Thursday 9 November 2023

Information from the Statistics Platform

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The Steering Committee of the Statistics Platform (SP) held its autumn meeting on 18 and 19 October 2023 in Gdansk, Poland, at the invitation of the Polish State Railways (PKP).

The meeting started with a general presentation of the PKP infrastructure, delivered by Adam Smyczyński, Head of Standardisation and Project Support. The PKP Polskie Linie Kolejowe (the Polish State infrastructure manager) network spans 18,634 kilometres of railway lines and 36,298 kilometres of tracks. It includes 11,603 level crossings and 24,699 civil engineering structures, such as bridges and tunnels. PKP operates 6,500 trains each day and employs 38,000 individuals. The presentation also covered the timetable system for passenger, freight, and other trains, as well as providing information on PKP’s rail traffic management centre. Additionally, Smyczyński showcased the investment programme totalling 79 billion Polish Zloty (18 billion euros), which was launched in 2014 and encompasses 240 projects and 9,000 kilometres of track.

The meeting proceeded with an update on the progress of Working Group 1 (WG1) in their efforts to harmonise statistical concepts.

Following the release of the ERA Task Force on Data Quality (TF DQ) report from the Economic Steering Group in April 2023 [1] the UIC Statistics Platform has begun implementing the recommendations put forward by TF DQ Subgroup 4 regarding railway statistics. These pertain to all of the 21 statistical indicators analysed, such as line-kilometres, train-kilometres, the number of train drivers, and revenue, along with their respective definitions. In June 2023, the WG1 convened online to review all of the indicators assessed by ERA, with the majority of UIC definitions subsequently deemed to be sufficiently precise, clear, and aligned with ERA’s recommendations. However, a more detailed examination of the definitions for line and track-kilometre indicators was judged necessary, particularly in consultation with the SP’s European members.

Consequently, a questionnaire was distributed to SP European infrastructure managers (IMs), outlining the criteria to be included and excluded in the measurement of line and track lengths. The responses to this questionnaire were summarised and analysed by the steering committee, with the majority of European IMs that responded adhering to the major criteria. Nevertheless, discrepancies were noted for minor criteria, although this will have a minimal impact on the measurements. For example, differences were observed in the application of exclusions for lines exclusively reserved for tourist trains.

As a result, it was decided that further investigations would be conducted with the members concerned to enforce a more rigorous application of the minor criteria in the definitions. WG1 will convene to assess the explanations provided by the members, and subsequent decisions will be made regarding the need for clarification in the explanatory notes. A formal communication will then be sent to ERA and Eurostat accordingly.

Moreover, in response to a request from Eurostat, WG1 deliberated on the feasibility of distinguishing between regional and suburban passengers in short-distance traffic statistics, and came to the conclusion that this is not currently possible. These findings will be communicated to Eurostat.

Another discrepancy related to the definition of gross tonne-kilometres of passenger trains hauled will also be reported. Indeed, as per the UIC definition, the weight of passengers and their luggage is included in the calculation, whereas this is not the case in the Eurostat definition, as outlined in the ITF/UN/EUROSTAT Glossary for transport statistics [2].

Next, WG2, which focuses on data collection and updating statistical variables, discussed the possibility of adapting the questionnaire for “Table 81 - Energy consumption by rail tractive stock” to include alternative fuels. To facilitate this process, and with the guidance of the Traction Energy and Emissions group coordinator, a brief survey was conducted among SP members to determine the extent to which railway undertakings (RUs) and infrastructure managers (IMs) use alternative fuels such as HVO, biodiesel blends, and hydrogen.

The survey results revealed that several members are actively using certain alternative fuels, such as HVO and biodiesel blends. In close cooperation with the Traction Energy and Emissions group, WG2 will draft a proposal to update Table 81, including the integration of new variables that can accommodate these alternative fuel sources.

In parallel, the committee made the decision to incorporate battery-electric multiple units (BEMUs) into Table 21, which pertains to tractive stock. These BEMUs will be included in the same category as electric multiple units (EMUs).

Concerning the questionnaires in Table 10 on High-Speed Infrastructure and Table 20 on High-Speed Rolling Stock, WG2 discussed the speed thresholds, in order to align the UIC definitions with Eurostat’s [3]. The existing 200km/h threshold has raised issues in its application, as it does not consistently distinguish between conventional and high-speed infrastructure and rolling stock, given that some conventional lines and rolling stock can accommodate these speeds.

As a response, UIC will prepare a memo outlining these concerns, and the committee will decide whether to arrange a meeting with Eurostat, DG Move, and ERA to further explore this topic.

As part of its efforts to simplify the station classification method (as outlined in UIC Leaflet 180), UIC has observed a positive level of responses to the pilot questionnaire for “Table 14 - Stations and stops for passenger traffic on the infrastructure manager’s network”. In this questionnaire, stations are classified based on the types of train services operated, including regular, international, intercity, regional, and suburban trains.

WG3, responsible for the definition and calculation of indicators, proposed clarifications for the following financial indicators:
Ind 7: Passenger traffic costs per pkm
Ind 8: Freight traffic costs per tkm
Ind 9a: Infrastructure costs per km of line
Ind 9b: Infrastructure costs per train km
The aim of this is to address misunderstandings that some members have encountered in calculating these indicators. An explanatory paragraph will be included in the upcoming financial indicator report, set to be published on the extranet in January 2024.

Developments are underway for Railisa, in compliance with data protection regulations, along with new elements being incorporated into the infographic functionalities by WG4. Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane (FS) will present these developments during the next plenary meeting.

A special thank you goes to PKP PLK for their exceptional organisation of the session, as well as for the captivating cultural tour of the Gdansk Museum, near the shipyard, and of the city’s historic centre.

The next plenary meeting will take place in Paris on 6 December 2023. The next Steering Committee meeting will be held on 28- 29 May 2024, in Basel, at the invitation of SBB.

UIC members are invited to continue to provide their data using our online tool:

To download UIC data, visit Railisa:

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