Dobney, Kay (2010)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.
The existing temperature profile in Great Britain determines the stress free temperature of continuous welded rail on the railway network, this ensures that cold-related tension cracks and heat-related rail buckles are kept within tolerable levels. It is predicted that winters will become warmer and summers hotter than the baseline climate. It is believed that Great Britain can continue to operate with a stress free (rail) temperature of 27°C under future climate scenarios, provided the acceptable operating range is narrowed upwards towards 27°C and that the quality of track, track-bed and subgrade are improved. These actions should limit the potential damage caused by more challenging temperature extremes. If changes are not made to ensure the track is more resilient to hotter summers the cost of buckles and heat related delays are projected to increase from £3.3m under baseline climate conditions to £24.7m in the 2080s under the high emissions climate change scenario. In winter the temperature range that causes the majority and most severe ice and snow delays is not expected to undergo much change for most of Great Britain until the 2080’s under the high emissions scenario, when there will be nominal reductions, mostly in the south region.
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