5 – 6 June 2012: a sustained programme of activity for UIC Africa

As part of the work of the UIC African Region, chaired by Mr Mohamed Rabie Khlie, Chief Executive of Moroccan National Railways, a series of events and meetings of prime regional significance for Africa took place in Tunis from 5 – 6 June 2012.

Firstly, in collaboration with Tunisian National Railways (SNCFT) a seminar was held on “Railway safety and human factors”, which was attended by 120 senior managers from 10 African countries. The full and fruitful discussions pinpointed three avenues whereby safety management systems can be significantly improved: the need to take account of environmental aspects, the need for a forum via which experience and good practice can be shared, and the need to draw on human and social sciences approaches in order to better manage safety.

In addition to and alongside this seminar, the UIC African Region’s Executive Board also met. On its agenda were a review of achievements during the first half of 2012 and a look forward to upcoming activities during the rest of this year. Besides the aforementioned seminar, these include, in brief:

  • Preparations for the third Global Rail Freight Conference (GRFC), to be held from 17 - 19 October 2012 in Tangier (Morocco);
  • A training session on the fundamentals of railway safety, to be held in November 2012 at the Railway Training Centre in Rabat (Morocco);
  • The launch of the “Africa Express” initiative on 25 April 2012 in Morocco and the associated press conference held in Rabat. Departing from Tangier (Morocco), the purpose of “Africa Express” is to showcase and examine energy-related projects during the train’s eight-month, 20,000 km journey across 23 African countries;
  • Strengthening bilateral cooperation via various information and liaison meetings between African railways.

In addition, the Executive Board validated the development strategy for African railways between now and 2025, which was presented by the Technical Committee, and the proposed means of implementing it. This road-map will be presented to the ninth Regional Assembly.

For more information please contact Jean-Pierre Lehman, UIC Coordinator for Africa: lehman@uic.org

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News from UIC members

Belgium: inauguration of Diabolo, the strategic Air/Rail link at the centre of Europe

On 7 June, HRH King Albert II officially opened the new Diabolo railway complex in the presence of several attendees including politicians, CEOs and representatives of all the partners (Northern Diabolo NV, Infrabel, SNCB, SNCB Holding, Thalys, TUC RAIL, THV DIALINK, Eurostation, The Brussels Airport Company, the European Union). On 10 June, Infrabel made the new Diabolo railway infrastructure available to the railway operators. The date also marks the commercial commissioning of the northern railway access to Brussels Airport for passengers.

Diabolo is a strategic railway link for the Airport and Brussels, with connections to domestic and international railway corridors. The Diabolo is the (underground) railway connection between Brussels-National-Airport station and the new dual-track railway line Schaerbeek – Mechelen (L.25N) along the central reservation of the E19 motorway. This northern link in the railway axis Antwerp – Mechelen – Brussels constitutes the next important step in improved access of Brussels Airport by rail. From Mechelen it will now take about 10 minutes to get to the Airport by rail; from Antwerp around 30 minutes - either way, it is a 30 minute gain as compared to current travel times.

Thanks to Diabolo, Brussels Airport will be directly connected with the major axes of the Belgian network and with several European cities, via the international axes Amsterdam - Antwerp - Brussels - Paris and Frankfurt – Liege – Brussels – Paris. After completion of the Belgian high-speed network, which since 8 December 2009 has been in service from border to border (in the direction of France, Germany and the Netherlands and in the direction of Great Britain through the Eurotunnel), Belgium once again has strategically positioned itself at the centre of Europe.

Diabolo and the Nossegem railway curve fit into Infrabel’s step-by-step strategy of progressively and sustainably increasing the safety, punctuality and capacity on the Belgian railway network via well-thought out investments. This ’Air Rail’ strategy towards intermodal enhancement of the connection between air and rail traffic enables Brussels Airport to grow into one of the best connected airports by rail in the whole of Europe as well as worldwide.

