Railway platform during heavy rain

RSSB: Step changes in approach can make rail more sustainable

Rail industry body RSSB have called for “step changes in rail’s approach” to both data and strategy if the industry is to successfully adapt for climate change and become safer and more sustainable.

The calls were made following the release of a new report by the independent Climate Change Committee (CCC), titled Adaption Committee’s Independent Assessment of UK Climate Risk.

In particular, the report found the gap between the levels of risk faced and our readiness to adapt had grown. This included challenges around increasing economic and environmental pressures, with strains on energy supplies, homes, infrastructure and the natural environment.

Within the rail industry, extreme weather events will prove an increasing challenge for asset management.

The technical report makes reference to the impact played by heavy rainfall on earthworks which caused a derailment at Carmont in August 2020, killing three and injuring six people.

To help reduce this gap once more, RSSB intends to analyse more of the data available to them to generate novel safety insights which can support industry decision making.

Already, the team has been able to work on key topics such as staff assaults at stations during the pandemic, signals passed at danger (SPADs), track worker safety and Covid-19 transmission.

RSSB’s Thomas Chenneour-Adams joined RTM earlier this year as a keynote speaker at our Rail Safety virtual event. View Thomas’ talk, and much more, on-demand by registering to our platform here.

RSSB is working with Network Rail to investigate infrastructure asset risk, including the impact of extreme weather on earthworks and operational decisions.

Following the release of the CCC report, RSSB’s Director of Sustainable Development, George Davies said: “This is a wake-up call for the UK as a whole, but for rail there are specific challenges where we need a more proactive agenda.

“Rail leaders and policy makers I talk to are ready to commit to a new coherent and industry-wide strategy which puts rail at the heart of a sustainable transport system.

“Our data experts are already working to generate novel insights to support asset resilience and adaptation.

“These are big challenges and we all need to do more to ensure rail can weather the storm.”

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