We prepare for the impact of the weather on our network by forecasting it daily and by understanding the projected impact of climate change

Weather – the challenges we face

Weather is what happens in the shorter term: rainfall, heatwaves, cold snaps, high winds and snow can all impact the railway and cause disruption.

For example, heavy rainfall can lead to flooding, stopping trains from running and damaging railway infrastructure, causing months of costly repairs. Flooding can lead to landslips, which tend to affect large areas and need substantial engineering work to make the railway safe again. These impacts cause delays and have a negative impact on our performance.

The images above show how weather can affect our assets, damage our infrastructure and cause delays in many ways. You can find out more about how different weather conditions cause delays and find out what we do to help get trains running again, or visit our Weather Resilience page for more on how we are managing the impact of weather on our railway infrastructure to maintain efficient and reliable train services for passengers.

Planning for climate change

Climate is the story of weather patterns in the much longer term – observed over decades. Long-term changes in weather such as such as warmer, wetter winters or hotter, drier summers could impact train travel and affect how we manage the railway network.

Network Rail's Weather Resilience and Climate Change Adaptation (WRCCA) Strategy was published in January 2017 and outlines our four pillars of resilience:

WRCCA Pillars of Resilience

Our Weather Resilience and Climate Change Adaptation Policy outlines the key principles we are embedding within the way we do business including:

  • Incorporate consideration of how climate change might amplify risks into analysis and decision-making processes throughout the business.
  • Adapt at construction and at asset renewal in order to provide resilience in the most cost-effective manner
  • Replacing like for better rather than like for like, with consideration of the whole life cost and the best strategic approach for managing the railway.
  • Collaboration across the rail industry, government and other stakeholders to improve our understanding and management of weather and climate risks.

See our Climate Change Adaptation pages for more information on how we are adapting to the impacts of climate change including Route WRCCA plans.

Find out more

Responding to weather impacts on the railway

Climate change Adaptation

Seasonal track treatment and weather support machines

Weather impacts on performance

Delays explained 

How we're working sustainably