Tuesday 2 May 2017

Innovating rail in the Baltic

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On 28 April, Director General, Jean-Pierre Loubinoux and Coordinator Europe, Simon Fletcher visited Mantas Bartuška, Director General of Lithuanian Railways (LG) and members of his top team in Vilnius, including Deputy Director General and Head of Passenger Traffic, Linas Baužys and Gintaras Sinkevicius, Head of International Relations and Corporate Affairs, whose team had so effectively organised the programme.

Having joined LG from the energy sector last December, Mr Bartuška outlined his priorities for the company. These include revitalising rail transport in Lithuania, making rail a far more attractive transport option for customers, growing rail’s market share, innovating the rail system – bringing it in to the digital age - and making LG a good place to work for the personnel.

LG is right at the heart of the Rail Baltica project and whilst the route for this key north – south trunk line passes through Kaunas rather than Vilnius, this will play a very key part in the innovation programme for LG and its customers.

With some 50million tonnes of cargo traffic each year and around 3million passenger journeys, the emphasis is on freight. The company however, is very keen to develop the passenger market not only in Lithuania but to and from its neighbours including Belorussia, Latvia and Poland.

Whilst most of the network is non-electrified, there are plans to electrify a significant proportion of the system and to utilise hybrid traction as part of its business model. GSM-R is used as the principle communications tool and ETCS level 2 will be utilised for the Rail Baltica and subsequent developments.

The programme of developing and publishing solutions related to the design, construction, operation and maintenance of the railway system that the UIC conducts, is something that LG already participates in. However, there is an intention, as part of their programme of innovative development to further engage in the work undertaken within the UIC so as to maximise collaborative opportunities for this forward-thinking company. This is especially the case for the development of freight traffic, establishing corridors (they are on corridor 8) and to learn more via the Digital Platform about the opportunities for rail companies in the digital era.

After the meeting and a very useful exchange of ideas and topics, a visit was arranged to the LG TCC next to Vilnius main station. This is a very modern, state-of-the-art facility which covers the entire LG network for signalling, train regulation and energy supply systems.

For further information please contact Simon Fletcher, Coordinator of the UIC European Region: fletcher@uic.org

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