A UIC General Assembly of an exceptional nature in Portoroz!

UIC Statutory Meetings to be held from 26 – 27 June in the very place where governments decided to create an international railway organisation

The UIC statutory meetings to be held on 26 and 27 June in Portoroz, Slovenia (and close to Venice), at the kind invitation of Slovenian Railways SZ, will be of an exceptional nature and have a strong symbolic value. The Regional Assembly for Europe (RAE) on 26 June followed by the UIC Executive Board, and 84th General Assembly of the association on 27 June, will take place in the exact location where representatives of governments met in November 1921 at the international conference of Portorosa (now named Portoroz) on the Adriatic coast and decided to create an international organisation for railways.

The conference of Portorosa (Portoroz) was followed by a second international conference in April-May 1922 in Genoa, Italy, and in October 1922 the Constitutive Assembly of the UIC was held in Paris with participation of representatives of 46 railways from 27 including China and Japan and the Middle-East, as well as of the League of Nations. From this date and already in the following months, UIC membership grew continuously to the 240 members it has today from over 90 countries on all 5 continents. UIC continued activities throughout all international crises, with the exception of the Second World War.

The aim of UIC’s creation was to empower one single international association with the management of all specialised conferences and agreements dealing with to international railway operations.
The initial mission was to harmonise conditions for railway construction and operations for international traffic.

For UIC and the worldwide railway family, coming back to UIC’s place of birth in Portoroz at the kind invitation of our Slovenian Member SZ will provide a unique opportunity to pay tribute to the work achieved within the UIC’s international cooperation framework over the past 92 years and to the main results obtained in the cooperation activities with strong involvement of all members, from heads of railways to very specialised experts.

This will also be an opportunity to discuss in Portoroz the current and future orientations to develop and strengthen UIC’s role to successfully support all efforts of its members to improve effectiveness and competitiveness of rail transport at global level, for the benefit of markets and society as a whole.

Therefore an appeal is sent to all UIC Members, Presidents and CEOs to join the worldwide railway family for this very exceptional occasion in Portoroz.
Meeting there 92 years after the first steps of our association is a wonderful occasion to demonstrate to the world the strength and continuously renewed value of UIC, as well as its willingness to further influence the future developments of rail transport during the next decades, in particular through the Strategic Visions developed in close cooperation with each UIC Region.

To confirm your presence or for more information please contact Mrs Karine van Ceunebroeck, Senior Advisor at the UIC Institutional Relations Department: vanceunebroeck@uic.org

12 Votes

Average rating: 3.58 / 5


13th Meeting of the UIC Regional Assembly for the Middle-East successfully held in Ankara

Important UIC RAME conference on Railway Interoperability to be held in Qatar, ERTMS regional workshop in Jordan

The 13th Meeting of the UIC Regional Assembly for the Middle-East (UIC RAME) was held on 8 May in Ankara at the kind invitation of Turkish State Railways (TCDD) and under the chairmanship of Mr Süleyman Karaman, Director-General of TCDD and Chairman of the UIC Middle-East Region.

The Meeting followed a joint TCDD/UIC joint Seminar on Rail Safety and Security also held in Ankara from 6 – 7 May (report on this joint TCDD/UIC Seminar in next week’s UIC “e-News”).

Together with Chair railway TCDD, the following railways were represented at this RAME Meeting: RAI from Iran (Mr Khodaie), 1st RAME Vice chair railway, Aqaba Railway ARC (Mr Hussein Krishan, RAME Vice Chairman ) and JHR (Mr Salah Al Louzi from Jordan Hejaz Railway), Niroo Rail Transport NRT Co from Iran (Mr Gholamreza Mehryar), Mr Yamma Shams, Director General of Afghanistan Railway Authority (AfRA) admitted as a new UIC Member in December 2013 and who attended for the first time, Qatar Rail (Eng. Saad Bin Ahmed Al Muhannadi, CEO) for one part of the meeting.

The UIC Regional Office for the Middle-East was represented by its Director Mr Abbas Nazari from RAI, UIC by Director-General Jean-Pierre Loubinoux and Middle-East Coordinator Paul Véron.

