Rail network in East Midlands to spend £27m to improve drainage as climate change worsens

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£27m is to be spent by Network Rail to improve drainage on the East Midlands’ rail network, helping to prevent major disruption brought to passengers by landslips and heavy rain.

Over the past year, there have been multiple incidents of landslips and flooding across the East Midlands network, including at Braybrooke, near Market Harborough, and Draycott, near Derby, causing major disruption to passengers and communities.

These incidents can potentially be dangerous as well as expensive and time consuming to resolve.

April marks the start of Network Rail’s latest five-year control period (funding cycle) and £27m is earmarked for investment to improve drainage in the East Midlands to help prevent incidents such as these.  

This will include the creation of 22 new dedicated drainage roles on the route, as well as investment in new and existing technology, including remote condition monitoring and CCTV, and the use of natural flood management techniques to manage water before it reaches the rail network.

Network Rail will also use technology to predict and proactively prevent failures and is working to better understand what it can do to remove and reduce issues at flood risk sites. This involves liaising and engaging with multiple stakeholders at sites, including the Environment Agency, local authorities, utility companies, and landowners.

Network Rail’s East Midlands route serves close to 100 stations from major towns and cities including Leicester, Nottingham, Derby, and Bedford as well as more rural communities including Stamford, Oakham, and Spalding, and heading across to the coast at Skegness.

Over the next five years, the route will spend £1.5bn on the day-to-today running of the railway and a widespread programme of renewals and upgrades on the network, improving the experience of passengers as they travel by train.

With this funding, Network Rail’s East Midlands route is committed to delivering a more reliable and greener rail network. Work continues to electrify the Midland Main Line alongside day-to-day investment which will improve climate resilience and connect communities.

Tara Scott, Infrastructure Director for Network Rail’s East Midlands route, said: “Over the next five years, we are committed to making the rail network across our route better for all our passengers.

“Climate change is an ever-increasing problem for our aging infrastructure, but we are proactively working to tackle the issue and improve the reliability and resilience of our network.

“We are investing in technology to help us better predict and prevent flooding and landslips across our route, as well as creating 22 new drainage roles in our teams.  We’re also carrying out targeted investment to prepare for the extremes of hot and cold weather.

“In addition to this specific investment, our teams will also be carrying out major improvements to track, switches & crossings, the equipment used for trains to cross from one track to another, signals, level crossings, and more to make sure our railway is meeting the needs of passengers and our freight customers.”

Nationally, Network Rail has announced the start of its £45.4bn rail improvement plan aimed at delivering a simpler, better, greener railway, with major plans to tackle the extremes of climate change.

Image credit: Network Rail

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