Climate Change and Weather Impact 

The railway system as whole, and many of the sub-systems such as signalling and rolling stock, is sensitive to extreme weather conditions and the changing climate. This can result in delays, speed restrictions and equipment or infrastructure failures which disrupt the network operation. This disruption can be especially severe on heavily-used networks such as that in the UK because of the interaction and interdependency between sub-systems and services. Addressing these issues to improve the resilience of the network is of primary concern to everyone involved, from government through to passengers. BCRRE is at the forefront of developing new ways to improve resilience holistically, from ground-breaking work on the quantification of resilience through to adaptation measures for specific sub-systems and interdependencies that can phased in as the climate changes and extreme weather conditions become more frequent.

railway tracks

Projects include:

  • Developing quantitative methods to evaluate the UK transport network’s resilience to extreme weather events and the effects of climate change (FUTIRENET)
  • Proof-of-concept in mapping operational delay data caused by sever weather-related events in both time and space (REWARD)
  • Identifying best practice and developing new methodologies to assist transport operators, authorities and transport system users to mitigate the impact of natural disasters and extreme weather phenomena on transport system performance (MOWE-IT)
  • Funded by RSSB, the TRaCCA project first reviewed and provided a platform for the dissemination of existing knowledge on climate change impacts for all sectors of the rail industry, and assessed gaps in the existing knowledge to set priorities for further research into climate change vulnerabilities. This laid the groundwork for a further eight strands of work which will enable a step-change in the weather and climate resilience of the GB railway
  • Operation of trains through flood water where various different scenarios were modelled to assess behaviour at different speeds and different levels of flood.  The project enables consistent and simple guidance and rules to be identified, for Network Rail and train operators to apply in terms of running trains safely when tracks are flooded