On opening the 13th RAME Meeting, Mr Süleyman welcomed all participants to Turkey and reviewed the main rail achievements and projects which underline the impressive dynamism of rail transport in the region, in Turkey as well as in several networks in the region.
He also expressed the wish that the political and social situation can be stabilized in a number of countries in the Middle-East, allowing cooperation and rail development projects to be restarted in an effective way.

Taking the floor, UIC Director General Jean-Pierre Loubinoux warmly thanked Mr Karaman and Turkish Railways for their invitation to Ankara. He emphasised that “every time when members are invited to a country with very strong cultural identity, it is shared by all members from the region who share a rich heritage from the history as well as a common vision for the future. And this is the backbone of UIC, the transmission of values to create unity. Rail development and rail values are stronger than what can divide and it is our common objective to create a world of efficient and free mobility…”

Mr Loubinoux reviewed the main results from the 12th RAME Meeting at the Dead Sea in Jordan and reminded participants of the presence of the Minister of Transport of the Kingdom of Jordan, Dr Lina Shabeeb, who underlined the essential role that UIC has to play for the members in the region: implementing a shared railway vision, achieving interoperability through common standards, helping members to gain support from international organisations and financial institutions, assisting them through training programmes.

The UIC Director-General also congratulated the UIC Regional Office for the Middle-East led by Mr Abbas Nazari for all the important and valuable results obtained since the last meeting in Jordan.
The major achievement is the finalisation of the “Strategic Action Plan 2013-2020 for the Middle-East railways”. This strategic vision was complemented and updated in close cooperation with all members in the Region.
It offers for the first time a coherent presentation of all projects in the Region, including multimodal connections and international routes or corridors.
The UIC Regional Office also distributed at the meeting the updated report “Regional and Supra-Regional Rail Transportation Linkages – Middle East”.

Next steps will include the development of a communications plan for the appropriate dissemination of these two strategic documents which will contribute to raising the credibility and influence of the UIC Middle-East Region towards all decision-making bodies and organisations.

In his opening address, Mr Jean-Pierre Loubinoux invited members from the region to be fully associated with UIC’s global projects. He mentioned as an example the TALENT Strategy for Expertise Development which was approved at the last UIC General Assembly and includes the creation of a rail MBA in close partnership with a series of leading business schools and universities.

2013-2014 Action Plan for UIC Middle-East

After a comprehensive presentation by Mr Abbas Nazari of the 2013-2014 results of the UIC Regional Office (reports, contacts with institutions, website, etc.), future actions for the UIC Middle-East Region were presented and commented on by Regional Office Director Mr Nazari, and UIC Coordinator for the Middle-East Mr Paul Véron, and submitted to the Directors-General for approval.

In addition to efficient communication based on the UIC Middle-East Strategic Vision and Action Plan 2013-2020, the UIC RAME Region will organise a number of activities in the shape of conferences, seminars, workshops relating to the priority issues previously defined by member railways.

On political and strategic issues, UIC RAME will participate in the international conference of COTIF (in cooperation with ECO) planned to be held from 29 – 30 September 2014 in Tehran.
TCDD will invite a UIC RAME International Business Seminar (Investors Forum) to be held in Antalya in the second half of 2015.
Iranian Railways (RAI) will invite a joint Rail/Ports and Oil/Rail international conference to be hosted in June 2015 in Tehran.

On issues of seamless operations and interoperability, an important UIC RAME conference on Rail Interoperability and Standards is planned at the invitation of Qatar Rail QR in Doha, at a date to be confirmed (mid-November). This conference would be coupled with the 14th UIC Middle-East Directors-General Meeting. The conference will be focusing on technical, operational, legal, commercial and human interoperability in the Region, as well as asset management issues.
Following the successful 11th UIC ERTMS World conference jointly organised by UIC with TCDD in Istanbul in April 2014, the wish was expressed by members from the region to hold a dedicated ERTMS workshop for the Middle-East members, to discuss ETCS, GSM-R, SATLOC, etc. This seminar will be hosted by Jordanian railways (ARC and JHR) in October 2014 at the Dead Sea and coupled with the UIC RAME Infrastructure Working Group.