Diabolo marks a first for the Belgian railways because it is the first public-private partnership in the rail sector to be completed. The financial closing and granting of the building contract took place on 28 September 2007 and included transfer of the building and demand-related risks to the private investor.
The total investment for Diabolo amounts to 678 million euros (at 2012 price level) and includes works financed with private investment in the PPP as well as with public investment (Infrabel). The European Union contributed 15 million euros for construction of the Schaerbeek – Mechelen railway line (= part of the public investment). Through Northern Diabolo NV, the private partner financed construction of the underground rail connection for a fixed amount of 290 million euros.

The PPP Diabolo, which was awarded the ’Transport Deal of the Year 2007’ prize by the British magazine PFI, is a model example for other public-private partnerships in Belgium and Europe, including the Liefkenshoek rail link in the Port of Antwerp, which constitutes Infrabel’s second successful PPP.

Without a doubt, the most spectacular part of the Diabolo project was the computer- and laser-driven boring of the two single-track tunnel shafts at 16.5 metres below the key runways of Brussels Airport. Using a tunnel boring machine of 66 metres long, both 1.07 km long tunnels were excavated separately, ensuring that air traffic was not hindered during the works.

With the commissioning of Diabolo, Infrabel progressively increases not only the access from and to Brussels Airport, but also the capacity on the Belgian railway network to the benefit of its customers. In addition, the Belgian railway infrastructure manager works on phased realisation of two other ’airport connected’ railway projects. In the northern area, Infrabel will be constructing a railway bypass for delivery by 2016, which will connect to Line 25N and Diabolo. The goal is to further increase capacity on the strategic connection Brussels - Antwerp - the Netherlands. Infrabel also plans to build two additional tracks and two new platforms at the back of Mechelen station, which tie in with the Mechelen Station Surroundings Master Plan.

(Source: Infrabel)

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10th UIC Regional Assembly for the Middle-East (RAME) meets in Doha, Qatar

UIC signs agreement on joint Action Plan with ECO – High-Level conference on “Vision and Perspectives for an Integrated Rail Transport System in the Middle-East” in November 2012 in Jordan – Seminar on “High-Speed in the Middle-East” planned in October 2012 in Ankara – Rail Training Centre for the Middle-East Railways created in Turkey

The UIC Regional Assembly for the Middle-East (RAME) bringing together the CEOs of UIC Member railways from the Middle-East, held its 10th meeting in Doha, Qatar, at the invitation of Qatar Railway Company (QRC). The regional assembly was chaired by Mr Süleyman Karaman, President of Turkish railways (TCDD) and vice chaired by Mr Ali Abdol Saheb-Mohammadi, Vice-Minister of Road and Transportation of the I.R. of Iran, President of Iranian Railways (RAI). The regional assembly also included the Chairmen/Director-Generals of the Railways of Syria (CFS and Hejaz Railway Syria CFH), Jordan (Aqaba Railway ARC and Jordan Hejaz Railway JHR), Saudi Arabia (SRO), Iraq (IRR), Iran (RAI, NirooTransport, METRA), the National Transport Authority of the United Arab Emirates UAE (UIC member since 2010) and Qatar Railway QRC (UIC member since December 2011). UIC was represented by its Director-General Jean-Pierre Loubinoux and UIC Coordinator for the Middle-East Paul Véron.

The permanent Office of “UIC Middle-East” led by Mr Abbas Nazari from RAI is based in Tehran. The Doha meeting was also attended by Mr Altaf Asghar, Deputy-Secretary-General of the Economic Cooperation Organisation (ECO) based in Tehran.

The meeting was opened by UIC RAME Chairman Mr Karaman and Eng. Saad Bin Ahmed Al Muhannadi, CEO of Qatar Railways who warmly welcomed all participants. In his opening address UIC Director-General Jean-Pierre Loubinoux underlined the importance of capitalising on the dynamism of the railways in the Middle-Eastern region to boost regional cooperation activities in terms of rail promotion and lobbying, and cooperation on technical issues. Considering all the promising projects being implemented or planned in Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Jordan, Iraq, Syria, as well as in the Gulf (GCC) region, the UIC Regional Assembly for the Middle-East with the support of UIC HQ should contribute to gain effective support from international organisations, governments, financial institutions, investors and all kinds of potential partners to the projects. After the recent difficult conditions in a number of Middle-Eastern countries, it is the right time to boost regional cooperation between railways at professional level, in line with UIC’s three core values of “Unity”, “Solidarity” and “Universality”.

