The Future Cost to the United Kingdom's Railway Network of Heat-related Delays and Buckles Caused by the Predicted Increase in High Summer Temperatures Owing to Climate Change

Climate change predictions suggest a trend towards hotter drier summers in the United Kingdom. At extreme high temperatures the railway network is prone to dangerous, damaging, and expensive rail buckles. In order to reduce the risk of a rail buckle, emergency speed restrictions are introduced which can be costly. This article presents a quantification of the effects of higher summer temperatures due to climate change on the U.K. railway network. A combination of analog techniques and a weather generator are used to establish trends between heat-related delays and temperatures. Costs are assigned to the change in frequency and severity of delays and evidence-based recommendations are made for future operations. The results demonstrate that the costs incurred as a result of the hot summer of 2003 will become typical in the 2050s (high emissions scenario) and 2080s (low emissions scenario). If no changes are made to maintenance regimes, it is estimated that the total costs of heat-related delays will eventually double to nearly £23 M during extreme summers.

  • Availability:
  • Authors:
    • Dobney, K
    • Baker, C J
    • Chapman, I
    • Quinn, A D
  • Publication Date: 2010


  • English

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  • Accession Number: 01154244
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Apr 8 2010 5:30PM