Wednesday 28 July 2021

UIC SAFIRST project presents its second technical report

Report on the assessment of crosswind risk on locomotives and passenger rolling stock

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In 2018, UIC published a White Paper on railway aerodynamics produced by the Railway System Department’s TTI Sector ( This field of study has been driven largely 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 modal shift from road to rail. The White Paper examined the topic of railway aerodynamics, reviewing the current status, identifying problems and knowledge gaps and proposing areas of research.

One problem identified relates to the assessment of the safety of railway vehicles with maximum speeds greater than 140 km/h and less than 250 km/h in crosswinds. 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 1 covers the first objective above. The WP1 technical report deals with calculation of the characteristic wind curves (CWCs) of the most wind-susceptible vehicles in trains with maximum speeds between 140 km/h and 250 km/h. The report can be downloaded from the UIC ETF Shop at

This report provides a proposal for reference wind curves to assess trains with maximum speeds between 140 km/h and 250 km/h. It indicates the existing methods used to define reference characteristic wind curves (RCWCs) and the impact of the choice of these curves both for trains (vehicle assessment) and infrastructure (line protection). It presents the data available from the project and the methodology used to develop the proposal.

UIC is truly grateful for the consensus achieved in producing this technical report and the SAFIRST project members’ valuable encouragement and commitment over the past few years to contributing to sharing and harmonisation of good practices. Special mentions go to Eliane Allain, Aerodynamics Engineer at SNCF, for his work as lead coordinator and who co-authored the document with Terence Johnson, Principal Aerodynamics Engineer at RSSB.

For further information, please contact Mercedes Gutierrez, Infrastructure and TTI Senior Advisor, at

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