Wednesday 8 December 2021

Seventh UIC Digital Conference held on 3 December

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The seventh UIC Digital Conference held on 3 December was a full success. Philip van den Bosch welcomed the participants. Some 80 participants from around the world attended this online conference.

UIC General Director François. Davenne opened the conference.

He stated that UIC had welcomed the opportunity to be present at COP26 and went on to say that rail transport faces a huge challenge, since it has not yet become the backbone of mobility in every country. He also recognized the immense opportunity this represents, since rail transport is clearly already part of the solution and we have 10 years to entirely change the paradigm.

Digital investment is needed to extend the capacity of rail transport - through optimisation - without requiring massive structural investment. We need solid telecommunications and autonomous trains with 5G as our backbone.

Our challenges are how to develop capacity, establish customer experience and become resilient.

At UIC we have a common vision and the technical tools to succeed.

The second introductory speech was made by Mr. Evgeny Charkin, RZD Vice President and Chairman of the UIC Digital Platform.

He held a presentation on digitalization from the point of view of the Russian Railways, saying that 90% of cargo uses electronic documents and 70% of passenger tickets are electronic in Russia.

The development of 5G and autonomous trains, along with startup solutions, will help achieve our digital transformation.

The UIC Digital Platform was showing its ability and legitimacy for worldwide recognition.

The keynote speech session began with Roel Zuidema, Atos. He spoke of digital platforms becoming important to rail traffic management in supporting a highly effective rail ecosystem.

Data and connectivity (5G/FRMCS) will help reduce delays, shorten resolving times for incidents, achieve adequate use of production means and provide a shared real-time view of an actual situation.

The second keynote speech was made by Susan Haimet, McLedger, standing for multimodal green mobility and favouring rail transport to lower CO2. McLedger provides a digital platform as coordinator and facilitator to create a European rail freight market - light ‘rail’ express freight. The company provides digital tools to establish contact with all market sectors and offer visibility and predictability to the entire ecosystem. Their tools are adaptable to every country and can serve to expand already existing systems.

The presentation session subsequently began with a demonstration by Marie-Hélène Bonneau, Head of the UIC Security Division, regarding a European project named SAFETY4RAILS that UIC is taking part in together with 29 other partners. The goal of the project is to increase the railways’ resilience to combined cyber-physical threats.

The second presentation was given by Antonio Lopez, General Manager at Hit Rail, regarding an EU-funded project named 4SECURAILS that Hit Rail and UIC took part in as partners. He explained the CSIRT model and platform prototype dedicated to rail transport, which was designed and validated during this project. The mission of the platform is to support information sharing and generate threat intelligence among the railway cyber security teams.

The third presentation made by Professor Aleksei Korolev from the Russian University of Transport dealt with the results of the UIC APRA project on digital modelling of railway power systems. He explained the importance of digital modelling in solving operational problems and he illustrated the modelling of train performance and power flow studies.

Sandra Gehenot, UIC Freight Director, reviewed the event and the realisation of the UIC Digital Platform in 2021-2022. She referred to the end of the first phase of DIGIM II (connected level crossing) and said that for the second phase the call for participation will be sent out soon.

She spoke of the concrete activities being performed in the UIC freight department relating to the digitalization of international rail freight operations and referred to the digital platform Rail Freight Forward and Translate4rail, a European-funded project being coordinated by UIC.

Parinaz Bazeghi, Project Manager at UIC, held a presentation on the sixth UIC Digital Awards. She indicated that despite the sanitary crisis that all countries are dealing with, UIC received over thirty applications of high quality for the UIC Digital Awards. She mentioned that UIC had prepared a directory for UIC members in the UIC Extranet on the Digital Platform to gain easy access to information on startups. She also mentioned that a LinkedIn group for the UIC Digital Platform has been launched and she invited the members and startups to join this group to follow up the digital activities of UIC.

Philip VAN DEN BOSCH announced the winners in each category.

  • Productivity category: SMRT Corporation Ltd on Track Access Management System (TAMS), from Singapore
  • Safety category: Hoosh Afzar Gostar Sazeh from Iran
  • Services category: FAIRTIQ from Switzerland
  • Services category: Cylus from Israel

Mr Lam Sheau Kai, the president of SMRT Trains, presented the Track Access Management System, a digital solution designed to automate planning, allocation, and monitoring of track access for maintenance and engineering works.

Kimia Esmaeilzadeh, a researcher at Hoosh Afzar Gostar Sazeh, presented their project regarding “Ballast contamination detection using smartphones.” Using a cheap and easily accessible solution, the smartphone, to collect information and detect damage from ballast by image processing.

Markus Fedra, Business Developer, presented FAIRTIQ, an innovative, dynamic company that makes travelling by public transport easier than ever before. The FAIRTIQ app offers the simplest, most cost-effective tickets for passengers, transport authorities and public transport operators. After a highly successful launch in Switzerland, they are now expanding into new markets. Their ultimate goal is to simplify sustainable mobility internationally.

Daniel Shkedi, Director of Product Marketing at Cylus for Services explained that Cylus offers solutions that are specifically designed to address the unique requirements and needs of the railway industry. They enable the detection of cyber threats in signalling and control networks, both trackside and on-board, and facilitate an effective response before harm happens.

For further information, please contact Parinaz Bazeghi, UIC Digital Advisor at

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