UK’s railways can no longer cope with the effects of the climate crisis

Discussion in 'UK Railway Discussion' started by Struner, 7 Nov 2019 at 22:43.

  1. Struner

    Struner Member

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    Britain’s railways can no longer cope with the effects of the climate crisis, a senior rail executive has warned.
    https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news...e-with-effects-climate-change-warns-rail-boss
    Plenty of work to be done then.

    Edited to get rid of my tablet mess.

     
    Last edited: 8 Nov 2019 at 10:09
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  3. GRALISTAIR

    GRALISTAIR Established Member

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    Yes some resilience now needs to happen at every upgrade/line electrified etc
     
  4. Crepello

    Crepello Member

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    Too bad "global warming" hadn't been invented during the summer of 1976, else blank cheques might have been forthcoming earlier! :E:E
     
  5. TubeMapCentral

    TubeMapCentral Member

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  6. gazzaa2

    gazzaa2 Member

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    It can't cope with seasonal weather anyway. Leaves on the line in Autumn, snowfall in winter/spring, heat in summer and any significant rainfall.

    None of these are new things. We've always had rain.
     
  7. Leo1961

    Leo1961 Member

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    But now every man and his dog has social media craving content to publish...
     
  8. MalaiseForever

    MalaiseForever Member

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    Good to see the climate experts on the forum are alive and well.
     
  9. lachlan

    lachlan Member

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    I'm surprised at the number of climate change deniers on here, considering how important railways are for reducing the environmental impact of travel.

    Ask yourselves: What if the climate emergency is false, and we build a more resilient, reliable railway for nothing?
     
  10. geoffk

    geoffk Established Member

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    (I was going to start a new thread but saw this one had just been started).

    As many of you know, heavy rain caused flooding in parts of Yorkshire and elsewhere yesterday, closing lines and many are still closed this morning. The Calder Valley line was closed by flooding at Walsden and there were no trains through Todmorden from around 14.00 hours. We can't do anything about the weather in the short term and no doubt Northern staff have been doing their best in difficult circumstances, but I agree more could be done to reduce its effects. I've lived in the area for only 16 years but this is becoming a more frequent occurrence.

    Whenever the line is closed at Walsden trains from Leeds are turned back at Hebden Bridge. The resignalling introduced as part of the Todmorden curve allows trains from Leeds to turn back at Tod but this never happens. No doubt it's easier to get buses to Hebden Bridge station than to Todmorden but that is of no help when the A646 road between the two is also flooded, as was the case yesterday. I understand that the booking clerk at HBD asked Network Rail Control if trains could run to Todmorden since the York - Blackpools were running normally but no replacement buses could run, but his request was declined.

    At the western end, a crossover north of Littleborough at Summit West allows trains from Manchester to turn back there but, as it's worked by hand from a ground frame, it only gets used in an emergency. Local groups have been asking for years to have this fully signalled to allow regular turn-backs; this requires changes to Preston Power Box. It could have been done when the Tod Curve opened but now Network Rail may be reluctant to disturb it for a relatively infrequent event. The previous one was on 16th March.

    So when the line floods at Walsden or in Summit Tunnel trains don't run between Hebden Bridge and Rochdale. Of course the real need is keep the water off the railway at Walsden where the river crosses underneath by Winterbutlee Tunnel.

    Northern staff all seem sympathetic to these requirements and it’s clearly one for Network Rail to address. The Yorkshire Tiger bus from Rochdale to Halifax via Ripponden comes into its own when these events happen but it runs only every 70 minutes!
     
    Last edited: 8 Nov 2019 at 12:31
  11. Kingspanner

    Kingspanner Member

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  12. DarloRich

    DarloRich Veteran Member

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    Surely the article is about:
    • rail stressing
    • drainage
    • decarbonisation
    But then senior railway executive suggest higher rail stressing temperature in Scotland and a bit more work on drainage isnt quite as sexy a headline!

    Or, perhaps, a national newspaper reporting about a senior railway person addressing the Railway Industry Association conference on, I suspect, resilience.
     
    Last edited: 8 Nov 2019 at 12:33
  13. gazzaa2

    gazzaa2 Member

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    It's clearly a major issue for the railways to address but any weather slightly out the ordinary causes chaos anyway.
     
  14. sikejsudjek

    sikejsudjek Member

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    As someone who experienced the flood of 2007 in Gloucestershire where we ended up without power, mains water or even basic transport for a few days, I can tell you that our infrastructure is a lot less resilient than you might think. Climate change is real, and it will increase the frequency of extreme events. Think it won't effect you ? Good luck on that one....
     
  15. Lee_Again

    Lee_Again Member

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    Might be worth understanding the difference between weather and climate. All people are doing on here is suggesting that the weather we experience is no different to weather experienced over the past 50 years. And they would be right. This does not make them 'Climate Change Deniers'.
    Now it might be that they are deniers, they'll speak for themselves, but please don't get all anxious because somebody dared to have a different view to you. And even if your view is ultimately proved right, and we are experience drastic climate change, the change will be gradual. The world will not end next year, the year after that, or indeed in any year. Climate changes have been affecting this planet for 4 Billion years. The only reason we are an island is due to climate change. The climate is and always will be changing. But gradually. Weather does not equal Climate.
     
