High speed rail is not just a single area of expertise, but a complex system combining wideranging technical fields such as infrastructure, rolling stock and operations with crossdisciplinary issues such as finance, business, management, communication and training. Taking these factors into account, and facing an often tense economic, political and social climate in their countries, managers must take tough decisions that may prove historic in the field of transport in general and rail transport in particular.
The decision to build a high speed system and how to implement it is complex due to numerous parameters, different potential combinations and
the variety of stakeholders involved. In order to answer all these questions and satisfy the many requests for comprehensive and unbiased information on the subject made by its own members as well as consultancy firms, ministries, railway companies, etc., in 2004 UIC launched a special course, Training on High Speed Systems (THSS).
Since 2004 more than 500 students have taken active part in these sessions on an annual basis to learn more and share their experience with us (UIC members). The 12th session was organised in April 2016 and more sessions are planned for future years. Following proposals made by students in previous editions and at the request of UIC members, since 2012 we have offered a second level of training focusing on more in-depth and specific elements of high speed systems, with a particular emphasis on the theoretical aspects of fundamental issues (standards, environment, modelling, etc.).
In the second level, particular attention is given to the analysis and discussion of practical cases, which can prove highly useful when taking decisions in practice. A series of technical visits will complement the course programme.
The 4th edition of this Level 2 THSS will be held in Spain in October 2016 thanks to the cooperation of Spanish stakeholders in the field of high speed (Renfe Operadora, Adif, Fundación de los Ferrocarriles Españoles and Fundacion Caminos de Hierro FCH), giving the possibility of showing several different technologies and examples of integration of systems.