On 17 March a delegation of the Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport (DG MOVE) of the European Commission visited UIC’s headquarters in Paris to hold a contact and information exchange on the role and activities of the railway operating community’s international association in both technical and global dimensions.
DG MOVE was represented by Mr. Olivier Onidi, Director Directorate B, European Mobility Network together with Mrs. Sian Prout, Head of Unit, Single European Rail Area, Mr. Patrizio Grillo, Deputy Head of Unit, Single European Rail Area and members of the team, Amelia Areias – ERTMS, Kathrin Obst – Digital, International Affairs & RU Dialogue, Kornelija Vasauskaite – OSJD and Safety and Bertand Collignon – Interoperability and Standardisation. Richard Lockett, Head of Innovation, and International Standardisation at the European Railway Agency (ERA) was also present.
UIC participants were Jean-Pierre Loubinoux, Director General, together with several Directors, Simon Fletcher (Coordinator Europe), Marc Antoni (Rail System), Jerzy Wisniewski (Fundamental Values and Coordinator Africa), Thierry Bera (The Digital Railway) and Paul Véron (Communications, Coordinator Middle-East).
The purpose of this exchange was to update DG MOVE on the technical issues in which UIC is currently engaged and to focus in particular on the issues linked to the development of the technical business needs of the Railway Operating Community (ROC) in Europe and especially those that are liable to need research and innovation, technical development and/or standardisation.
After an introduction by Olivier Onidi and Jean-Pierre Loubinoux, the meeting provided an opportunity for a rich and comprehensive exchange and open discussions on respective priorities and focuses of both organisations in the context of railway technical issues.
On behalf of DG MOVE, Sian Prout summarised the priority issues for the European Commission: the Technical pillar of the 4th Railway Package, a strong emphasis on Rail Freight development (TEN-T Corridors,..), cooperation with OSJD in particular in the technical areas, OSJD corridors, etc., the extension of new technology for reducing noise emissions by freight wagons to an international level, development of international (global) cooperation between EU and China, Japan, Gulf Cooperation Council GCC, Iran,.., digitalisation, ERTMS deployment and Shift2Rail. The UIC team readily identified a number of points whereby a generic engagement between DG MOVE and the UIC would be beneficial. It was however pointed out that the work on the Technical pillar of the 4th Railway Package is being coordinated by the UIC’s partner organisations the CER and the EIM.
Patrizio Grillo addressed the issue of Interoperability and Standardisation and mentioned among priorities for interoperability, the future of ERTMS and Automatic Train Operation (ATO).
In a discussion about the value of “International Railway Standards” (IRS – produced by the UIC) to the elements of Design, Construction, Operation and Maintenance of the railway system, it was highlighted that the way that the UIC is approaching the production of the IRS is a suite of professional railway standards reflecting the business requirement and specifications approved by the RUs and IMs that form the ROC to cover their needs regarding safe, interoperable and economically viable operations.
IRS are produced as part of the UIC cooperation system and are not, despite opinions to the contrary, in any way intended to competing with the legal framework (TSIs etc) or European standards as they are produced by CEN,...
UIC has very close cooperation with international standards organisations. An Technical Cooperation Agreement was recently signed with IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) and a similar agreement is in preparation with ISO (UIC is already participating at 5 ISO Technical Committees TCs). There is already a framework in place between UIC and CEN_CENELEC that is currently subject to review.
Considering the fast development of digitalisation in the rail sector, the meeting commonly recognised the need for a very cooperative and reactive development of this topic. Clearly the Digital Railway must be coupled to the deployment of ERTMS, from which past lessons must serve as catalysers for the future. There must be a systemic approach, something on which it was highlighted that the UIC’s recently created Digital Platform is focussing. This is being done on the basis of the important principles of “Open, Share, Connect” and the Platform is setting out to facilitate the organisation of an effective cooperation between companies in Europe to collaboratively face the challenges of the future.
DG MOVE outlined their objective to boost cooperation of the EU with other regions of the world, in particular Asia and the Middle-East. It was agreed the UIC would associate DG MOVE to any global events or activities that have a relevance with these European Commission objectives, in particular in liaison with the “UIC Regions” and the respective UIC HQ Coordinators.
In this context DG MOVE will receive from UIC more detailed information on following events planned in the next months. As a starting point the following were identifed
- the International Oil, Rail & Ports Conference on 15-16 May 2016 in Tehran (organisation by UIC, ITE, RAI under the Patronage of the Minister of Transport and the Minister of Petroleum of the I.R. of Iran,
- the 5th UIC Global Rail Freight Conference GRFC on 22-24 June in Rotterdam, under the Patronage of the Dutch Secretary of State for Infrastructure and Environment, and in continuation of the TEN-T Days organised by the European Commission in Rotterdam,
- the 1st International Conference on the New Rail Silk Roads on 4-6 October 2016 in Almaty, Kazakhstan,
- the next International Level Crossing Safety Awareness Day (ILCAD) to be held in Latvia on 10th June and in Estonia on 11th June - http://www.ilcad.org/ILCAD-2016.html