Resilient Railways facing High Temperatures

Project information

  • Acronym: RERA-Temp
  • Resilient Railways facing High Temperatures (Infrastructure and operational resilience against the consequences of high temperatures and desertic conditions due to climate change.)
  • Sector: Operations and Safety Unit
  • Project start date: 10/07/2023
  • Project duration: 18 months
  • Project managers: Frédéric Henon and Francisco Cabrera
  • Status: ongoing project

Project description

What is RERA?
Climate change is one of the greatest challenges facing humankind this century. Companies in naturally exposed regions could see a significant share of their capital destroyed if natural hazards/disasters materialise or increase, especially in the long run.

As the UIC Vision 2030 ‘Design a better future’ explains, given the right action and investment, we can create a future where rail is the backbone of a sustainable mobility system, meaning that the resilience of infrastructure, rolling stock and operations to climate change will play an important role.

UIC is committed to enhancing the sector´s resilience to climate change and, for that purpose, will lead a set of five projects under the name of Resilient Railways Facing Climate Change (RERA) where the consequences of heavy rains, high temperatures & desertic conditions, strong winds, adherence and earthquakes on both operations and infrastructure will be studied.

The benefits of these projects for the railway system are:

  • Resilience will be increased through the identification and management of and adaptation to natural hazards.
  • Operational and safety measures will be defined.
  • Design parameters and operating principles will be upgraded.


The project is part of a UIC taskforce to adapt the railway system to extreme weather conditions and fight against climate change. This project will continue the set of RERA projects which started with RERA-Rain in 2022.

Many sections of the railway are built in the countryside and are therefore consistently exposed to sunlight and extreme temperatures. Moreover, this becoming more common each year due to climate change, which has produced a global increase in temperatures and a decrease in rainfall. For these reasons, many of the lines are increasingly subjected to higher temperature exposure, which can cause serious problems for the railway.

High temperatures and desertic conditions can have a severe impact on infrastructure, such as excessive track dilatation, which could lead to misalignment and potential derailment, and ballast pollution due to the accumulation of sand and sand drifts in the track area.

Project objectives

The project aims to:

  • Set up a dedicated taskforce for “High Temperatures and Desertic Conditions” that will facilitate the sharing of current/recent and efficient practical actions, such as a library of best practices/quick wins.
  • Share international knowledge on methods for “driving change”, within an operations framework: sharing related interoperable & system data, adaptation with ops solutions for resilience, etc.
  • Detect hazards regarding, for example, heat waves and sandstorms, and improve forecasting tools.
  • Develop guidelines, from short term to longer term design/technical measures for railway assets and operational adaptations.

The main deliverables of this project will be non-compulsory guidelines to improve the decision-making process for infrastructure managers, station managers, and railway undertakings. These guidelines will contain:

  • Descriptions of the consequences of high temperatures and desertic conditions and a definition of the scope of a whole system solution for both infrastructure and operations.
  • A review of current practices to avoid/mitigate risk. Examples of these mitigative measures being applied, including the results and possible affected services.
  • Recommendations based on climate comparisons between countries and previous/current practices with examples of their application.

Project members

UIC contact

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Wednesday 9 August 2023