In this context the ambitious and wide-ranging railway projects in Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Qatar were presented in detail by the respective Presidents and CEOs.
The UIC Middle-East Office distributed for the first time an extremely informative “Map of UIC Middle-East Railways” prepared in cooperation with all members concerned and illustrating all existing and planned railway lines, and new railway connections in the region.

During this meeting, Mr Jean-Pierre Loubinoux signed a joint “2012-2015 Action Plan for Cooperation on Rail Transit Development” on behalf of UIC with Mr Altaf Ashgar, Deputy-Secretary-General of ECO, the intergovernmental body based in Tehran grouping 10 Member States from the Middle-East and Central Asia. This Action Plan is a follow-up document of the Memorandum of Understanding signed in January 2001 between UIC and ECO. The main objectives consist in promoting the development of regional and international rail transit along the corridors in this (ECO) region at the crossroads for corridors connecting Asia, the Middle-East and Europe.

In order to present the Rail Vision for the Middle-East, a decision was made to hold a high-level conference in November 2012 in Jordan under the title: “Vision for an integrated Rail Transport System – Railway Projects and Perspectives in the Middle-East”. This high-level conference to be attended by ministers and high-level members of governments, international organisations, financial institutions and banks, railways, partners from the transport world, business and trade as well as international media, will offer a unique opportunity to draw attention to the railway plans in the region, and gain strong support from all stakeholders.

The approved “2012-2013 Action Plan for the UIC Middle-East Region” also includes the organisation of a “Seminar on High-Speed for the Middle-East” with Turkish Railways in Ankara in October 2012, a “UIC RAME Investors Forum” in connection with the 2nd GCC Railway Meeting in the second half of 2013 possibly in the UAE, a “Seminar on Rail/Ports Cooperation” also in the second half of 2013, a “Seminar on Railway Interoperabilty” (addressing technical, operational, commercial, administrative and legal interoperability) in Qatar in 2013 as well as Working Group meetings on Safety, Railway Operations in Desert and Extreme Conditions.

An important decision was adopted by RAME Members in the field of training with the creation of the “UIC Middle-East Railway Training Centre” (MERTCe) at the initiative of TCDD and UIC. The objectives are described in a message from Mr Karaman as follows: “MERTCe is designed to create a solution for the training needs of railways emerging due to the fast developments in the Middle-East. It is envisaged that MERTCe will make contributions to the creation of a common railway area in the Middle-East in the medium and long-term and to the provision of interoperability via training and education”. MERTCe will be managed by TCDD in close cooperation with UIC and based in TCDD’s Rail Training Centre of Eskisehir, Turkey.

The 11th meeting of the UIC Regional Assembly for the Middle-East is planned to be held in Jordan, the day prior to the high-level railway conference in November 2012 (date to be confirmed).

For more information please contact Paul Véron, Director, UIC Coordinator for the Middle-East: veron@uic.org

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Average rating: 4 / 5


10th Mediterranean Logistics and Transport Forum 2012 “New Winds from the South” took place in Barcelona on 5, 6 and 7 June 2012

Among some of the major topics discussed this year was the issue of bridging the existing gaps across the Mediterranean countries. Bridging the gaps will lead to a more effective transport infrastructure. So far the debate has focused on the prospects for transport and the logistics sector in the context of a more integrated union for the Mediterranean, as well as an overview of market conditions from a regional perspective.
In addition to the Spanish authorities and representatives, the event was attended by the Egyptian and Moroccan Ministers of Transport.

UIC, represented by Bernard Schmitt, Senior Freight Advisor, participated in the conference entitled: “The railway in the Mediterranean, a booming sector”

Chaired by the General Secretary of FERRMED Mr Joan Amoros, the speakers Mr Benmaarouf of SNTR Group, Algeria, Mr El Amraoui Azzedine, Freight and Logistics Director at ONCF, and Bernard Schmitt, addressed issues such as:

  • The integration of the railway into the Euro-Mediterranean transport plan.
  • How to successfully integrate multi-modal infrastructure: key factors of successful implementation, regulation and legislation.
  • Will rail ever compete with other modes of transport? Future project planning and
    execution constraints, pricing and future funding models, managing environmental
    constraints on infrastructure developments.

