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Rail – Weather and climate services

Adverse weather is a significant contributor to performance issues, cancellations of services and safety incidents. Network, train and freight operators’ vulnerable assets and infrastructure are impacted by a range of weather hazards, from heat related incidents due to buckling to tree leaves on the line during autumn.

Our specialist forecasts, datasets and consultancy are designed to help rail operators run their services safely and on time, whatever the weather. We develop and deliver bespoke and innovative weather solutions that meet the needs of a high capacity, digital railway.

Why choose Met Office services for the rail industry?

Accessing accurate weather and climate information allows your organisation to make more informed decisions to improve performance and safety.

Our team of experienced rail consultants:

  • work with you to integrate our extensive weather and climate knowledge to deliver effective solutions for specific weather hazard vulnerabilities
  • develop bespoke data and forecast services that optimise the latest and most applicable scientific advancements in weather and climate models
  • produce accurate leaf-fall, low adhesion and wind throw forecasts at high spatial and temporal resolutions for a range of lead times
  • provide innovative solutions through consultancy
According to the Rail Safety and Standards Board, autumn-related issues are estimated to cost the railway industry approximately £345 million per year.

Our services for the rail industry at a glance

Leaf-fall and low adhesion risk predictions

Accurate and spatially targeted leaf-fall and low adhesion predictions are used to inform mitigation strategies, reducing the likelihood of safety breaches (e.g. Category A SPADS, station overruns and wrong-side track circuit failures), as well as performance issues.

Working with our latest scientific weather models and a wealth of environmental data, the Met Office have developed a trusted suite of models to predict when and where leaf-fall, low levels of moisture or fallen trees may occur on the network.

Our colour coded leaf-fall and low adhesion forecasts inform key decision makers at a range of spatial and temporal scales:

  • bespoke spatial representation depending on user requirement (e.g. site-specific hotspots, station-to-station sections, line of routes or regions)
  • temporal resolutions of hourly through to daily depending on lead time
  • targeted low adhesion guidance summaries
  • for medium-term planning, forecasts are available 10 days in advance, whilst our Autumn Prospect reports provide weather and leaf-fall insight for the coming autumn

Data services

Our data and forecast services are tailored to your requirements and covers all aspects of rail operations, from works maintenance and contingency planning to day-to-day decision-making:

  • forecast and historical data
  • site or area-specific
  • bespoke time periods
  • site-specific weather forecasts, including rail temperature and rail state information

Research and consultancy

Working closely with you, we develop the most advanced scientific solutions to the rail industry’s specific challenges, including:

  • using new science to develop operational services and improve network efficiency
  • analysing weather information and your data to understand performance and high-impact incidents on the network
  • climate change impacts and adaptation
  • partnering with technology providers to integrated decision support tools in driver cabs and operational centres

"We were able to cut the length of time we treated the rail heads by two weeks – this saving alone paid for the service.”

Gary Cooley, Operations Technical Manager, Translink

Case study – How Translink benefited from our leaf fall adhesion forecast service

Related link

Hazard and risk management services for emergency responders

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