The Plenary Session, chaired by Prof. Andrew McNaughton, was held in the presence of over 50 participants including representatives from JR East, KORAIL, CER, EIM and UIC Headquarters.
Mr Gerard Dalton, Infrastructure Director, informed members on behalf of Jean-Pierre Loubinoux, Director General of Services, on UIC matters and the outcome of the UIC General Assembly meeting in June.
The new Structure of the UIC HQ, approved in July, consisting of 4 Technical Departments, namely Passenger, Freight, Rail System-Infrastructure and Fundamental Values, has been shown briefly to the Forum members.
Mr Dalton explained shortly the new way of voting according to the new UIC status with the Opt in system for the Budget in 2010 in relation to Infrastructure Forum issues.
Mr Dalton also took the opportunity to compliment his staff on the work carried out during the 8 years that they have been under his direction and indicated that his contract as Infrastructure Director at the UIC would be finished in December 2009.
Prof. Andrew McNaughton presented a proposal for a new working structure, the “Rail System Forum”, integrating the Infrastructure Forum, Platform Technology & Research (PTR) and the ERTMS Platform. The goal of this new structure was a greater efficiency within UIC and in relationships with CER, EIM, ERA, CEN, CENELEC and other bodies. Prof. McNaughton outlined the need to rather focus on technical excellence than political matters and to integrate the work of Rail Experts in the System. A formal proposal to establish the Rail System Forum will be put forward to the General Assembly on 8 December 2009 for approval.
The evening before Steering Committee of the Infrastructure Forum led a long discussion on the necessity to integrate Asset Management, Maintenance, Operations and Market & Development in the new structure and consequently the question arose where these topics shall be dealt with.
Mr Ossi Niemimuukko from RHK, Jens Melsom from JBV, and Mirosław Kanclerz from PKP commented that more time was needed for internal discussions for members to be able to comment this important issue.
It was concluded that the relation between Infrastructure and other UIC Fora still needed some clarification and that Asset Management, Market & Development and Commercial developments should be clearly integrated in the Rail System Forum. The Infrastructure Forum Steering Committee would meet again to reflect on the comments received and Members were asked to support the evolution wholeheartedly.
Simon Fletcher, UIC Regional Coordinator for Europe, updated members on the development of tripartite discussions carried out between UIC, CER and EIM and the establishment of the new CTG (Coordination Technical Group). The goal of the new structure was to be able to be more pro-reactive to the programme from ERA with the CTG as a common interface to react accordingly. The UIC as a technical body will support the work of the CTG in technical as well as Operational and Safety aspects. Mr Fletcher assured members that no change in the way of governance is foreseen for either of the three organisations, UIC, CER and EIM.
The second part of the Infrastructure Forum Plenary Session was dedicated to project reports of the main Projects in 2009 and a forward outlook to work to be dealt with in 2010.
Mrs Dagmar Haase, Chairperson of the Market & Development Sector, opened this section with some introductory words on behalf of the Market & Development Group and introduced Dr Wolfram Merzyn who gave a progress report on the European Performance Regime (EPR) project on behalf of its Project Manager, Mr Claus Kandels. The European Regional Assembly (RAE) meeting on 7th December 09 in Paris will be asked to approve the EPR Handbook which will bring the project to a conclusive stage apart from the piloting of the scheme which will take place in 2010.
An update on the deliverables of the Asset Management (AM WG)Working group was given by Mr Gerard Dalton on behalf of Mr Anthonie Bauer, PRORAIL and Chairman of the AM WG. Members were invited to join and be an active part of the Working Group. It has also been decided to extend and update the LICB Database within the AM working programme.
Mr Antonio Lozano, Chairman of the UIC Technology Sector, gave an overview on the work carried out by his Sector which formed, according to him, the basic support of the UIC Infrastructure Forum.
Mr. Björn Paulsson showed a very detailed presentation outlining the most important deliverables of INNOTRACK adding that this European commission driven project was a very good example of a fruitful cooperation between IMs, Industry, University and Research & Development. He also pointed out that, taking some other recent EU Projects into account, an investment of 2 Million Euros from Infrastructure Managers would give access to the results of projects with an approximate value of 60 Billion Euros.
Mr Paulsson invited members to participate at the Innotrack General Assembly and Workshop on 19th January 2010 in Paris. He concluded that he would take further visits to IMs in 2010 in order to discuss future implementation and give an overview of the results. Five or six dissemination courses would follow in 2010.
Mr Hansjörg Hess, Vice-Chairman of the ERTMS Platform, gave a brief overview on the deliverables of the ERTMS Programme – ERTMS Platform Services, ERTMS Regional/ETCS, GSM-R and INESS/DOORS data with a total of 1,9M€ budget provided for 2009. He showed the list of deliverables that have been produced in 2009 and mentioned that over 50% of the ERTMS installed has been outside of Europe according to information from industry.
Mr. Paolo De Cicco, Senior Advisor UIC, presented a summary of the results of the ERTMS Benchmarking study. Mr De Cicco invited members to study the document distributed at the meeting (also available on the UIC Extranet) and offer advice on out how to improve it further.
Mr. Emmanuel Buseyne, Project Manager, outlined that one of the main goals of INESS was to significantly reduce the Life Cycle costs of future interlockings and associated outdoor equipment. He listed the 30 members who currently formed the INESS consortium and underlined the importance and further participation of the Umbrella railways (a small number of Active Members outside the Consortium delivering input directly through UIC) and then gave an update on the status of the deliverables progress. More information on deliverables and content of the current work is given on the web site www.iness.eu and the UIC Extranet.
Mr Dan Mandoc, Senior Advisor UIC, followed with a presentation on European Railway IP Infrastructure and Telecommunication also highlighting progress made in the GSM-R area.
A Technical study has been released by UIC on LTE, and to be reviewed by Railways and Industry. Mr Mandoc’s recommendation was to clearly not delay any network roll-outs or to wait for any future long-term mobile radio technology, because neither the standardization nor the needed trials have been finished so far. Instead it was strongly recommended to decide for 3GPP (3rd Generation Partnership Project) participation as soon as possible in order to bring in the Railway requirements into the standardization process of future mobile radio technology. However, first of all GSM-R operators need to clarify their position regarding new technologies and new applications
An overview on work carried out by the Energy & Traction Experts Groups were given on behalf of their chairman Mr Alvaro Fumi, by Mr Schiavi (UIC Senior Advisor). He clearly outlined the impressive amount of work carried out by this group of Experts.
Mr Michael Robson, Secretary General of EIM, showed a jointed CER/EIM presentation, with support from Mr Libor Lochman, Deputy Director General of CER, to Forum members on current EU issues relevant to Infrastructure Managers.
At the end of the Plenary Session the chairman Prof. McNaughton took the opportunity to thank Mr Dalton for his staunch and inspiring work during the past 8 years for the Infrastructure Forum and its Steering Committee.