Passengers set to benefit from £6 million flood alleviation scheme: Engineers install a new pipe which will carry rain water away

Thursday 16 Feb 2017

Passengers set to benefit from £6 million flood alleviation scheme


Hundreds of thousands of London commuters are set to benefit from a £6m flood alleviation scheme just completed by Network Rail.

The company has installed a new drainage system at Fulwell station in Richmond-upon-Thames to tackle the recurring problem of flooding on the railway in the area.

The railway through Fulwell has been subject to flooding since its construction in 1864, when it was built below ground water level because it needed to pass under the Longford River. Flooding on the line causes damage to the electric and signalling equipment, which results in delays to services through Fulwell and on the wider route.

The new pumping system installed by Network Rail, which was officially commissioned on Friday, 3 February, will now take excess rain water into a newly built storage lagoon, before being released gradually into existing drains. The lagoon, which is split into two parts, can hold a total of up to 2 million litres of rain water.

Becky Lumlock, route managing director at Network Rail, said: “Passengers using the railway at Fulwell know all too well the problems that flooding can cause, so I’m really pleased that as part of our Railway Upgrade Plan for a better railway, we’re delivering the biggest improvement to flooding at the station in 150 years.

“When working at full capacity, the new pumping system can move 225 litres of water a second. At this speed, they could empty an Olympic sized swimming pool (2.5 million litres) in just three hours, which will make an enormous difference at the station.

 “A number of attempts have been made over the years to tackle the flooding problem, but as a result of the improvements we have made over the last year passengers will now experience fewer incidences of delays.”

Adam Piddington, customer service director for South West Trains, added: “We appreciate how frustrating it has been for passengers in recent years when flooding has affected services. It is good news this brand new system is now up and running and ready to help improve passenger journeys.”

The line between Shepperton and Fulwell was closed for two weeks in July 2016 while Network Rail installed large sections of the new drainage equipment. Engineers continued implementing the new system to get it up and running and this work is now complete.



The railway line at Fulwell was originally built in 1864 as a freight line. In 1901 the first passenger services began, and the line was electrified in 1916.

In order to be at the right level to connect with the Kingston Loop, which was built just one year earlier in 1863, it needed to pass under the Longford River, meaning the railway line was built below the water level and the river passed above in an aqueduct over the railway. As a result, the railway line at Fulwell has been subject to flooding since its construction. This flooding causes damage to the equipment which in turn causes delays to services through Fulwell and knock-on delays to the wider network.

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About Network Rail

Network Rail owns, manages and develops Britain's railway - the 20,000 miles of track, 40,000 bridges and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations (the largest of which we also run). In partnership with train operators we help people take more than 1.65bn journeys by rail every year and move hundreds of millions of tonnes of freight, saving almost 8m lorry journeys. We employ 38,000 people across Britain and work round-the-clock, each and every day, to provide a safe, reliable railway.

About the Railway Upgrade Plan

The Railway Upgrade Plan is Network Rail's investment plan for Britain's railways. It makes up two-thirds of Network Rail's £40bn spending priorities for the five years to 2019 and represents the biggest sustained programme of rail modernisation since the Victoria era. It is designed to provide more capacity, relieve crowding and respond to the tremendous growth Britain's railways continue to experience; passenger numbers have doubled in the past 20 years and are set to double again over the next 25 years - so we need to continue to invest in building a bigger, better railway. For passengers, that means:

  • longer, faster more frequent trains;
  • better, more reliable infrastructure; and
  • better facilities for passengers, especially at stations.

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