Author: Rob Hakimian

Future of rail: How rail industry is fighting back against extreme weather events

Source(s): New Civil Engineer
Two construction workers working on railway tracks.
M Barratt/Shutterstock

Increased frequency of extreme weather events is taking its toll on rail infrastructure but the industry is collaborating with academia to strengthen assets against future conditions.


Innovations in play

Some of the simplest innovations that Network Rail has already put into practice are extensions of the traditional line-side inspections.

In 2021, Network Rail installed 60 solar powered weather stations to monitor extreme weather conditions in real time. They can measure wind speed and direction, air temperature, humidity, dew point and rainfall totals, reporting the data back to the control centre. This saves resources as teams can be deployed directly to where the weather is at its worst.

Drones have also been added to Network Rail’s arsenal. These allow assets to be monitored from a distance – sometimes many kilometres away, increasing monitoring efficiency and improving safety as workers do not have to head out in extreme conditions or to hazardous areas.


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