Surface water flood forecasting and early warning system for Network Rail

We have been awarded funding by the 2020 Rail Innovation Programme to develop a first-of-a-kind surface water flood forecasting and early warning system for Network Rail. The system will support optimised railway operations through a real-time decision-support system.


The 2020 Rail Innovation Programme, funded by the Department for Transport and delivered by Innovate UK in partnership with the Knowledge Transfer Network, awarded £9.4 million to 25 outstanding projects that would make railways cleaner, greener and more passenger-friendly. Our challenge was to provide evidence that by combining our Flood Foresight technology with high-resolution numerical weather prediction data, we could create a first-of-a-kind technology that could be used by railway operators to accurately forecast the likelihood of surface water flood events.


Our previous work for Network Rail means we have a good understanding of detailed mapping locations that are vulnerable to surface water hazards. By combining this asset level data with Flood Foresight probabilistic estimates of heavy rainfall and surface water accumulations, we were able to create a system that produces consistent flood information on surface water events, alerts and warnings, nationwide.


Users of this technology will benefit from asset-specific surface water flood information, alerts, and warnings, in addition to being able to view surface water flood information in map format. Generated by integrating the forecast flood extent with existing asset metadata (location, elevation, asset type, etc.), this information can be used to prioritise early action to mitigate flood and heavy rainfall impact and minimise disruption.

Ultimately, this will enable proactive flood management to reduce the overall impacts experienced by operators, maintainers (including planning by third-party suppliers) and users of the national network.

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Want to know more?

For more information about this project please John Bevington. Click here for more information on our Flood Foresight technology.


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Technology, Data and Software Development

Delivering transformative technology that is pioneering in the pursuit of flood, water and environmental resilience.

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Modelling and Assessment

Developing leading resilience strategies and solutions founded on the integrated modelling and assessment of water quantity, quality and environmental processes.

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Working within a robust and mature digital delivery environment, our engineering specialists work closely with our modelling, hydrology and environmental teams to ensure designs are developed to create efficient, low-carbon and sustainable solutions.

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Environment and Sustainability

Our specialists in landscape, heritage, ecology, fisheries, EIA, planning and sustainability all work collaboratively with our engineering designers, modellers and our project managers to develop resilient places.

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Resilience and Water Management

Our proven skills and experience make us a natural partner to help support communities and organisations to become more resilient. We support and empower our clients to manage the twin risks of flood and drought, encouraging and delivering effective water management.

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International Development

Working with communities across the world to identify and mitigate flood and environmental risks, support sustainable development and build resilience.

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