Wednesday 12 January 2022

Presentation of third UIC SAFIRST project technical report

Report on the application of reference characteristic wind curves

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In 2018, UIC published a White Paper produced by the Train-Track Interaction (TTI) Sector of the RSD in the field of railway aerodynamics. This field of study has largely been driven by the increasing speeds of high-speed passenger trains. However, existing and new lines are still being designed for the use of mixed traffic at conventional train speeds, including freight services, driven by local demand and the modal shift from road to rail. The White Paper examines the field of railway aerodynamics, reviewing the current status, identifying problems and knowledge gaps, and proposing areas of research.

One such problem area relates to the assessment of the safety in crosswinds of railway vehicles with maximum speeds greater than 140 km/h and less than 250 km/h. The LOC&PAS TSI does not provide limit values to assess vehicles and the INF TSI does not prescribe methods or guidance for infrastructure managers to assess their lines for crosswind exposure and the risk of train accidents.

The SAFIRST project was launched in March 2019 to research these issues and to develop guidance for infrastructure managers by:

  • assessing the crosswind safety of rolling stock,
  • assessing wind exposure along railway lines, and
  • demonstrating the crosswind safety of railway lines with appropriate wind mitigation.

SAFIRST Work Package 3 deals with objective 3. The WP3 technical report deals with the application of reference characteristic wind curves to demonstrate the crosswind safety of railway lines with appropriate wind mitigation – an essential part of the process to prove the crosswind safety of rolling stock. The report can be downloaded from the UIC ETF Shop at

This report provides relevant background and guidance to infrastructure managers on applying reference characteristic wind curves to determine the safety of railway lines from crosswinds. It also describes how to mitigate crosswinds on a line at locations where such mitigation is required, providing possible methods and outlining their benefits and drawbacks. Other aspects that should be considered, such as risk analysis and setting risk targets, are also described.

UIC is truly grateful for the consensus achieved in producing this technical report and the SAFIRST project members’ valuable encouragement and commitment over the last few years to contributing to sharing and harmonisation of good practices. Special thanks must go to José Conrado Martinez, Deputy Director of Strategic Innovation (ADIF) as lead coordinator and co-author of the document with Terence Johnson, Principal Aerodynamics Engineer (RSSB).

For further information, please contact Mercedes Gutierrez, Head of Asset Management, Infrastructure and Interfaces with Rolling Stock, at

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