In the field of cooperation on technical issues, the Directors-General approved in principle the following events:

  • a RAI/UIC Seminar on Passenger and High Speed issues, open to all RAME Members planned on 30 August – 1 September 2014 in Tehran,
  • UIC RAME Rail Safety Working Group, date to be confirmed in June 2014 in Tehran,
  • UIC RAME Rail Safety and Security Seminar, follow-up of Ankara Seminar (6 – 7 May 2014), date and location in 2015 to be confirmed,
  • UIC RAME Infrastructure Maintenance-Desert Operations Working Group, coupled with ERTMS Regional workshop, October 2014 at the Dead Sea, Jordan.

Mr Adem Kayis, Deputy Director-General of TCDD, then reported on activities of the Middle-East Railways Training Centre (MERTCe) completed in 2013 or planned for 2014 and 2015.
Whenever possible, a connection will be made between the technical training workshops and the MERTCe programmes.

Finally Mr Abbas Nazari also informed the Directors-General about the efforts to attract new members to the UIC Middle-East Region and so increase the UIC RAME representativeness and credibility vis-à-vis partners and stakeholders.




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

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EU Railway Conference in Lille (8 May)

As part of its 10th anniversary year, the ERA arranged a conference in Lille on 7 and 8 May with the intention to demonstrate the benefits of the European Railway Agency’s work and at the same time to address the challenges of the future.

The conference attracted in excess of 300 railway sector stakeholders and decision-makers from the Rail Operating Community (ROC), user organisations, railway equipment suppliers and political representatives from in- and outside the EU. The media were encouraged to cover the event and were present.

The UIC was represented by Simon Fletcher, Coordinator Europe, Hans-Günther Kersten, Director Rail System, Pierro Petruccioli, Head of Signalling and Telecommunications and Marc Guigon, Senior Adviser, Passenger. Other contributions to the event from the UIC were made via a range of maps and other visual information, some especially created for the event, related in particular to ERTMS.

Day 1 was devoted to an overview of what ERA has done, where it is today and where it feels the railway system in the EU is heading. The day was kicked off by a high level round table during which a video message from Jean-Pierre Loubinoux (who was not able to be present in person) was shown.

The key UIC message focused on the contribution that UIC has made as a platform for technical development and is able to make towards the interoperable rail system. With a systemic and integrated vision of the future (Challenge 2050 and the Rail Technical Strategy Europe) and the ability to develop solutions on issues such as increasing capacity, system efficiency and safety, the meeting was informed of the role that UIC plays for its members and the wider ROC in developing the European rail system of the future.

The message also focused on the core deliverables of International Railway Standards and that it is through a well-structured programme of preparing and publishing standards, coordinated by the sector, that the European legislative framework can be effectively introduced and which will then considerably facilitate the business of operating Europe’s railway system and for it to become a really strong transport backbone in Europe.

Day 2 was divided into three parallel sessions that focused on the different facets of railway safety and Interoperability, economics, removing technical barriers to interoperability and easing customer access to the network. It is in this latter category that Marc Guigon presented an overview of how the Telematics applications vision set out in the TAP TSI are progressively becoming reality.

It is worth highlighting that a significant amount of the work that has been developed by ERA for the TSIs has been undertaken on the basis of the suite of UIC standards (formerly known as Leaflets). UIC works closely with ERA to ensure that when a UIC standard is updated, that the changes the members agree to introduce are notified to ERA for inclusion in the next iteration of the TSI. This is especially becoming more relevant in the freight area where the revised TSI for freight wagons is going to focus on the core system-wide elements for interoperability and that the reliance on UIC standards for a range of other core technical aspects will be essential for system interworking.

The event offered ample opportunity for the audience to be able to participate in the various sessions as part of the Q&A sessions. ERA announced that they are planning to run another such event possibly in 2016. UIC welcomes this initiative and will be more than happy to work closely with the ERA team to ensure the development of the technical content of any such future event.

For futher information please contact Simon Fletcher: fletcher@uic.org

3 Votes

Average rating: 3 / 5


60th Session of the Council for Rail Transport of CIS States held in Astana from 6 – 7 May 2014

The meeting was attended by heads of the railway administrations of the Russian Federation, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, and associate members of the Council – the leaders of Georgian railways, Latvia, Bulgaria and Finland.

The meeting was also attended by representatives of the railway administrations of Lithuania, Estonia and Iran, the CIS Executive Committee and UIC.

