Wednesday 20 December 2023

The UIC SFERA Working Group hold a new stakeholder workshop

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On 8 December 2023, the UIC SFERA (Smart communication For Efficient Rail Activities) Working Group held a workshop for Driving Advisory System (DAS)/Automatic Train Operation (ATO) market stakeholders and the SFERA User Group to learn about the latest developments and implementation around SFERA and DAS. The event took place at UIC Headquarters with the option of joining online, in order to welcome stakeholders that need to be closer to SFERA’s development.

The session was opened with a warm welcome to the audience by Philippe Stefanos, UIC Senior Advisor for Energy, Environment and Sustainability, and was followed by an introduction by UIC’s Daniele Arena of the SFERA project’s status and its current implementation by Deutsche Bahn Netz, Infrabel, Nederlandse Spoorwegen (NS), Prorail, Swiss Federal Railways (SBB), the National Railway Company of Belgium (SNCB/NMBS), and SNCF Voyageurs.

It was followed by a deeper look into SFERA’s implementation at Trafikverket in terms of the existing C-DAS project and future plans, presented by Peter Olsson. Sébastien Dislaire from SNCF Réseau discussed the aims of SNCF Réseau’s implementation roadmap, Daniel Friedl from ÖBB spoke about ATO goals and how to achieve them using an evolutionary approach, and Yves Wyder (MTrail) gave a presentation on the supplier’s point of view regarding verifying interoperability.

Participants then had the opportunity to hear about:

  • The adaptation of the Common Interface (CI) to C-DAS operations, given by Pynthe, who talked about the CI and SFERA architecture. He also mentioned the standard technologies coming from the RNE certificate, the current and new, scalable, widely available and high-performance RNE common interface.
  • The digital European instructions and SFERA, from Dislaire. He discussed the Digital Instructions (DI) with its benefits including safety, punctuality, efficiency and reduction of language barriers. He said that DI via SFERA would aim to become a de facto standard by being adopted by the respective members. He added that a taskforce had been established in February 2023 with experts from the SFERA DI project members, as well as a requirements list for SFERA and DI being made.
  • The conclusions of the joint work with X2Rail4, presented by Benoit Bienfait and Benoit Abisset from Alstom (who is a member of X2Rail4). They gave an explanation of SFERA, a logical architecture with a focus on track/train communication interoperability, and concluded by mentioning the group’s achievements and next steps.
  • A joint SFERA-rail ML session, given by Vasco Paul Kolmorgen and Alain Wenmaekers from Infrabel. They gave a presentation on optimising data exchange for Driver Advisory System and introduced railML.
  • The start of EU-Rail and its impact on DAS and SFERA. Bart van der Spiegel from Infrabel talked about the innovation pillars, focusing on new developments, the harmonisation process and the tasks and domains.

The participants were then invited to reflect on the challenges of implementing SFERA interoperability in a mini workshop. Thomas Sutter, SBB, led a group for infrastructure managers and railway undertakings and by Alain Wenmaekers, Infrabel, for all other stakeholders (suppliers, developers, manufacturers, and so on).

The workshop concluded with an exhibition/fair featuring demonstrations and allowing time for networking.

For more information, about the project, please get in touch with the UIC SFERA project managers [] or register for the User Group at

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