Tuesday 24 March 2020

UIC Intercity & High-Speed Committee (ICHSC) meetings held through video & telephone conferencing from 9 – 12 March 2020

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Due to the unexpected global situation caused by the spread of COVID-19, the full set of meetings related to the UIC Intercity & High-Speed Committee planned to be held in Rabat from 9 – 12 March 2020 were held via video conferences and telephone conferences organised at UIC headquarters.

  • The Alliance of Universities for High-Speed Rail conference-call took place on 9 March
  • The High-Speed IRS Working Group met in a virtual meeting on 11 March
  • The Intercity & High-Speed Committee met in a virtual meeting on 12 March

The kind invitation from our ONCF colleagues to hold meetings in Rabat has been postponed to a future date when the situation gets back to normal.

The UIC Intercity & High-Speed Committee brings together several dozen UIC railway members who are either active in the high-speed domain in their day-to-day operations or have identified high speed as a development objective.

For the Members, the Committee is primarily a forum in which each member can share their experience and benefit from the experience of others in working groups and workshops. The Committee is a treasure chest of expertise entrusted to it by the members through discussions, communication, studies and projects. UIC makes this expertise available in several ways: by means of the “high-speed” database and maps, by issuing reference documents and numerous publications.

There was a full delegation in Beijing, about 10 members from China Rail and CARS (the Chinese Academy of Railway Sciences), a delegation from JR East in Tokyo, Members from Spain (ADIF, RENFE and Euskotren,) Members from Germany (DB) and France (Systra) together with eight people from SNCF, FCH and UIC Headquarters, in Paris – about 25 attendees, in total.

Each agenda for each meeting was adapted – in terms of items and duration – to the situation and to the different time slots of people present from all over the world.
The ICHSC Plenary meeting was chaired by Mr HUO Baoshi from China Rail.
The latest events were reported on by the UIC Passenger Director Mr Marc Guigon, including the recent UIC General Assembly with the approval of the 2020 – 2022 work programme, of the terms of reference for the Global Passenger Forum, the Railway Climate Declaration, and the celebration of the first year of Al Boraq commercial operation in Morocco. The 11th UIC World Congress on High-Speed Rail has been postponed sine die.

New UIC action concerning the COVID-19: Marc Guigon thanked China for the actions taken to fight the Covid-19. UIC is sharing all best practice gathered from many countries concerning actions to fight this disease. UIC has established a task force composed of 55 members: in addition to operators it includes UITP, APTA, ALAF, CER, CIT and also the UIMC health organisation. Meetings are held every week or every other week to address actions concerning this disease.
The new Opt-In 2021 “ICHSC Work Programme” was addressed and the following four project proposals were retained: Artificial Intelligence, Benchmark on Regulatory Framework; Air-Rail Cooperation and Coordination and Wild Fires.

The last one is strictly connected to the Systra reports which are the result of a long-term investigation (2012 – 2013) on a review of the high-speed and intercity operation measures for the mitigation of natural risks. A number of risks were reviewed from meteorological to seismic and falling rocks. The review considered the availability of risk prediction (stress measure on high-speed and intercity lines), the potential existence of characterisation of the reliability and robustness of the system and the mitigation measures applied at design stage or during operation. In a second part of the study, between 2014 and 2018, Systra carried out more in-depth study on four natural risks: strong winds, floods, earthquakes and high temperatures and produced final reports for each natural risk (all reports are available at UIC for Members).

For each risk, international experience is gathered and analysed in order to provide: knowledge of the quantitative risk prediction; detailed knowledge of the protection measures applicable either on rolling stock or on the infrastructure, both at the design and operation stages and assessment of the risk reduction. The new report on operation under difficult conditions: “Low temperatures and Snow” was presented by Systra and approved by the Committee. The next one, object of Opt-In procedure 2021 will deal with the natural risk on Wild Fires.

The Committee continued to discuss the achievements of the High-Speed IRS working group and the Alliance of Universities for high-speed rail.

Given the complexity of railway systems and especially High-Speed Rail, UIC is continues to accompany the development and operation of such a system addressing all its aspects (infrastructure, rolling stock, operation, socioeconomics, financing etc.) by providing, both a platform for expertise and knowledge exchange and technical standards for existing and future systems.

IRS 6067x series – Implementation of a High-Speed Railway: Designing, constructing and operating new HSR systems are a complex task with many influences, stakeholders, requirements and objectives. In this regard, this series of six IRSs comes to assist stakeholders and decision-makers during the five phases of implementation of such a system i.e. emerging phase, feasibility phase, design phase, construction phase and operation phase. Most of them are public and the last two will be public soon.

UIC is working with a multitude of stakeholders (universities, railway companies, railway consultants) to develop new solutions for the railway community on a global level with new standards to be released in the next two to three years including; “IRS 6068x – design of a new High-Speed Railway” series which is a step-by-step guide covering infrastructure, rolling-stock, energy, communication, etc.

IRS 60680: Design of a High-Speed Railway – Infrastructure is close to finalisation (June 2020) and also IRS 60681: Design of a High-Speed Railway – Communication and Signalling. While, IRS 60682: Design of a High-Speed Railway – Energy will be finalised by the end of 2020.

On the operational aspect, the “HSR operation in extreme climate conditions” series is a bundle of reports addressing the challenges of operating High-Speed rail face to extreme weather conditions (high temperature, snow etc.).

Concerning the Alliance of Universities, the website development is ongoing. Good progress has been made by BJTU developer “Shangpin China”, consolidation of the second level of the website is taking place (about 20 pages).

The joint three-year work programme is being developed by BJTU: “Productivity project” - prof. Wu; by UNI Naples “Equity project” – prof. Pagliara and by Cracow Polytechnic “Marginal costs” – prof. Andrzej Szarata.

All in all, they were three days of fruitful meetings.

For further information, please contact Paolo de Cicco, Senior Advisor for High-Speed:


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