HomeFeatures Opinion - The Inside ViewDealing with ageing infrastructure

Dealing with ageing infrastructure

WEEKLY NEWSLETTER SIGN UP

Dr Luke Prendergast,
University of Nottingham.

Dr Luke Prendergast, assistant professor in civil engineering at the University of Nottingham, considers the problems caused by the railway’s aging infrastructure.

The UK has an ageing rail network that is under increasing pressure from frequent and extreme weather, triggered by climate change.

Infrastructure maintenance is critical to safety on Britain’s railways, but with 20,000 miles of track, 30,000 bridges, tunnels and viaducts and thousands of signals, level crossings and stations, it’s a herculean task. Continuously monitoring and inspecting all parts of our rail infrastructure – while desirable – is nigh on physically and economically impossible for operators to achieve.

Difficult maintenance decisions therefore have to be made, prioritising locations that pose the highest risk of failure – or the greatest consequence associated with failure. For example, a major artery route might be prioritised over a branch line as the consequence of losing this would be greater.

Other factors are also considered. Operators, policymakers and engineers urgently need to work together to find new, cost-effective and innovative technologies that can support more comprehensive infrastructure maintenance.

“Infrastructure maintenance is critical to safety on Britain’s railways, but with 20,000 miles of track, 30,000 bridges, tunnels and viaducts and thousands of signals, level crossings and stations, it’s a herculean task.”

Rail remains one of the safest forms of transport in the UK, but extreme weather will continue to strain the network in decades to come. How we choose to tackle it could shape not only the future of rail travel, but our entire transport infrastructure.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisement -

Latest news

Improvements carried out on major London route

A revamp of 1980s signalling systems over the weekend saw services stopped temporarily between London Victoria and East Croydon. Trains were diverted to London Bridge...

Northern takes control of major rail facility

Northern has confirmed it now has full control of Neville Hill depot in Leeds. Previously, the depot – along with its 550-strong staff of engineers,...

HS2 trains to be built in UK – but by whom?

German train maker Siemens has launched a legal challenge to HS2 awarding its rolling stock contract to a joint venture of Hitachi Rail and...
- Advertisement -

More news

Operator appeals for more considered use of emergency alarms

Passengers hitting the emergency alarms have cause 17 hours of delay in only half a year for one operator. From 1 April to 4 September...

Rail safety cyber security expert lands professor role

Rail safety cyber security specialist Dr Emma Taylor has taken up the role of visiting professor at Cranfield University. The appointment involves lecturing in the...

Night Tube set to return next month

After being suspended because of the pandemic, Transport for London (TfL) has said that the Night Tube is set to make a comeback in...
NEWSLETTER SIGN UP