The 3rd UIC Global Rail Freight Conference (GRFC) – organised jointly with ONCF – which will take place on 17 and 18 October in Tangier, Morocco, was presented at the end of the forum as one of the major forthcoming events.

For more information please contact Bernard Schmitt: schmitt@uic.org

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GSM-R Operators Group meeting No 47

The UIC GSM-R Operators Group meeting #47 took place from 29 May to 1 June in Stockholm, at the kind invitation of Trafikverket (the Swedish Transport Administration).

The GSM-R Operators Group (OG) is a group of experts, including members from ADIF, DB Netz, DB Systel, FTA, JBV, Network Rail, ProRail, RFI, SBB, SNCF and TV, tasked to maintain/update the EIRENE SRS (System Requirements Specifications).

The GSM-R specifications EIRENE SRS as well as EIRENE FRS (Functional Requirements Specifications) are part of the CCS TSI, dealing with functional and system requirements for GSM-R.

This meeting was exceptionally extended from the normal duration of 2 days to 3 days, due to the need to finalise key items including Change Requests, while optimising the additional travel time extension.

Apart from the usual work where most of the expected results were achieved, one important aspect of this meeting was the discussion of the OG role, as one of the major actors of the UIC technical body role for the ERA ERTMS/GSM-R CCM Process.

It was agreed that OG shall address:

Maintaining and developing Specifications according to Change Control Management (CCM) principles based on Implementation Reports, including:

  • Maintaining the Mandatory for Interoperability (MI) requirements within the ERA ERTMS/GSM-R CCM Process
  • Improving harmonisation for System Mandatory (M) requirements
  • Ensuring interoperability through follow up of standardisation for optional (O) features (ex. GPRS, UUS field content, Fixed terminals interface SDC, GID…)

The list of items to be addressed was established and recorded in a document (O-3073 v2.0), agreed within UIC, CER, EIM, GSM-R IG, and presented to ERA since 2011.

The group will provide the necessary support to enable the EIRENE roadmap to be established for the coming years, including the next EIRENE release deadline, agreed with ERA, CER, EIM.

As the main streams for current and future developments, it was agreed to focus on:

  • Introduction of IP within the transmission and radio network and for fixed and mobile terminals
  • Developing Packet Switching GPRS/EGPRS for ERTMS
  • Developing Quality of Service requirements and testing conditions for Voice and ETCS GPRS
  • Addressing harmonisation of national applications
  • Follow up through ERA CCM of Mandatory for Interoperability features and Interoperability constituents

The next OG #48 meeting is planned from 10 – 12 September 2012, in Finland.

For more information please contact Dan Mandoc: mandoc@uic.org

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UIC Innovation Awards 2012: First applications received!

In May UIC received the first applications for the UIC Innovation Awards and welcomes this very positive demonstration of interest from its members as well as other stakeholders working for the benefit of rail innovation in this first edition of this event.

All awards applicants must register online at:


Applicants can also send their completed application to:

Mr Dennis Schut, Research Manager, schut@uic.org
or International Union of Railways - 16 rue Jean Rey - F-75015 Paris - France

Deadline to submit applications is 3 August 2012.

To know more about the contest rules, do not hesitate to visit our dedicated website: www.railway-research.org/awards/

The official awards ceremony will be held in Paris on 11 December 2012, the day before the UIC General Assembly, also celebrating 90 years of the founding of UIC and international cooperation between members within our association.

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4th edition of the International Level Crossing Awareness Day (ILCAD): International launch conference on 7 June 2012 at RFF Headquarters in Paris

On the occasion of the 4th edition of ILCAD, RFF hosted the international launch conference of ILCAD 2012 on 7 June.
Representatives from 42 countries around the world, their partners, institutions and the media had the opportunity, either physically or through internet (open to the public) to follow the ILCAD 2012 international conference.

Seven eminent French and international speakers, specialists in human factors and behaviour, time perception, level crossing safety, education and road safety were invited to talk and exchange on safety issues at level crossings, the debate was moderated by Ann Swardson (Bloomberg, Washington Post Paris).