The agenda of the meeting included the consideration of the results of operational work of the railway network in 2013 and first quarter of 2014, the settlement between the railway administrations, train schedule for 2014/2015, implementation of the agreement on a unified management system and use of freight wagons.

Discussions included the acceptance of changes in the regulations such as rules of operation, numbering and cross accounting for the use of freight wagons, as well as the rules of the transport of dangerous goods and provision for the maintenance of wagons.

The session was chaired by the President of JSC “Russian Railways” Vladimir Yakunin.
On opening the meeting, Karim Massimov delivered a message from the President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev.

“Thanks to the Council for Rail Transport which provides a foundation for the development of integration of countries in the region, we have a natural competitive advantage as a geo-economic bridge between East and West, Europe and Asia. In line with the current trend of globalisation, transport and logistics systems should become a driver of economic growth in the region and its integration into the global transport infrastructure,” noted the President of Kazakhstan.

Vladimir Yakunin stressed the role of rail transport in countries within the 1520 mm domain.

“At our meetings, we always look at the questions of operation through the prism of our economies, the development of the social sphere. Cooperation on “1520” greatly enhances the potential of single railway infrastructure development opportunities. So we’re talking about the overall rail network, a unified management system movement, common legal, technical and technological principles of activity of modern railways”, said Vladimir Yakunin.

He added that the decision to establish the Integrated Transport and Logistics Company was a clear continuation of the trend of 1520 railway integration.

The Council for Rail Transport and UIC signed the MOU in 2013. This cooperation created broad opportunities for common development for mutual benefit.

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REMINDER – The MERLIN Project is holding its mid-term conference in Antwerp on 17 June 2014!

Think about registering to secure your place for this important event!

UNIFE, UIC and the MERLIN project Consortium are pleased to invite you to attend the MERLIN Project Mid-Term Conference that will be held on Day 1 of the UIC Energy Efficiency Days 2014, a two-day major event co-organised by UIC, SNCB and INFRABEL and hosting the Eress Forum, comprising plenary sessions, and workshops providing an insight into the latest development of railways in the field of energy efficiency at a global, national and local level.

The MERLIN Project, partly funded through the Seventh Framework Programme for Research (FP7) of the European Commission, aims to investigate and demonstrate the viability of an integrated management system to achieve a more sustainable and optimised energy usage in European mainline railway systems.

Why should you attend?

Targeted at energy management experts and researchers from the rail transport sector, the conference will take stock of the research work performed so far, and will look ahead at the future tasks to be undertaken. It will also be the opportunity for participants to network and exchange on the project’s achievements at mid-term.

Conference highlights:

The topics dealt with at the conference will be the following:

  • The needs of railway operators in terms of energy management;
  • The five MERLIN Scenarios and their objectives;
  • The MERLIN Railway Energy Management System;
  • The links between EU Energy legislation and the railways;
  • MERLIN’s contribution to standardisation.

Ample time will also be devoted to discussion and exchange with the project participants.

The draft programme of the event is available here:

Do not hesitate to circulate this information around you.

We look forward to meeting you in Antwerp.

IMPORTANT: Make sure you are registered and that your hotel room is booked early!!

For more information on the UIC Energy Efficiency Days 2014, please visit http://www.energy-efficiency-days.org/ and to register for the MERLIN Mid-Term Conference, click here: http://www.energy-efficiency-days.org/spip.php?article8

For more information on the MERLIN project please visit http://www.MERLIN-rail.eu or contact Isabelle De Keyzer: dekeyzer@uic.org

0 vote

In memoriam: James Oberstar, a legendary figure in passenger train advocacy

James Oberstar, former US congressman from Minnesota and a legendary figure in passenger train advocacy, passed away earlier this week. He died on 3 May at the age of 79. Former chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee from 2007 – 2010, he served as a staffer on the panel in the 1960s and 1970s and then as a member from 1975 –2006, US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said:

“Jim Oberstar’s passion for sound transportation policy spanned decades, first as a staff person and eventually as chairman of the congressional committee that writes and oversees our federal transportation laws. He was a tireless advocate for safety, consumer protections and robust federal investment so that the American public could continue to enjoy the best transportation system in the world. His personal imprint on our national transportation policies across all modes cannot be overstated.”

