Tuesday 1 August 2023

The UIC Asia-Pacific Members met in Melbourne, Australia the week commencing 19 June 2023, for the 1st time since the pandemic, with the last events being held in Tokyo, Japan, in October 2019.

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A full week of events was organised for the UIC Asia-Pacific members in Melbourne, with the generous support of the UIC APRA Vice-Chair, Warwick Talbot, Deputy Executive Director of Strategy Portfolio & Investment at Sydney Trains, and the UIC representative for the Pacific region, Tom Sargant.

On Monday 19 June, the UIC Asia-Pacific Projects Follow-up Workshop, chaired by Warwick Talbot, the APRA Vice Chair and moderated by Irina Petrunina, UIC APRA Project Officer, successfully took place in Melbourne in a hybrid format. The workshop’s principal focus was on the project proposal presentation to select the projects to be launched in 2024.

Around 50 participants from Australia, China, India, Japan, Kazakhstan, Korea, Malaysia, and Georgia, to name just a few, attended the workshop where 24 project proposals were presented by UIC APRA members for potential 2024 activities. These were created according to the APRA Vision 2050, in different areas such as strategy, digital solutions, high-speed lines, interoperability & standards, safety, training & workshops, and infrastructure and sustainable development. The final selections will be made in October 2023 at the 35th Asia-Pacific Regional Assembly.

The second part of the workshop was dedicated to the ongoing projects and the project leaders informed the members about their progress, such as on:

  • Interoperability between ETCS trackside and other in-cab systems, undertaken by TfNSW, Australia
  • Best practices for global railway big data applications, and research on general data architecture for intelligent HSR, undertaken by CARS, China
  • Blockchain-based research to facilitate the customs process for international freight business, undertaken by SWJTU, China
  • Big Data for Railway Maintenance, undertaken by KTZ, Kazakhstan
  • Implementation prospects and features of a future railway communication standard in the Asia-Pacific region, undertaken by KTZ, Kazakhstan
  • Development of ballast track maintenance technology based on big data in the Asia-Pacific region, undertaken by KRRI, Korea
  • The IRaTCA Training Session on Railway Safety with Smart Technology being successfully hosted by KORAIL in Seoul, Korea, on 17-21 April 2023

The last part of the workshop focused on upcoming activities, such as the next UIC-KORAIL Training Session to be hosted by KORAIL, entitled “Railway Passenger Service based on IT Technology”, in Seoul on 4-8 September 2023 (https://uic.org/events/uic-korail-training-session ), the organisation of the 1st Asia-Pacific Rail Summit with UNCRD, which will be held on 23 October 2023 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, the organisation of a virtual workshop on switching to low carbon traction energy, initiated by KTZ, and the creation of the APRA Working Group on Metre Gauge Standards & Break of Gauge issues.

On Tuesday 20 June, the 20th UIC Asia-Pacific Management Committee (APMC) met in a hybrid format, with participants present in both Melbourne and online. At KORAIL’s request, Talbot, being the APRA Vice Chair, was asked to serve as acting Chair for the Asia-Pacific region until the new CEO of KORAIL was appointed, and he therefore welcomed all the participants and chaired the meeting.

The 20th APMC mainly centred around the new version of the UIC Asia-Pacific Regional Assembly (APRA) Terms of Reference and a presentation of the Working Programme 2023-2024 by the new acting Chair.

The session was closed by Talbot, who thanked the audience, both online and in the room, for their participation, and stated that he was looking forward to seeing them at the next APMC planned on 24 October 2023 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

On Wednesday 21 June, the 34th UIC Asia-Pacific Regional Assembly (APRA) was again chaired and moderated by Talbot, with members from all APRA regions (Central Asia and the Caucasus, ASEAN, Japan, China, Korea, India, and Australia) participating in the Assembly in various ways.

As they hold the UIC APRA Chairmanship, KORAIL started the Assembly with a welcome speech to the members of the region.

Member’s issues concentrated on recommending the membership application submitted by CRSDC, China Railway Signal & Telecommunication Co., for approval at the General Assembly on 7 July 2023.

A report was then given by Jung Kuyeong, Vice President and Board Member of KORAIL, representing the APRA Chair, covering the region’s activities and proposing strategy objectives for the Asia Pacific region.