The International Level Crossing Awareness Day campaign 2012 was officially open by Hubert du Mesnil, RFF Chairman:
“RFF is very proud to welcome the official launch of ILCAD 2012, organised by UIC, and most happy to see that a French initiative in 2008 has become first European and then worldwide. In France, our commitment has enabled fatalities at level crossings to be halved in the last 10 years. We have to continue our efforts towards better road safety.”

Jean-Pierre Loubinoux, UIC Director-General added:
“Since 2010, the first truly International Level Crossing Awareness Day, more than 42 countries around the world are involved including four new partners: (Morocco, Turkey, Spain and Norway). On 7 June 2012 under the single logo “ILCAD” and a single motto: “Act safely at level crossings”, they organise their campaign either only on 7 June, or during one week or one month like RFF. We are targeting even more partners, thus enabling the campaign to reach an even wider audience of potential level crossing users.”

The first part of the debate was dedicated to an overview of the situation in France, in Europe with last consolidated figures from ERA and concrete examples of education campaigns in Estonia, Poland, Great Britain, and more globally from the U.S.A. and Australia.

The second part of the debate concentrated more on human factors AND behaviours (main causes of accidents, impatience, time perception in our today’s society.

Marcel Verslype, European Railway Agency (ERA) Executive Director started with an overview of figures on level crossing safety in Europe.

Alan Davies, Community Safety Programme Manager, National Programmes at RSSB (U.K.) and ELCF Chairman gave examples of misuses at level crossings, their causes, and mentioned examples of education campaigns aiming at changing people’s behaviours when using level crossings:
Martin Gallagher, Head of Level Crossings at Network Rail presented the situation in Great Britain as far as Investing, Research, Engineering, Education and Enforcement are concerned.

Katarzyna Kucharek, Head of the social communication section, Information and Promotion Office PKP Polskie Linie Kolejowe S.A. presented the Polish campaign.
Tamo Vahemets, Chairman of the Board, Operation Lifesaver Estonia gave information on the Estonian campaign.

Helen Sramek, President of Operation Lifesaver (OL), Inc. provided information about the activities conducted in the USA on ILCAD day through a pre-recorded interview.
Michael Martino, Association of American Railroads (AAR) described the actions carried out by AAR jointly with OL inc. and railway companies during ILCAD.
Bryn Nye, Chief Executive Officer, Australasian Railway Association in a pre-recorded interview revealed the situation in Australia as far as level crossing safety is concerned.
Girolamo Ramunni, Research Director, CNAM in France gave his position on the perception and management of time.

Emmanuel Renard, Director, Education/Training Dept. at the French Association for Road Safety Prevention: “They study risky behaviours at level crossings and help the railways in their awareness campaign delivering awareness messages”.

For further information please visit our website: www.ilcad.org that received five times more visitors than last year!

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EUR 77.6 million for signalling and telecommunications works on the Albacete-Alicante AVE high-speed railway line

The European Investment Bank (EIB) has granted a loan to Albali Señalización, amounting to EUR 77.6 million, for the financing of the proposed signalling and telecommunications works on the Albacete-Alicante High-Speed Line (HSL). The EIB/Albali Señalización financing agreement was signed on Friday 25 May in Madrid.

The loan will address some of the investment requirements of the first high-speed rail project put out to tender by ADIF under a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) scheme.

The project involves the drafting of projects, execution of works and the maintenance and preservation of signalling and fixed telecommunications systems, centralised traffic control, civil defence and security, train protection systems, mobile GSM-R telephony and infrastructure for High-Speed Line public mobile telephone operators.

Apart from the EIB, this project has received subordinated financing from Axis-ICO. Albali Señalización, the project’s special purpose vehicle, is owned by the French fund, CDC Infrastructure, the Spanish fund Fond-ICOinfraestructuras, Alstom, Emte, Isolux, Caf and ADIF.

The project forms part of the Madrid-Alicante High-Speed Railway, a corridor which the European Union considers a priority. Furthermore, the project meets economic and social cohesion objectives since the investment projects requiring financing are located in the Convergence regions of Castilla-La Mancha and Valencia.

