The UIC Intercity and High-Speed Committee Plenary, part of the UIC Global Passenger Forum, was held virtually on 11 December 2020, bringing together around 50 members from across Europe, Africa, Asia and the United States.
The Plenary opened with a few words of welcome by the Intercity and High-Speed Committee Chairman HUO Baoshi and UIC Passenger Director Marc Guigon, who thanked the participants for their attendance.
A keynote presentation was delivered by Andy Kunz representing USHSRA, the US High-Speed Rail Association, who spoke about stimulus plans for further investment in the railways in the United States and outlined the high-speed projects to be constructed and to be fast-tracked, in line with the Biden High-Speed Rail Report.
UIC Passenger Director Marc Guigon updated the meeting on the UIC Passenger Department concerning staff changes, the latest news regarding the various passenger business sectors, budget considerations, and spoke about the publication High-Speed Around the World.
Philippe Lorand, UIC Senior Passenger Advisor, gave a presentation on the New Normal study which was launched in September this year. The study is being jointly carried out with the Roland Berger consultancy firm and aims to provide recommendations to authorities, passenger operators and infrastructure managers on the post-Covid situation, new trends and scenarios, rail’s future modal share and how to adapt to life after the pandemic. The UIC Alliance of Universities for High-Speed is also part of this working group and will provide an academic perspective in this study.
Intercity and High-Speed Committee Chairman HUO Baoshi gave the latest report on the 11th World Congress on High-Speed Rail, initially scheduled to be held in 2020 but now postponed to 2022. He spoke about the preparatory work, the newly proposed venue in Beijing, China, explaining that the suggested date of 5 – 8 July 2022 is to be discussed and that the slogan and themes have to be finalised.
A report was delivered on upcoming projects to be funded in 2021 as well as on the status of existing projects in the field of High-Speed. Topics covered artificial intelligence, projects involving cooperation with the aviation sector, high-speed market regulation opening and deregulation framework as well as projects regarding operating high-speed in extreme natural conditions.
Other subjects discussed during the plenary included work on sector reference documents such as the High-Speed Atlas, research programmes, work on various IRSs (International Railway Solutions) specific to high-speed, the Alliance of Universities for High-Speed Rail, as well as the construction of the first High-Speed line in India.
In conclusion, Chairman HUO Baoshi thanked all contributions from the meeting members and highlighted that the UIC Intercity and High-Speed Committee was available to assist all members with their high-speed projects if needed. Though this meeting was held successfully online, Mr HUO Baoshi stressed that he was looking forward to the next face-to-face meeting as soon as the current health crisis is resolved.
The next meeting of the Intercity and High-Speed Committee is planned to be held in March 2021.