation.
- Decision support - WLC approach helps asset managers to make
comprehensive and robust strategic management decisions for NRs drainage
- Reduce risk - studying the railway drainage system in detail will allow NR to
understand its weakness and control, if not eliminate, the risks associated
with drainage failure.
- Improve service - maintaining the drainage system at a desired performance
level will reduce disruption to train operators and increase the reliability of
the railway network for passengers.
- Improve reputation - relationship with neighbours would be improved if
there were fewer ooding events, which can be achieved with a better
designed maintained drainage system.

- Although WLC is widely used in many sectors, it has not been applied to the
UK railway network. This project will provide a whole life cost model tailored
to the UK railway drainage system, considering the uniqueness and
complexity of costs associated with the railway business operation.
- The scope of the WLC model is both strategic and tactical. On a strategic
level, it can help asset manager with future budget planning on the whole
drainage system. On a tactical level, WLC can be applied to individual asset,
providing Routes engineers with a renewal, maintenance and utilisation
option for each asset.
- Unlike other piped system such as water distribution and wastewater
disposal, the hydraulic performance of railway drainage can be fully realised
and assessed and linked to the WLC in this work. Compared to the complex
interlinks in other systems, railway drainage systems it is relatively simple as
they often only composed of two or three parallel pipelines alongside the
track, and hence require less computational power to be analysed.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/R512175/1 01/10/2017 30/09/2021
1983910 Studentship EP/R512175/1 03/10/2017 02/10/2021 Yiqi Wu