During the last winter season many railways were severely challenged by the weather conditions impacting their daily train operations and the availability of their railway infrastructure.
The problems that occurred clearly show that the railway system is sensitive to all kinds of winter conditions. Problems and impacts like iced couplings, trains stuck in snow or frozen switches among others were both reported by Train Operation Companies (TOC) and Infrastructure Managers (IM). Often new rolling stock and infrastructure components were highly impacted, whereas old components and rolling stock turned out to be more reliable.
UIC was requested by several members of the Rail System Forum (RSF) to set up an Experience Platform “Winter and Railways” allowing members to discuss the problems that occurred, the challenges, and eventually enabling the exchange of best practice, to be better prepared for the next winter period 2010/2011.
The investigation will look at the situation from a systemic view including rolling stock, infrastructure and the interfaces between them. The investigation will also take into consideration the issue of snow clearing.
The first step is to identify the problems that occurred last winter followed by an analysis of the problems’ root causes identified by Train Operating Companies (TOC) and Infrastructure Managers (IM). After grouping the root causes of the problems provided by the railway company experts, the challenges and further best practice will be discussed at a workshop to be held in late summer/early autumn 2010. It will be also important to identify whether the problems are national or international.
As a result of the survey’s evaluation a recommendation will be put together, based on the work and results of the exchange of experience. All information will be delivered in a final report. UIC requests strong support for this experience platform in order to help UIC members to be better prepared for the winter of 2010/2011.