The 4th International Seminar on Railway Safety and Security was held
in Ifrane, Morocco, from 20 to 22 April 2010. It was jointly organised by Moroccan Railways, ONCF and UIC with a view to the upcoming opening of the high speed line linking Tangiers to Casablanca. This international seminar was prepared by the UIC Security Platform chaired by Mr. Moha Khaddour from ONCF in close cooperation with UIC Security Unit (led by Mr Jacques Colliard) and the Passenger / High Speed Department (led by Mr Ignacio Barron de Angoiti). The seminar took stock of the various technical and institutional aspects whilst
enabling experiences and issues to be shared between the companies and countries which already operate high speed rail systems, countries in the process of implementing such projects and countries which are still at the planning stage.
The seminar was officially opened on 21 April by Morocco’s Minister of Infrastructure and Transport Mr Karim Ghellab, who pointed out that “development in the Kingdom of Morocco is proceeding via the commissioning of major infrastructure projects, with particular focus on the railways. ONCF’s investment plan includes the launch of the first high speed line designed to serve the Kingdom via the Maghreb Link and the Atlantic Link. This line is an important part of
Moroccan and ONCF policy”.
ONCF Chief Executive and Chairman of UIC Africa Mr Mohamed Khlie then underlined that “for railways, joining the “high speed club” is not a luxury but a strategic choice. The development of high speed will not be to the detriment of the conventional network. Intercity, urban and intermodal networks are also a priority”.
The inaugural session included a video message delivered by UIC Director-General Mr Jean-Pierre Loubinoux who added that “Blending security, safety and high speed is opportune, as these themes are of prime concern, considering developments in society, and lend themselves to useful discussion of many shared issues as we have seen during the Security and Safety Seminar in Marrakech in March 2009, the Istanbul Congress in June 2010 and
the Bombay Conference in October 2010”.
More than 200 participants attended the seminar which focused on practical aspects relating to safety and security when a high speed system is completed and opened to revenue service. Specific themes, presented by 30 speakers from 9 countries included:
- Safety for infrastructure/high speed rail system;
- Safety for rolling stock;
- and integration of security at different stages.
This seminar, marked by the active and ample participation of delegates during work sessions and quality of questions raised during the debates held after each set of presentations, was a great success.
UIC’s position on the world stage was demonstrated once again by the vast range of countries and subjects represented at the seminar.
The success of the seminar was greatly helped by the unfailing support of the ONCF and a number of UIC divisions. The issues covered included the importance of the new high speed line to be built between Tangiers and Casablanca, as well as Safety and Security topics seen from different angles, namely: human factors, technological development and implementation of necessary standards and regulations.
The next major planned dates and outlook for high speed, safety and security were also recalled:
- Security related research projects: Protectrail information day in Paris at UIC HQ on 4 May 2011;
- Plenary Committee and High Speed seminar in Prague on 18 and 19 May 2011;
- Preparation of the next Security Congress on technology in Rome on 22 and 23 September 2011;
- Annual High Speed Training Seminar;
- Security Platform Congress planned to be held in Slovakia in June or September 2012;
- The 8th UIC World Congress on High Speed in Philadelphia from 11 to 13 July 2012.