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Trackwater 2.0 - Building Resilience in the drainage network

Project Overview


Over the last few months Trackwater’s innovative drainage management solution has been deployed in live trials on 3 sites along 3 different Network Rails routes, as part of a Network Rail funded project managed through Innovate UK.

The TrackWater 2.0 consortium, comprising of InTouch, Network Rail, Lancaster University and Connected Places Catapult, has deployed 18 innovative Internet of Things sensors collecting real-time data on drainage asset condition, and delivering this information to Network Rail engineers through its web portal and email alerts.

Drainage is a hidden yet critical part of the network, and asset failure has the potential to have significant financial and safety implications from delay minutes, line closures to earthwork failures. In the last 5 years Network Rail have had to compensate operators in excess of £90m for delay minutes caused by flooding.

It is believed that by monitoring drainage asset performance remotely Network Rail engineers will be able to plan and undertake preventative rather than reactive maintenance, reducing the risk of flooding and therefore delays. While in the longer term the data collected will provide valuable insight into asset performance and condition that can inform asset renewals.

This trial has enabled the project team to demonstrate and train Network Rail on the installation processes, test the technology on the network and develop the dashboards to deliver the data back to Network Rail. All of which is being been done in collaboration with Network Rail to ensure Trackwater can be successfully integrated with Network Rail systems and workflows and data is delivered in a useable and meaningful way.


The Showcase


On 26th January 2021, the project team will be hosting a virtual showcase to demonstrate the innovative technology developed as part of the project, which compromises of specifically designed IoT sensors collecting silt and water level readings, combining the readings with other data sets to predict drainage conditions and flood risks to inform appropriate maintenance regimes.

Members of the project team will also discuss the trial deployments and the findings so far from the trials.

This showcase will be of benefit to anyone interested in drainage management, IoT, remote monitoring and technology and systems for predictive maintenance.

You can find more information and register for the event by clicking here


Project History



The Smart Clean project designed and implemented an internet of things (IoT) approach to the management of highways surface water. Through predictive maintenance this has been shown to deliver a potential 80% reduction in cleaning for drainage assets, while real-time status updates minimise the risk of flooding by ensuring gullies are cleaned when they cease to perform as intended.

You can watch the project video by clicking here



The Smart Clean solution was adapted and refined to create a variant designed for the rail network. The resulting system has been tested at Network Rails RIDC (Rail Innovation and Development Centre) test track at Melton Mowbray.

You can watch the project video by clicking here


Taking the learnings from the first Trackwater project the solution was taken from the test track onto the rail network with 10 sensors installed at trial sites in Miskin in Wales, 4 in Walton, Cheshire and 4 in Stonehaven, Scotland. The trials aim to demonstrate how this technology can be integrated into a rail environment for the first time, representing a major innovation in the rail industry addressing key challenges identified by Network Rail and enable proactive maintenance of trackside drainage assets.


Published Articles regarding Trackwater



Coronavirus: Running The Rail Network From Home, By Mike Harding, Lancaster University

Maintainer Perspectives on Data-driven Transport Asset Management and the Future Role of the Internet-of-Things, By Mike Harding, Mark Rouncefield & Nigel Davies, Lancaster University

Trackwater: Optimising railway drainage maintenance using IoT sensors, By Olivia Devan, Network Rail


The Consortium


InTouch – an SME focused on radio communications systems and SmartWater, an innovative approach to drainage asset management and flood prevention. InTouch are the lead partner and technology supplier on Trackwater 2.0.

Network Rail – the owner and infrastructure manager for the rail network in the UK, who own the drainage assets and are a potential customer and integration partner for Trackwater.

Lancaster University – ranked amongst the top 10 universities in the UK, Lancaster University are leading the R&D that underpins the evaluation of the technology.

Connected Places Catapult