Safeguarding coastal rail lines

Research conducted by the Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB) could give Network Rail a better indication of the impact of high sea levels on coastal train lines.

Working with the Environment Agency and using data from the Met Office Hadley Centre, RSSB modelled predictions of the effects of increased wave heights and storm surges on coast defences, using the length of railway at Dawlish in Devon.

‘The effects of climate change, and in particular sea level rise, are likely to increase the severity of the wave, tidal and wind effects on coastal defences,’ said Network Rail’s chief engineer, Andrew McNaughton. ‘This research aims to put us in a stronger position, to be able to quantify those effects and so consider future strategies.’

‘Network Rail is using the results of the study to inform its specific feasibility study into the reconstruction of the sea wall at Dawlish, the results are due in the autumn.’

Further information about the research can be downloaded from the RSSB website here.