On 28 April, UIC organised the European Projects Workshop online to present the European project proposals for 2021. Around 60 participants joined the meeting virtually from both UIC and its member railways.
Aline Wego, Head of the UIC Project Management Office (PMO), opened the workshop and outlined the content of the day’s agenda, which was organised under two headings: Proposals for the 2021 European work programme and Reporting on the work conducted in 2019. She then introduced Simon Fletcher, Coordinator Europe & Chief Standardisation Officer, who filtered and moderated the Question-Answer sessions through the Chat pod after each block of proposals.
Introductory speeches were then given by François Davenne, UIC Director General, and Francisco Cardoso Dos Reis, Chairman of the UIC European Region and Co-Chairman of the UIC Rail System Forum.
Mr Davenne underlined UIC’s crucial role as coordinator in the development of new solutions. He said that this role would be particularly relevant after the Covid-19 crisis when we will need to demonstrate that rail can recover and that UIC will be there to support the operating community to implement such solutions. He said we need to maintain the momentum of projects in 2021 and show that the sector is capable in its role as organiser and solution-finder.
Mr Dos Reis also highlighted the roles of UIC and the rail sector throughout and after the crisis. He mentioned the challenges of social distancing inside trains and stations and stressed the importance of having innovative and effective projects in order to meet these challenges.
The project proposals were then presented by the Directors and Senior Advisors representing the following departments and units:
- Rail System (Parts I & II)
- Fundamental Values (Safety, Security, Sustainable Development, Expertise Development)
With regard to the European Work Programme for the Rail System Forum, Director of Department Christian Chavanel explained the five main objectives of the Rail System Department, in line with the strategic focus areas approved by the UIC General Assembly in December 2019. He added that the future of Shift2Rail is important for UIC and its members and that we should give further input to Shift2Rail to accelerate the innovative cycle in order to benefit the sector.
Deputy Director of Rail System Jean-Michel Evangelou then presented the proposal on Artificial Intelligence for Predictive Maintenance. The project looks at how the application of artificial intelligence in the areas of infrastructure and rolling stock can help with maintenance procedures and ultimately improve railway safety and punctuality.
Other subjects concerning Railway Digital Modelling; Braking Performance Drop; Railway Dynamic Measuring Systems; Clearance Gauge Common Codification; RFID tagging for Track Components/Automated Video Railway Inspection System (AVRIS), were presented by Jean-Michel Evangelou and project managers Alain Scherrer, Rolling Stock Advisor, David Mirayo, Senior Infrastructure & TTI Advisor, and David Villalmanzo Resusta, Senior Infrastructure Advisor.
Regarding Passenger activity, Marc Guigon, Director of the Passenger Department, Coordinator of the UIC Latin American Region and Coordinator of the UIC Covid-19 Task Force, gave an overview of the strategic directions identified for the next three years from 2021 to 2023. He outlined the key challenges of rail passenger transport in Europe and said the main priorities of the Passenger Forum were as follows:
- Multimodality & MaaS (Mobility as a Service)
- Multiregional projects
- Cooperation with universities
He explained the work of the dedicated UIC Task Force set up to produce guidance for the railway sector and exchange best practice with members, manage the situation and the recovery in May.
Presentations were then delivered on the Inventory of Intelligence in High-Speed Rail; High-Speed Rail Operation in Extreme Conditions; Commuter & Regional Train Services; PASSAGE (Passenger Accessibility Solutions Support and Action Group of Experts); Rail-Air Coordination & Cooperation; and Benchmark on Transport Regulatory Framework, by Senior Passenger Advisors Paolo de Cicco, Vanessa Perez Miranda and Philippe Lorand.
The second half of the project proposals for Rail System were then outlined under Rail System Forum Part II. Topics included TrainDy; IRS 50553 and Asset Management, presented by Giulia Russo, Junior Rolling Stock Advisor, Alain Scherrer, Rolling Stock Advisor, and Andy Kirwan, Network Rail and Chair of the Asset Management Working Group.
Jerzy Wisniewski, Director of the Fundamental Values Department (FVD), then took the floor to explain the main purpose of the FVD, saying that it ensures transverse work coordination and manages projects addressing Sustainable Development issues, work to increase levels of Safety, developing a coherent Security strategy, as well as attracting and retaining talents within the context of Expertise Development.
Senior Advisors Pınar Yilmazer, Philippe Stefanos and Virginie Papillault then followed with presentations on LOWNOISEPAD (low cost noise control through optimised rail pads); IRS 90930 on Traction Energy Settlement; IRS 90940 – SFERA (Smart Communication for Efficient Rail Activities) and FeelSafe (Innovative approaches to assess and improve passenger security perception) respectively.
Under the Freight project proposal block, Freight Department Director Sandra Géhénot explained how UIC assists its members in their approach to issues related to the Market, Customers and Supply Chain challenges, which it does by fostering and managing:
- Structural collaboration
Mrs Géhénot said that European priorities are aligned with Rail Freight Forward and that the vision of RFF vision is now being translated into a deployment plan called RFF 2.0. The overall freight vision/mission is organised into a three-year work programme built on four priorities each tailored to the objectives and capabilities of members.
Other presentations in the freight included XBORDER 3; ICM Pool-Away; Freight IT & Digital 2; and WG issue of palletising, delivered by Senior Freight Advisors Constanze Bannholzer (on behalf of herself and Philip Van den bosch), Joost Overdijkink, Pablo Hermoso and Jozef Fazik respectively.
Finally, regarding the Reporting on the work done in 2019, Mrs Wego showed an extract of the reporting via the upgraded project database. The participants were shown the status of deliverables for 2019, what had been done already and what still needed to be achieved. The tool can be accessed at http://projects.uic.org
Following a successful meeting full of interesting presentations, Mr Thierry Bera, UIC Chief Financial Officer and the Director managing the PMO, delivered the closing word. He thanked all speakers and participants for joining the workshop and for the thought-provoking questions and discussions raised during the day.