Railway tracks covered with autumn leaves

Impacts on the rail industry

What is the risk?

Climate change poses many potential issues for the rail industry, as infrastructure and services could be affected by higher temperatures and the potential for more extreme weather. The Rail Safety Standards Board (RSSB) wanted to know more about how climate change could impact the industry.

What have we done?

We looked at how the rail network could be affected by a range of issues from climate change, including summer heatwaves, heavy rainfall, rising sea levels, and storms. By looking at all the potential issues we put together a package of advice on which parts of the service were most vulnerable and ways in which the industry can start planning for the future.

What's the conclusion?

By providing data on the expected changes in the climate, we were able to give the RSSB guidance on areas of the infrastructure they will need to focus on in the future. This included looking at how sea-level rises and more storms, bringing bigger waves and storm surges, could affect the viability of existing and planned coastal lines. This allows the RSSB to make informed decisions about early adaptation measures.