As Emerson would say … “He has now hitched his high speed wagon to his stars”...

UIC conveys its thoughts and condolences to his family.

0 vote
News from UIC members

Australia: $1 billion to remove Victorian level crossings – a safe and smart investment

The TrackSAFE Foundation has commended the Victorian Government on its announcement to allocate over $1 billion dollars to upgrade level crossings in its 2014-15 Budget.
TrackSAFE Board Director and Australasian Railway Association (ARA) CEO, Bryan Nye OAM, welcomed the announcement saying that the Victorian Government’s continued commitment to level crossing safety showed just how serious it was about tackling the issue.
“The commitment the Coalition Government has shown to improve safety around level crossings throughout Victoria is admirable and a smart step in the right direction to reducing incidents at these notorious dangerous intersections,” said Mr Nye.
“Level crossing safety is an ongoing national issue with thousands of near hits at level crossings every year and each one is just seconds’ way from becoming a potential disaster.

“This billion dollar investment will see a further eight level crossings removed at key locations across the Victorian network, a significant investment in saving lives.
In addition to the $1 billion, 13 grade separations are being delivered as part of the Regional Rail Link project. The removal of five level crossings has been completed or is well under way, including Springvale Road, Springvale, Mitcham and Rooks Roads, Mitcham, and two level crossing removals at Anderson Road, Sunshine.

The Government has also invested $35 million to upgrade 75 regional level crossings with fully active controls including lights, bells and boom barriers. To date, 58 regional level crossings have been upgraded as part of this safety blitz.

“Level crossing safety remains one of the rail industry’s highest safety priorities. The destruction caused by a collision between a heavy vehicle and a fully loaded passenger train at a level crossing has been, and will continue to be, the most costly single incident in terms of potential catastrophic loss of life and economic impact.

“This is why TrackSAFE actively campaigns to keep this issue on the agenda and carry out education and awareness campaigns to highlight safety issues.

“To have practical support in the engineering space from government can only further help our cause,” Mr Nye concluded.

(Source: trackSAFE)

0 vote
News from UIC members

Czech Republic ČD railjet launches test operations with passengers

The first ČD railjet unit officially launched test operations with passengers on 6 May. From December ČD railjet units and ÖBB railjet units will connect Prague, Brno, Vienna and Graz at regular two-hour intervals.
By introducing railjets, ČD is strengthening its position in the area of international long-distance transport, and the Czech national carrier thus becomes part of an international network of fast and comfortable trains to which it will connect directly at the newly constructed Vienna Main Station transfer hub. This cooperation will benefit mainly passengers, who can also use the most modern type of train in inland transport between Prague, Pardubice, Brno and Břeclav.
“Today, we have enabled our passengers to use the first completely new train for long-distance transport, which represents – in addition to many technical innovations – a new level of quality in travel. Air-conditioning, an information system, restaurant, accessibility modifications for passengers using wheelchairs – these are already automatic components of many of our trains, but here we are offering our passengers additional new services and improvements as well,” says ČD’s Chairman and CEO, Daniel Kurucz, adding specific examples: “Business travellers can take advantage of the serenity of the new business class section with comfortable adjustable armchairs, while families with children will appreciate reserved seating near the children’s cinema. Nearby, there is also space for stowing prams and strollers. We’re also thinking about cyclists, which is not usual for similar fast trains. For these reasons, railjet between Prague and Brno is a good alternative not only to the bus but also to the personal automobile. The quality and speed of trains on this line is now at the European level, and railjet trains only confirm this fact.”

Modern ČD railjet units offer their passengers a high level of comfort as well as faster travel. Travel time between Prague and Vienna will be reduced from the current 4 hours 45 minutes to approximately 4 hours 10 minutes. After modernisations are completed on several line segments in the Czech Republic, ČD plans to reduce travel time between Prague and Brno as well. It will then be possible to travel from Prague to Vienna in less than 4 hours.

ČD’s 7-carriage railjet has a total of 442 seats, of which 6 are in business class and 42 are in 1st class. The train can travel at up to 230 km/h, is 185 m long without the locomotive and weighs 350 tonnes. Today, railjet trains are deployed on international connections between Hungary, Austria, Switzerland and Germany. And from December 2014 the Czech Republic will be added to this list as well.

