The £18 million Hinksey flood alleviation scheme is helping protect a busy section of mainline railway between London and the Midlands from flooding, increasing resilience of the UK rail network.

This section of railway at Hinksey, Oxford, UK, has an extensive history of flooding – it was identified as one of the top 10 priority sites requiring increased resilience following damage caused by recent winter storms. Since 2000, it has become inundated with floodwater on average every two years, with climate change expected to worsen this significantly.

We provided multidisciplinary services to deliver this high-profile project, taking the design from feasibility to implementation, to deliver the works during a short 16-day planned closure of the railway line in August 2016.

We undertook extensive flood modelling of the Hinksey area and proposed infrastructure improvements so as to minimise the rail network downtime – keeping customer disruption to a minimum. Infrastructure improvements included increasing track bed height and installing large culverts to increase conveyance of flow in a very technically challenging region – with the aim to increase resilience as opposed to flood prevention.

The scheme will help Network Rail avoid fines associated with inoperability of the railway, potentially leading to savings of approximately £200 million. We are using the same principals to increase resilience of the mainline as part of the proposed Oxford flood alleviation scheme.