Space weather impacts on the UK railway network

Patterson, Cameron and Wild, Jim (2021) Space weather impacts on the UK railway network. In: 17th European Space Weather Week, 2021-10-25 - 2021-10-29, Technology Innovation Centre.

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Some of the many manifestations of space weather’s effects on ground based infrastructure are hazards that affect the smooth and safe operation of railway networks, with the potential of signalling system failures, damage to locomotive on board transformers and disruptions caused by interference to a plethora of interdependent systems such as radio, GPS and grid power supply. This work focuses on the impacts on track circuits, signalling systems that use electrical currents to detect the presence or absence of a train in sections of a wider network, as such, they are affected by geomagnetically induced currents (GICs) arising from space weather. The impact on track circuits of various designs has been investigated during the 2015 St. Patrick’s Day storm, the first storm of solar cycle 24 to reach a level of “Severe” on the NOAA geomagnetic storm scale. This has been achieved by using the Spherical Elementary Current System (SECS) method of geomagnetic field interpolation, a conductivity model of the UK, estimations of the geoelectric field and track circuit modelling techniques developed by Boteler (2021).

Item Type:
Contribution to Conference (Poster)
Journal or Publication Title:
17th European Space Weather Week
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Deposited On:
26 Oct 2022 09:50
Last Modified:
03 Apr 2024 00:29