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Wet spot on South Western Main Line, Winchester Station

Wet bed, South Western Main Line, up-line at Winchester station.

Flooding at Hinton Admiral, Hampshire

Flooding at Hinton Admiral station, Hampshire, 14 February 2014, which caused the imposition of severe speed restrictions. Note third rail power supply.

Design of Railway Drainage Systems

Track and off-track drainage

Morton-Roberts has the ability to design new track and off-track drainage in accordance with the Railway Drainage Systems Manual (NR/L3/CIV/005) and this includes the production of calculations to satisfy the applicable technical approvals.

We are also able carry out assessments of existing railway drainage systems in accordance with part 2D of the Manual together with the design of remedial work to address any deficiencies identified. This process includes assessments of the hydraulic capacity of existing railway drainage systems.

Track drainage - background

Track drainage controls the water within the Track Support System (that is the formation, ballast, capping layers, geosynthetics, etc, beneath the track itself). Track drainage is vital for the continued efficient operation of the line as a whole, for example, poor track drainage can lead to 'wet beds'. That is the failure of the track bed showing itself as the early failure of the ballast, resulting in additional maintenance and remedial costs together with an increased risk of broken rails.

Other drainage works can also help to reduce train delays and improve the efficiency of the maintenance of the civil engineering infrastructure along the line. For instance, work on culverts can reduce the number of flooding problems affecting railway services while efficient crest drains, etc, can reduce the need for future remedial works to earthworks.

Drainage for lineside buildings, maintenance depots, stations, etc

We can also design the drainage associated with new or refurbished lineside buildings, depots, stations and other railway related buildings such as offices, freight terminals, etc. This might include the surface water drainage for platforms, canopies, roofs and any associated paved areas together with the arrangements for the off-site disposal of the run-off, if required. The latter includes discharges to the ground, to watercourses or to public sewers as appropriate. We can also design any necessary foul drainage.

For further information please see Drainage for New Developments and SUDS.


We have a capability in the design and assessment of all types of railway drainage, please contact us for further details.


Drainage for New Developments

Expert Witness

Flood Risk Assessments

Flood Consequence Assessments


River Modelling

About Morton-Roberts

Recent Projects

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