At a time when we need to use our European Rail Network more than ever, 3 separate extreme weather events blocked 3 important rail routes during August and September.

(1) On the 7th of August during “Storm Hans”, extreme rainfall and flooding caused the collapse of a bridge near Lillehammer on the main trunk line serving Northern Norway between Oslo and Trondheim. It will take a minimum of 3 months to restore any kind of service. There is only one alternative slower route with limited capacity.

(2) On the 27th of August there was a very large rockfall near Modane which blocked the key Transalpine link between France and Italy. It is estimated that it will take a minimum of 3-4 months to restore any kind of service. There is no real alternative route except for very lengthy and congested detours via Switzerland or the French & Italian Rivieras. This was made worse with the Simplon tunnel closed for engineering work until the 10th of September, and the Gotthard tunnel being only partially open since the 10th August due to a freight train derailment.

(3) On the 8th of September “Storm Daniel” in Greece damaged and/or flooded around 60 kilometres of the main Athens-Thessaloniki trunk line. At present, there is no estimate as to when services can be restored. This is the one and only double track electrified main line linking the 2 largest cities in Greece.

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