Information published on 8 June 2021 in the UIC electronic newsletter "UIC eNews" Nr eNews.

UIC SAFIRST project presents its first technical report on assessment of wind exposure along railway lines

  • Infrastructure
  • Safety
  • Track & Structures
  • Interoperability
  • Rail System
  • Rolling Stock
  • Train Operation
  • Train-Track interaction

In 2018, UIC published a White Paper produced by the RSD TTI Sector on railway aerodynamics https://www.shop-etf.com/fr/train-track-interaction-sector-aerodynamics. This field of study has largely been driven by increasing speeds on high-speed passenger trains. However, existing and new lines are still being designed for mixed traffic at conventional train speeds, including freight services, driven by local demand and modal shift from road to rail. The White Paper examined railway aerodynamics, reviewing the current status, identifying problems and knowledge gaps and proposing areas of research.

One problem area related to the assessment of the safety in crosswinds of railway vehicles with maximum speeds greater than 140 km/h and less than 250 km/h is that the LOC&PAS TSI does not provide limit values to assess vehicles. Similarly, the INF TSI does not prescribe methods or guidance for infrastructure managers to assess their lines for crosswind exposure and the risk of train accidents.

The SAFIRST project was launched in March 2019 to study these issues and to develop guidance for infrastructure managers by:

  1. assessing the crosswind safety of rolling stock,
  2. assessing wind exposure along railway lines, and
  3. demonstrating the crosswind safety of railway lines with appropriate wind mitigation.

SAFIRST WP2 has been tasked with objective 2. The WP2 technical report deals with methods for the assessment of wind exposure along railway lines, which is an essential part of the process to prove the crosswind safety of rolling stock. The report can be downloaded from the UIC ETF Shop at https://www.shop-etf.com/fr/safirst-assessment-of-wind-exposure-of-the-line-technical-report

This report provides relevant information and guidance for infrastructure managers for assessment of the crosswind exposure of railway lines. It indicates the context in which such assessments must be made, relevant prior knowledge required, requirements in applicable standards, how to mitigate crosswinds on a line, and describes methods and choice of assessments with an indication of their practicality and costs. The impact of future wind climate change is also outlined.

UIC is truly grateful for the consensus achieved in producing this technical report and the SAFIRST project members’ valuable encouragement and commitment over the past few years to sharing and harmonisation of good practices. A special mention must go to Terence Johnson, Principal Aerodynamics Engineer (RSSB), as lead coordinator and author of the document.

For further information, please contact David Mirayo, Infrastructure and TTI Senior Advisor, at mirayo@uic.org