(Source: EIB)

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News from UIC members

Eurotunnel: Amid the Diamond Jubilee celebrations, a glittering record for Eurotunnel Le Shuttle - 26,000 tourist vehicles carried in one weekend

For the first time in its history Eurotunnel Le Shuttle has carried more than 10,000 tourist
vehicles in a 24 hour period between Folkestone (Kent) and Coquelles (Pas de Calais).

On Friday 1 June, the cross-Channel railway shuttle service transported 10,380 cars and 128 coaches. The previous record had been set on 26 July 2010, with 9,382 tourist vehicles being carried in a single day from England to the continent.

Taking into account the traffic figures for Saturday 2 June, which was also extremely busy, and those of Sunday 3 June, Eurotunnel will have carried more than 26,000 tourist vehicles from Folkestone to Coquelles over a three-day period, surpassing the previous record for the equivalent UK peak holiday departure period at the end of July last year.

The seamless reliability of the Eurotunnel transport system and its intrinsic values made this feat possible: five departures an hour in each direction, a crossing time of 35 minutes and a load factor of almost 100%.

On their return journey tens of thousands of customers will be able to take advantage of the latest improvement to the Eurotunnel service. From 6 June, between 8.00am and midnight, Le Shuttle trains will run at 160kph instead of the current 140kph, giving a crossing time of around 30 minutes.

(Source: Eurotunnel)

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News from UIC members

Switzerland: Gotthard railway line closed for one month following landslide

Following a rockslide on the Gotthard line, the geo-radar system used to track rock movement has provided some preliminary results: the cliff face remains intact but must remain under surveillance as there is still a risk of landslips. The Gotthard line remains closed to traffic until work has been completed to monitor and secure the site, clear away debris and restore the area to normal. The work is expected to take approximately one month.

Railway operations remain the same. Customers travelling from Basel, Olten and Aarau have been advised to take trains going via Bern-Brig-Simplon. Those leaving from Zurich and Lucerne can take the train to Flüelen and transfer to buses to get to Göschenen, but can expect to arrive at their destinations up to 90 minutes later than usual. Goods trains have also been diverted.

(Source: SBB)

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Africa Express: follow the team which left Morocco at the end of April for a 10-month tour of Africa!

Crossing Mauritania and arriving in Senegal

Following Stage 1 / Paris – Rabat, the in-the-field members of the Africa Express team Claire Guibert and Jérémy Debreu travelled on the Moroccan railway network between the end of April and early May to complete Stage 2 of the journey / Rabat – Marrakech – Ouarzazate. In Rabat, the team worked on the “energy” aspect of the Africa Express project, notably on the national programme of energy efficiency in buildings as well as the Ouarzazate solar power plant, which from 2014 will be the most powerful plant in the world when its production of renewable energy is increased to 500MW. All the extremely interesting discussions the team held with their various Moroccan counterparts will be included in the White Paper, whose purpose is to collect and record a whole series of facts and accounts from the Africa Express Mission. All this will contribute to the possible developments in the area of renewable energy in Africa, and this will enable the team to make recommendations for a series of improvements on the subject at the end of their Africa tour.

The team then travelled south to Dakhla on 5 May, entering Mauritania on 7 May. The team’s aim was to take the world’s longest train with the help of SNIM, the company which charters this 2-km mineral train. Following the warm welcome from Moroccan Railways (ONCF) which hosted the team, the latter was ready to test the great Mauritanian train!

Stage 3 / Mauritania and the Desert Train

Thus, on 7 May, the team travelled across Mauritania, the second country in the tour of Africa. During the year that was spent preparing this project, the team had identified certain key moments in the adventure. The Desert Train, which links the mines at Zerouate to the port of Nouadhibou, was one which the team had been waiting for in particular.

After a 48-hour bus journey, the team reached Mauritania having crossed Western Sahara in the south of Morocco. In Nouadhibou the team was looked after by SNIM (National Mining Company of Mauritania), the private company which charters this legendary train.

The team members then stayed in Nouadhibou until 10 May before arriving in Senegal for an intensive three-week schedule: four energy projects, several conferences and taking part in a radio programme called “It’s not hot air”, which was recorded while they were there and broadcast on Radio France International (RFI).

