UIC HQ and Lithuanian Railways leadership meeting
On behalf of Mr Jean-Pierre Loubinoux, UIC Director General, the UIC HQ delegation and Mr Mantas Bartuska, Director General of Lithuanian Railways (LG - Lietuvos Geležinkeliai), exchanged views on current issues and specific challenges to be met by the Lithuanian rail network. The meeting’s participants also analysed UIC’s experience to be shared with LG for its network’s specific situation to be supported by the available UIC tools. The meeting was held on 19 March 2018 in Vilnius in the frame of the UIC and OSJD expert meetings on IT & Coding hosted by LG on 20-23 March 2018 in Vilnius.
Mr Bartuska was introduced along with UIC’s ongoing activities within the area of international standardisation and certification to be applied in the development of international corridors and transportation.
UIC shares experience
During discussion the participants pointed out some specific topics linked to the international dimension of standardisation and certification.
In the railway field, standardisation and certification are some of the main tools to consolidate the achievements obtained, to allow for development and dissemination and, thus, it constitutes a key asset in the hands of the regulatory bodies and various railway companies.
For many years UIC, thanks to its associative nature, has undertaken a path to enhance its natural vocation of the Standards Setting Organisation (SSO) in respect of its traditions and of the heritage of railway knowledge accumulated in more than 90 years of history.
In this line, UIC has introduced the International Railway Standardised Technical Solutions (IRS), which naturally constitute voluntary tools of credibility between interfaces [industry – railway companies – customers], that allow UIC Members [railways companies] to pool specifications and processes among different users, to define the basic functions, interfaces and performances of railway systems and to assist stakeholders in their implementation, application and management.
Those tools, subject to be applied by certification processes, must prevent components of inadequately quality or “marketing lock-in strategy” to be supplied to railway networks and, thus, to provide UIC Members with enhanced safety, interoperability and increased cost-benefit efficiency.
EU cross-border countries: more opportunities mean more challenges with safety first
Since 2005 Baltic States rail networks have been legally part of the EU-1435 regulatory area but still remain technically integrated in the OSJD-1520 rail network. According to Mr Bartuska, LG needs to keep the legal interoperability with the EU network while maintaining the existing technical compatibility with OSJD-1520. The implementation of Rail Baltic project financed by EU funds results in a dual rail system to be operated within the Baltic States territories. It will require a dual system of technical requirements for hard rail components (infrastructure and rolling stock subsystems) and dual professional requirements for soft components (human resources). The meeting’s participants agreed that staff vocational training is of the highest priority which ensures the network’s safety.
Following Mr Bartuska’s request, UIC is the only platform which is supposed to develop and propose the special professional training programmes for the staff of railway companies (UIC Members) operating both 1520 & 1435 systems in order to meet the safety and interoperability requirements. “The operation of a dual 1520/1435 system may provide many new business opportunities and benefits but at the same time requires specific challenges to be met and safety is the first one”, concluded Mr Bartuska.