The impacts of weather on railway infrastructure in Sweden

Michelle Ochsner, Rachel Fisher & Carl-William Palmqvist, Sustainable and Resilient Infrastructure, April 2024

In this paper, we estimate the vulnerability of railway infrastructure, switches, signals, tracks, and catenaries to different weather conditions, temperature, precipitation, snow depth, and wind speed across the entire Swedish railway network between 2006-2020. Using a method to quantify the fault rate we establish thresholds that can be useful for identifying areas of concern for operations. Results reveal that high or low temperatures have a noticeable impact on the fault rates for switches, tracks, and catenaries. High levels of precipitation are associated with higher fault rates across tracks and catenaries. Snow depth has an influence on fault rates for switches and tracks, and high wind speeds are associated with higher fault rates for tracks and catenaries. Finally, signals were found to be the most resilient asset. When comparing two dominant climate zones, notable differences were only found for track asset vulnerability.

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