Flood damage in Belgium (Photo: Infrabel)

INTERNATIONAL: The International Union of Railways’ Taskforce on Extreme Weather Conditions has been launched, and will initially focus on addressing the impact of heavy rain and floods. Strong winds are proposed as a focus for next year, and earthquakes in 2023.

UIC’s Safety Platform decided to create the taskforce following a series of extreme weather events, in particular floods. The taskforce is open to all UIC members.

The kick-off meeting on July 21 included an overview of current research, including the SAFIRST project looking at sidewinds, the FORESEE project for resilient transport infrastructure, the development of a climate change policy guide for low-income countries in Africa and South Asia, UIC’s Resilient Railways facing Climate Change project, and the Rail Adapt project to ensure railways are prepared for climate change.

UIC Head of Operations & Safety Frédéric Henon said a systemic approach to developing preventive and predictive measures is required, and the taskforce would work closely and cross-functionally with UIC’s Passenger, Rail System (operations and infrastructure) and Fundamental Values (safety) departments.