Dutch railway must change to cope with increasing extreme weather
Climate change is bringing more extreme heat, gale force winds, heavy downpours and other extreme weather, and the Dutch railways is not resistant to this. ProRail, the Ministry of Infrastructure, and public works department Rijkswaterstaat are therefore working on an action plan that should be ready by the autumn, De Telegraaf reports.
"The railway was constructed for a moderate climate with less heavy train traffic," ProRail's climate expert Stefan Jak explained to the newspaper. "That is changing. After corona, passenger and freight transport will grow strongly towards 2030. Trains will run more often and faster and the weather will be more severe. That requires concrete measures."
According to the newspaper, ProRail expects that at least a hundred locations will cause problem in the future as the weather grows more extreme. Downpours can flood railway tunnels and stations, for example. Steel expands due to extreme heat. And snow and ice can cause switches to jam. Those involved are already seriously studying the effects of climate change on the rails by 2050, in order to invest smartly and prevent structural disruptions.
According to Jak, the number of days with maximums of 40 degrees or higher will double in the coming years. "That might be nice for people who like the warmth, but less pleasant for the train," he said to the Telegraaf. The plan of action must avoid serious delays and disruptions. "We have to work hard to stay punctual."