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Robust infrastructure – Adapting railway maintenance to climate change(CliMaint)

Published: 14 November 2019

Amir Garmabaki and Uday Kumar

CliMaint Summary:Increased intensity and frequency of extreme weather conditions caused by climate change have a negative impact on rail service performance and related costs. Research has shown that adverse weather conditions are responsible for 5 to 10% of total failures and 60% of delays on the railway infrastructure in northern Europe.

In Sweden, about 50% of train delays are caused by weather related failures in switches and crossings, where winter maintenance of switches and crossings cost on average of 300MSEK annually. These costs are expected to increase due to intensity and frequency of extreme weather events. It is critical for infrastructure manager to predict “What will be the required maintenance and renewal policies to ensure robust and resilient infrastructure to deals with climate changes for short- and long-term scenarios?” and “How maintenance cost will increase due to climate changes?”

The aim of CliMaint is to ensure robust and reliable railway infrastructure by maintenance adaptation to climate change. The objective of the project is to reduce future disturbances due to extreme climate conditions by effective maintenance program. The objective will be achieved by utilizing RAMS (reliability, availability, maintainability and safety) methodology and integrating infrastructure degradation modelling with metrological and satellite information.

CliMaint addresses the following targets:

  • Better understanding of the mechanism and causal relationship between climate parameters and infrastructure conditions,
  • Development of theoretical models for integrating meteorological data into the maintenance process of the railway,
  • Implementing and planning of new maintenance solutions for transport infrastructure in order to improve reliability and cost-effectiveness of future investments.

The methodology implemented in CliMaint can have significant impacts of 5-10% reduction in the traffic disruptions and maintenance costs.