François Davenne, UIC Director General, underscored the region’s status as the second largest at UIC in terms of development and financial input. The region’s objectives as well as interregional cooperation for the implementation of the UIC global strategy were also addressed.

A dedicated session was held for reporting on the Asia-Pacific region’s functioning and project progress since the last Assembly, with the active participation of the APRA members from Australia, Japan, China, Korea, Kazakhstan, Georgia, the Philippines, and Malaysia, in regional studies, training workshop being emphasised.

Project proposals for 2024 to be selected for regional implementation in the strategy, digital solutions, high-speed lines, interoperability & standards, safety, training & workshops, and infrastructure and sustainable development areas were also discussed, and the 2024 selection criteria were presented.

Next, Tom Sargant, Pacific Representative to the UIC Asia-Pacific Region, Milko Papazoff, South-East Asia Representative, Irina Petrunina, CIS Representative and APRA Project Officer, presented updates on the work and contributions to the region’s functioning and projects.

The Terminology Group’s new status detailed in a presentation by by Asako Togari, Chair of the Standardisation Platform.
Representatives from Kazakhstan, China, Japan, Australia, Korea, and India with its Chair & CEO, Lahoti Anil Kumar, took part in the discussions and were especially involved consultations on the Terms of Reference draft, which will regulate the region’s activity.
In his closing speech, Talbot thanked the participants for joining, supporting, and participating in the meeting.

The next APRA meeting will be held on 24 October 2023 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

On 22 and 23 June, UIC, held a Conference on Interoperability and Harmonisation together with members from the Asia-Pacific region. The conference was well attended both in person and online and represented the first major event for UIC in Australia since the pandemic.

Conference participants had the opportunity to hear from government ministers, policy makers and chief executives who lamented past short sighted mistakes and expressed a desire and a commitment to work together to achieve a better level of interoperability in the future. This means that each railway will need to operate and invest in a way that may incur higher individual investment costs, but will lower general costs across the railway network.

The North American PTC deployment was also mentioned as an example, with information being given on how the short timeframe and industry co-operation may not have been realised without a mandate from the Federal Government.

The conference also included topics from UIC and Deutsche Bahn on experiences of achieving interoperability in Europe and Germany and what was required to ensure that all operators met the performance specifications.

The important insight gained from both examples from Europe and North America was that interoperability and harmonisation do not necessarily mean that the exact same equipment should be used, but that a good performance specification can allow interoperability to be achieved.

Asia-Pacific examples from China and Malaysia were also presented to explain the work and investments that are currently in progress to maximise the prospect of achieving interoperability.

The conference also treated Australian initiatives regarding the management and rationalisation of standards to help realise interoperability in the future.

The consensus was that there was still a great deal of work to do and that organisations such as UIC that represent the whole industry are a great vehicle to help, as well as the UIC Standardisation Platform offering a solid foundation for achieving this in the future.

On 22 June 2023, François Davenne, UIC Director General, and Damien White, CEO of RISSB (Rail Industry Safety and Standards Board) signed a Sharing Agreement.

UIC also took part in the Conference on Railway Excellence 2023 as an Exhibitor (https://www.core2023.org/). The event was held in Melbourne from 19-21 June 2023, and did so at the invitation of RTSA (the Railway Technical Society of Australasia). All APRA participants were also able to join the CORE official dinner. UIC thanks RTSA for their kind invitation, which they have been extending since 2018.

For further information please contact Ms. Béatrice Ségéral, Senior Advisor
Institutional Relations & Asia-Pacific Region at segeral@uic.org

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UIC Asia-Pacific members with Mr. Lahoti Anil Kumar, Chairman of Indian Railways, Mr. Warwick Talbot, UIC APRA Vice Chairman, Mr. Jung Kuyeong, Vice President of KORAIL and Mr. François Davenne, UIC Director General.
UIC Asia-Pacific representatives : Milko Papazoff for ASEAN, Tom Sargant for the Pacific and Irina Petrunina for Central Asia and the Caucasus.
UIC APRA Vice Chairman: Mr. Warwick Talbot, Deputy Executive Director, Strategy Portfolio & Investment of Sydney Trains
Matt Longland, Chief Executive of Sydney Trains kindly opened the UIC Asia-Pacific Conference on Interoperability and Rail Harmonisation.
Mr. Damien White, CEO of RISSB (Rail Industry Safety and Standards Board) and Mr. François Davenne, UIC Director General, signed a Sharing Agreement.