Stage 4 / 2 weeks in Senegal, Mali trip called off

The team arrived in Senegal on 11 May to study four pilot energy projects, each with a specific solution adapted to the local context. As the projects are still in the start-up phase, it is difficult to conduct a full life-cycle study. Only time will give an indication as to whether they will respond to the challenges: business model profitability, securing funding, self-governance by the local population, equipment maintenance, etc.

The Africa Express team congratulates the project leaders and partners for the quality of the work and their warm welcome:

  • ADENA in Namarel, for the project on a solar-powered refrigeration system for storing milk
  • EolSenegal Dakar, an organisation which focuses on the building, installation and maintenance of small wind turbines
  • BatiAfrica in Casamance, for the forthcoming launch of the “Femme Soleil” project
  • Schneider Electric and ANEV, with the inauguration of the Dar Salam eco-village in the region of Tambacounda taking place during the team’s visit – the first of many Africa Express then planned to travel to Mali for a three-week study.

Unfortunately, due to political events, and after consulting national authorities and the French Embassy in Mali, and in agreement with the leaders of the projects selected as part of Africa Express, the Africa Express team has regretfully cancelled its trip to Mali.
The team will nevertheless be in touch again in a future edition of eNews to share its adventures with you and the next stages in its first tour of Africa by train!

The train is the chosen means of travel for this mission. It also presents a unique challenge to successfully complete the first train journey through Africa!

A unique challenge

Travelling over 20,000 km by train and across the African continent for eight months is quite a challenge in itself.
Now picture having to go from one place to another using a network that is not even everywhere but that has shaped this continent: some lines have and still play an important role in transporting people and goods.

Established in the early 20th century, the African railroad reached its peak in the 1980s. Despite the dreadful conditions in which some of the lines were built, it has been an economical gift, allowing agriculture and mining to develop in certain countries (Democratic Republic of Congo, Mauritania, Ivory Coast...); or simply by opening up remote regions. After that period it lost much of its importance due to technical and economical difficulties: obsolescence due to high maintenance costs combined with the decline of passenger and cargo traffic. Nonetheless, Africa Express’ journey will take legendary railway lines and trains such as the Lunatic Express, the Congo-Ocean line and the Tazara, among others.

Travelling by train means...

  • Using a sustainable, low-emitting and economically-viable transportation mode Understanding how it is a key social element and facilitates meeting opportunities
  • Saying no to the dictatorship of speed and advocating for a certain vision of the world

Discover some incredible African trains and the entire Africa Express route!


You can follow their journey by visiting http://www.africaexpress.fr/

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News from UIC members

France: Appointments at SNCF - Mrs Rachel Picard succeeds Mrs Sophie Boissard as new Director-General of Gares & Connexions, Jean-Pierre Farandou appointed Associate Director-General of EPIC SNCF

At the proposal of SNCF President Guillaume Pepy, the Board of Management of French Railways has appointed Mrs Rachel Picard as new Director-General of Gares & Connexions, the branch of SNCF in charge of stations. Rachel Picard, 45 years and a graduate of the HEC Paris business school, has been Director-General of voyages-sncf.com since 2007. She succeeds Mrs Sophie Boissard who takes over her new responsibilities as Associate Director-General for Strategy and Development at SNCF from 7 June.

Also at the proposal of President Guillaume Pepy, the SNCF Board of Management has appointed Mr Jean-Pierre Farandou as Associate Director-General of EPIC SNCF, a new position created close to the President. His task will mainly consist in steering the changes and adaptations to the running of EPIC SNCF (“Public Industrial and Commercial Establishment”). Jean-Pierre Farandou, 54 years and a graduate of France’s Ecole des Mines de Paris engineering school, was previously Director of the branch SNCF PROXIMITES, comprising TRANSILIEN, TER, INTERCITES and Keolis/Effia.

(Source: SNCF)

UIC warmly congratulates these appointees on their nomination.

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UIC e-News Legal Editor: Marie Plaud-Lombard
Coordination: Helen Slaney
Editorial team: UIC e-News Team, Paris 12 June 2012

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