Scientific evidence shows that the warming of the global climate system is unequivocal: global average temperatures are higher than they were in past centuries and they continue to increase. As a result, seas and oceans are warming, polar ice caps are melting, sea levels are rising, and there are more varied and extreme weather patterns.
The severity of these impacts is expected to be correlated to the level of preparedness for climate change. In the worst case scenarios, climate change will endanger critical infrastructure and territorial integrity, challenging the resilience of socio-economic systems. Higher average temperatures; rising sea levels; more frequent floods and heat waves; wetter winters and dryer summers will create specific risks for railway assets, operations and maintenance, staff and passengers.
The railway industry in Great Britain has already introduced a wide range of measures to mitigate climate change. For example, Network Rail has developed and published climate change adaptation plans for all routes. It has also established a climate change resilience steering group to strengthen governance and adaptive capacity, and has recruited a range of specialists in the field.
This page describes the latest learning on railway systems' resilience to current and future weather and climate events emerging from
RSSB's 'T1009 Tomorrow's Railway and Climate Change Adaptation' research programme which was authorised in June 2012. It is funded jointly by RSSB and Network Rail and within its five year programme, builds upon the previous
T925 research project , completed in 2011. The project is supported by a consortium involving Arup, British Geological Society, CIRIA, JBA Consulting, Met Office, Transport Research Laboratory, University of Birmingham and University College London. The project is overseen by RSSB,
Network Rail and
John Dora Consulting .