Rail drainage Specialist water management systems for national rail and light rail networks

A major part of ACO’s portfolio includes manufacturing specialist water management systems for the UK’s national rail and light rail networks. As a long-term supplier to the rail sector, ACO understands the importance of delivering high-performance, sustainable drainage systems.

ACO is involved in all scale of rail projects from HS2 and Crossrail to the Metrolink in Manchester. The extensive product range can be applied to a wide variety of applications including stations and curtilage, platforms, maintenance depots, station parking and parking decks.

Rail drainage solutions

Station and curtilage

In public areas, having a surface water solution that is not vulnerable to vandalism and accidents is important for public safety. In the Kings Cross redevelopment, ACO provided security as well as aesthetic drainage solutions with a line of heel-safe grated MultiDrain MD channels that guards the entrance to the underground.

A number of bespoke stainless steel drainage solutions have been used surrounding the rail hub, including a sleek ACO Brickslot grated channel that drains the centrepiece fountain in Granary Square.


Safety is paramount on platform and in the East Midlands Parkway Station, MultiDrain MD was specified because of the Drainlock™ barless locking system on the gratings. These prevent any vertical movement and can also be easily changed or removed for maintenance.

MultiDrain Monoblock PD100D is a monocast drainage channel that is also a good choice for platform areas.  Simple to install, there is no danger of dislodged gratings and it remains accessible for maintenance purposes.

Maintenance depots

Maintenance depots can place high demands on drainage, and Network Rail’s Three Bridges railway maintenance depot near Crawley had a number of challenges to overcome.  ACO provided various drainage solutions to meet the depot’s high-intensity water demands, which included a 12-car train care building, two carriage washing machines and an under-frame jet wash.

Crawley saw the installation of ACO StormBrixx, a unique geocellular stormwater management system, to store this intense high-water discharge from the train carriage washing. ACO Q-Brake, a vortex control system, was used in conjunction with ACO StormBrixx to control the rate of discharge into the local watercourse.

Trams and light rail

ACO has a number of drainage solutions specifically for tram and light-rail applications. In Greater Manchester’s Metrolink, ACO’s grooved RailDrain boxes offer a one-piece dedicated drainage point to intercept water. ACO TramDrain 200 is a higher-capacity drainage system that is also in place in this light rail system, protecting it where the risk of standing water is higher.

ACO Derailment containment channels provide effective surface drainage whilst acting as a wheel trap in the event of a derailment. The system is installed parallel with the tram track and is fitted with frangible gratings that will collapse if struck by a tram wheel. In the Blackpool tram network, ACO V100G Tram has been used to drain the 4-foot and the grooved rail profile. This product can also be integrated easily into second-stage track slab construction.

Station parking

ACO KerbDrain is a combined drainage and kerb product that has been used in East Midlands Parkway Station to keep the car park clear of standing water. It also removes run-off from the new station access road and with its range of accessories was used to create the bus and taxi pull-ins along the main entrance apron.

In the expansion of Northallerton Railway Station car park, six bypass oil separators, ACO Q-Ceptors, were installed to remove the oil and silt from the surface water before it discharged to the water course. The compact design was ideal for the limited excavation depth available in this location.

Parking decks

More bespoke drainage solutions are required in places where space is limited, such as in parking decks or in King’s Cross Square, which sits just 500mm above the roof of the London Underground ticket hall. ACO Deckline, a shallow invert channel drainage system, is ideally suited to sit above structural slabs or where excavation depth is limited such as in parking decks.

ACO Modular 125 is another channel drainage option designed for restricted installation areas, as it has a shallow depth and a Vee-bottomed profile to improve hydraulic flow and enable self-cleansing. This has been used in Docklands Light Railway and is made from corrosion-resistant stainless steel for the demanding conditions seen there.

How we can assist you

The ACO Design Services Team is able to work closely with you through the entire airport drainage project requirements. We also offer design surface software for you to make your own calculations, as well as BIM product files to support the latest efficient project delivery methods.

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