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EMS and the University of Sheffield are working to future-proof our rail infrastructure against the effects of climate change

25 November 2022

Dr Sonja Ostojin headshot

Dr Sonja Ostojin

Head of Innovation

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Flooded railway

We’re working with researchers at the University of Sheffield as part of the team awarded a £400,000 grant in the First of a Kind 2022 (FOAK) competition, to develop innovative technology that will protect our railway networks from the increasing effects of flooding.

Our Head of Innovation, Dr Sonja Ostojin and Dr Andy Nichols from the Department of Civil & Structural Engineering at the University of Sheffield were successful in their bid to bring their innovation to life to work towards better rail travel. FOAK is funded by the Department for Transport and Innovate UK to help innovators and inventors bring novel technologies to the rail market.

Rail Flood Defender is the innovative technology that will future-proof rail transport against the effects of climate change where more intense and regular rainstorm events can cause dangerous flooding events. Current drainage measures in place on our rail infrastructure can be easily compromised during extreme weather events. Track flooding can cause delays for passengers and cause costly damage to infrastructure. It can also affect other assets, such as nearby structures and signalling, which can endanger human life.

Rail Flood Defender is intelligent holistic rail drainage management that will carry stormwater safely away from the track via a system of pipes and channels – aiming to protect the railway system and mitigate any impact on adjacent land. It uses AI-powered automated real-time control (RTC) – autonomous active flow control automates mechanical and electrical equipment to control water flows in drainage systems and prevents them from being overloaded during extreme rainfall.

EMS has spent many years working with researchers at the University of Sheffield to bring innovative solutions to market.  Being a successful part of this funding venture means that we can continue to deliver innovation and technologies that will improve our infrastructure, help us to tackle the effects of climate change, and to deliver solutions that will help to revolutionise the future of travel for generations to come.

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