A vulnerability analysis of rail network disruptions during winter weather in the Netherlands

Deborah V.A. Neves, Karst T. Geurs, Lissy La Paix Puello, Erik Lindhout, Maarten Zanen

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3 Citations (Scopus)
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This paper presents a rail network vulnerability analysis to identify which links within the Dutch rail network are most vulnerable to winter weather. A vulnerability index was developed to measure rail vulnerability during winter weather based on switch-related disruptions, integrating both node and link components into a probabilistic measure of vulnerability. The analysis looked at disruption data for 379 Dutch stations during the years 2007-2017. Links in dense population areas, which operate a high number of switches, are most susceptible to winter disturbances. Particularly, three main railway stations (Utrecht, Amersfoort and Zwolle) are the most critical locations within the network in terms of extreme winter conditions and disruptions. In addition, we developed two scenarios to analyse implications of different railway switch reduction strategies on rail vulnerability. The proposed rail vulnerability index can be a useful tool to define operational strategies to reduce the vulnerability of the Dutch railway network. Decreasing the number of switches at station areas appears to be more effective for reducing railway vulnerability than decreasing the number of switches throughout the entire network.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-40
Number of pages22
JournalEuropean journal of transport and infrastructure research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 22 Apr 2021


  • Connectivity
  • Failure probability
  • Railway network vulnerability
  • Switches
  • Winter conditions


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