(Source: ČD)

1 vote

Average rating: 5 / 5


UIC advocates modal shift as a solution to climate change at the UN Climate Ascent

UIC consulted national governments on proposals for modal shift as a solution to climate change at the UN Climate Ascent in Abu Dhabi on 4 and 5 May.

The Ascent was designed to achieve a major shift from negotiations to engagement on action and attracted over 1,000 participants, including 70 government ministers.

The two-day Ascent meeting was co-hosted by United Nations Secretary-General Ban-Ki-moon and the Government of the United Arab Emirates to prepare for the Climate Summit that will be held on 23 September in New York to raise ambition and action for climate change.

UN Secretary-General Ban-Ki-moon stated that sensed change was in the air “I challenge you to be part of that change – to be at the head of the race.” He also warned governments and major businesses “Don’t get left behind. Don’t be on the losing side of history” and went on to state that “Those who are prepared to lead can expect considerable returns. The business opportunities of the low-carbon economy are great. The social and environmental benefits for countries in all regions are yet to be realised.”

The event featured a number of high level speakers including a keynote speech by former Vice President of the United States Al Gore and a conversation on climate change with former Prime Minister of Great Britain Tony Blair.

During a dedicated transport breakout session, UIC engaged delegates from national governments by illustrating the low carbon performance of rail. UIC also proposed modal shift as a solution to climate change and an essential step for securing the 2 degrees scenario and decoupling of economic growth from CO2 emissions. The UIC session focussed on a discussion of key enablers for modal shift:

  • Rail placed as the backbone of sustainable transport master-plans, at both national and international levels
  • Investment in new rail projects
  • Investment in existing rail infrastructure
  • Simplified border controls to support international and intercontinental fright corridors
  • The right environment for private finance initiatives
  • Smart land use planning
  • Internalisation of external costs (e.g. via road pricing)

The UIC proposal was later highlighted by Helen Clarke, Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme and former Prime Minister of New Zealand, as a model initiative during her summing up of the event.

UIC will follow up this consultation at the UN Climate Summit on 23 September in New York.

An interview with UIC Director General Jean-Pierre Loubinoux on the UIC proposals is available here http://slocat.net/ascent-interview-jean-pierre-loubinoux-international-union-railway

For further information please contact Nick Craven: craven@uic.org

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IRU and UIC join forces to raise awareness of transport professionals on level crossing safety

International Road Transport Union (IRU) and the International Union of Railways (UIC) partner to decrease accidents at level crossings

In the framework of the Anniversary of the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020, the International Road Transport Union (IRU) and UIC have joined forces to initiate a Level Crossing Safety Checklist to raise awareness of transport professionals on the issue and reduce related casualties.
UIC General Director, Jean-Pierre Loubinoux, stressed: “We have been working for years on this risky interface but strengthening collaboration with road organisations such as the IRU is the key to improving safety at level crossings at the highest level possible.”

Level crossings are a common and necessary interface between road and rail infrastructures. However despite level crossing removals, in recent years, on average one person per day has been killed and close to one seriously injured at level crossings in the EU, where collisions at level crossings represent 25% of all railway accidents, leading to 29% of all fatalities on the European railways.

In addition to these casualties, collisions can also have a significant economic impact on society. Damages to road and rail vehicles can prove costly and cause huge traffic disruptions to both rail and road.

Commenting on the UIC/IRU collaboration, President of the IRU Commission for Road Safety, Rob Aarse, said, “For true road transport professionals, every road accident is one too many. We welcome this opportunity to work together with the UIC in tackling the issue of level crossing safety so that we can raise awareness among drivers of potential dangers and ultimately save lives.”

Beyond raising driver awareness, this cooperation will also help the two organisations enhance knowledge and safety in the design and use of level crossings.

  • IRU work to increase road safety
  • UIC work to increase rail safety

For further information please contact Isabelle Fonverne: fonverne@uic.org

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UIC calendar

UIC e-News Legal Editor: Marie Plaud-Lombard
Coordination: Helen Slaney
Editorial team: UIC e-News Team, Paris 13 May 2014

  Contact the UIC e-News team