  16. Western Lord

    Western Lord Member

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    Whatever you believe about climate change, do not under estimate the effect of inadequate drainage due to more land being concreted over, inadequately maintained drains and inadequately maintained rivers. You could also take into account that there are far more people to be affected by floods than a hundred years ago and that everyone has a camera and instant worldwide communication and 24/7 news outlets craving material. A hundred years ago local floods would not have made the national press.
     
  17. Hughby

    Hughby Member

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    That xkcd cartoon is a great non-technical way of showing that whilst climate has changed gradually over time, it is changing quickly now and there seems a quite obvious correlation with the start of the industrial revolution.

    If you've not spent a few minutes reading it I urge you to do so. I'm an engineer but hadn't really thought too much about climate change apart from a general "there's probably something in it" attitude. The first time I read the cartoon I had a real "Oh S***!" moment when I got to the end.

    Another good xkcd is https://xkcd.com/radiation/ - a different subject but a great way of getting a perspective on a controversial issue.
     
  18. Kingspanner

    Kingspanner Member

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    You are right, the world will not end. in the sense that the planet is not in trouble. But we, and a lot of large mammals and other species could be erased in a remarkably short time. The consequences of temperature rise include rising sea levels, extreme weather events including drought, mass migrations of animals including us to escape famine, new and enlarged ranges for disease bearing creatures such as mosquitoes.
    Where we have seen desperate migrants trying to get into Europe via the Med will pale into insignificance. What if the UK ends up with little rainfall and is desertified? What if we end up with a climate like Seattle? What if the Gulf Stream switches off and we get a climate like Finland? In any event we won't be growing food anything like we are now. It will be our turn to go cap in hand to other countries, we will be the refugees.
    I personally don't want to chance it.
     
  19. Darandio

    Darandio Established Member

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    Or even colder. Many still automatically assume that if things keep getting warmer then we will follow suit here, it might not be the case. As you say, melt the ice and reduce the salinity then comes the risk of it shutting down. After all, it's happened before....
     
  20. Dunfanaghy Rd

    Dunfanaghy Rd Member

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    Where's the 'Like' button when you need it? Planet Earth doesn't give a damn about us, anymore than the Mammoth or Trilobites.
    Pat
     
  21. DarloRich

    DarloRich Veteran Member

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    Correct. However we as modern man have a greater capacity than the Mammoth or Trilobites to cause the earth harm.
     
  22. Mag_seven

    Mag_seven Established Member

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    Nah, you're talking rubbish mate - that Nigel Lawson says so and lets face it as an ex Tory Chancellor he must know more about climate change than lefty university professors.
     
  23. Western Lord

    Western Lord Member

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    The problem is. and increasingly will be, too many "modern men" (and women and children) on this planet. I've often wondered if anybody has calculated the effect of body heat from an increasing population on the global temperature (I'm old enough to remember when big old cinemas were only warm when there was a full house). It seems that many people have decided that they like the planet, more or less, in the state it is now and that we should engineer things to keep it that way, as if it is as easy as adjusting the central heating. Unfortunately, nature may have other ideas.
     
  24. bastien

    bastien Member

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    I smell a canned response here, given that it isn't really a reply to the quoted post which didn't mention the 'd' word at all.
     
  25. gazzaa2

    gazzaa2 Member

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    Exactly. Heavy rain isn't a new invention. Neither are storms, leaves, heat and snow. Climate change itself wasnt the point. The UK climate has always been unpredictable and had its extremities since the railway was invented.
     
  26. scotrail158713

    scotrail158713 Member

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    Yes - Milankovitch’s Stretch, Tilt, and Wobble theory proved this. But what we now realise is we’re accelerating the change at a far greater rate than is natural, so something needs to be done.
    Wow, for once, I agree with Mr Hynes on something. :)
     
  27. farleigh

    farleigh Member

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    But if we are going to be wiped out we won't need a more resilient railway. Silver lining.
     
  28. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    Strange post, and it's unclear what your motives are but if they are what they think they are I will point out that extreme weather can occur at any time; this is not quite the same thing as climate.

    People falsely claim or suggest that tracks didn't buckle in the hot summers of 1975/6, but this is false, as has been posted before on this forum:
    There have been numerous threads recently on the subject of temperature extremes causing problems for the track, here are a selection of pertinent posts:
     
  29. Crepello

    Crepello Member

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    To your first point - were some posts deleted? Climate change is as demonstrable a phenomenon as gravity; I didn't see anybody claiming otherwise.

    To your second, I'd reply: Many millions invested sub-optimally, which could have generated much greater value elsewhere on the rail network. Hypothetical example: Let's suppose Mr Hynes' request were to be granted, in part, by de-funding the replacement of rolling stock on the Isle of Wight... yet the next 30 summers transpired to be washouts - quite possible, meteorologically. That might be tricky to explain in Hampshire...

    Posted without motive. Why did you find it strange?
     
  30. MalaiseForever

    MalaiseForever Member

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    They aren’t right. Look at the facts. Look at the data. Things are getting worse. There is no debate to be had. This is happening. End of.
     
  31. MalaiseForever

    MalaiseForever Member

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    Indeed, very bizarre response.
     

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