Network Rail in the UK has installed 60 solar-powered weather stations on the route between London Euston and Carlisle so that engineers are alerted to extreme weather events ahead of any complications.
The £1.3m (US$1.8m) investment provides staff with access to real-time data so response teams can be sent to the right place at the right time to fix the railway rapidly.
The scientific surveillance stations measure windspeed and direction; wind gust and direction; air temperature; relative humidity; dew point; and rainfall totals. In the longer term, the data gathered will help Network Rail weather experts to predict which parts of the network are more vulnerable to bad weather before it even hits.
Talisa Fletcher, service delivery manager, Network Rail, said, “With extreme weather incidents increasing we’ve invested £1.3m (US$1.8m) to improve our weather monitoring capabilities on the West Coast main line and in the northwest. Our solar powered weather stations will help us to better understand weather patterns and during stormy weather we can send our response teams to where they’re most needed which will help us to reduce disruption and keep passengers safe.”
Since 2015, in Network Rail’s Northwest and Central region, extreme weather has caused half a million minutes of train delays – or more than 400 days.