With new Rail track and infrastructure projects having a lifespan of several decades, assessing changing weather patterns is a vital part of planning at Network Rail.
John Dora, principal systems engineer for climate change, works closely with organisations including the Met Office and the Environment Agency to assess the likely impact of climate change.
“We appreciate that with the best available global science the earth’s temperature will rise by about two or three degrees by the 2040s,” he says. “But there will be more hotter days and a marked difference in the climate between north and south.”
The impact of a warmer climate has implications for the type of track the company invests in today, he says, while forecasts of additional flow in rivers mean it has already modified the specifications for any new bridges or drainage systems.
“Any new bridges or drainage that we introduce will have been designed to cater for that change in climate,” he says. “But we’re not going to rebuild every bridge over the next 20 or 30 years so we need to prioritise what we need to do to mitigate the impact.”