Wagon Issues Wagon Users

The railway undertakings of UIC are both freight operators and major wagon keepers. UIC GCU signatories account for the carriage of approximately 350 000 million tkm of goods. Altogether they own around 500,000 wagons, declared to the GCU Bureau, of a fleet totalling approximately 600,000. Wagon keeper business is one of their key activities.

Mission statement of the Wagon Users SG (WU SG)

The Wagon Users SG is a UIC working group with RU membership; it provides a platform of railway expertise and aims to ensure the interoperability, availability and facilitation of wagon exchanges in Europe as well as ensuring more economic wagon use.

The Wagon Users SG is the common professional platform where otherwise competing RUs cooperate on technical, operational and legal issues of mutual interest to facilitate the use of wagons. Cooperation within the Wagon Users SG does not include price negotiations.

Main tasks of the WU SG

  • Addressing all wagon-related subjects and being the representative body of RUs for wagon issues.
  • Addressing requirements that other, not necessarily UIC, users’ groups might formulate in the wagon sector (for instance the UIC Operations SG, the Interunit Technical Commission, etc.).
  • Facilitating the implementation of measures to improve the legal, operational and technical interoperability of wagons and wagon-related operations.
  • Liaising with the safety, security and research branches of the Fundamental Values Department.
  • Developing a working relationship with other stakeholders and associations.
  • Observing the market and serving as a platform for sharing best practices.
  • Acting as a communication platform to promote the interests of RUs in the wagon sector; it can voice its opinion on relevant subjects in a more wide-reaching manner than an individual RU.

Main areas of activity

All technical, legal and operational issues related to the use of wagons (exchange of empty and/or loaded wagons, inspection and maintenance). Common RU positions on GCU issues.
Difficulties (legal, technical, operational) arising from the implementation of the GCU. UIC validation of GCU technical amendments proposed by the technical WGs of the Wagon Users SG before those amendments are sent to the GCU Bureau:

Some specific fields are covered:

- LOCA - UIC publishes data on railway lines used and stations or locations covered by services. The lines are sorted into categories in terms of weight per axle and weight per linear meter and published on a UIC webpage.

Technical Working groups reporting to the WU SG:

  • The WG on Technical Inspections for the exchange of wagons issues amendment proposals for the technical appendices of the GCU.
  • The WG on Maintenance and Repair Rules addresses the implementation of the maintenance TSI as well as issuing amendment proposals for the technical appendices of the GCU.
  • The WG on Loading Rules drafts the Loading Guidelines to strengthen operational safety and prevent damage to goods and wagons. These rules, published by UIC - ETF - have to be observed by most of the RUs’ shippers.
  • The WG on Pallets. UIC laid the basis for the first European standardised load carrier in 1961. Revising and updating UIC leaflet series 435 in accordance with the most recent EU guidelines, classifying existing EUR qualities in accordance with trade and industry specifications and proposing innovative further development (e.g. RFID technology) are the main tasks of this WG.


The Wagon Users SG reports to the UIC Freight Forum and meets 3 or 4 times a year. Additional meetings can be convened if and when the need arises. Ad hoc working parties or project groups can be set up by the WU SG according to needs and on a voluntary basis.

Non-UIC RUs and other associations involved in the sector such as UIP, UIRR, ERFA, and CIT are invited to take part in proceedings, especially within the technical WGs, with a view to improving this common technical platform that facilitates and develops rail freight business.