Tuesday 12 May 2020

UIC Intercity & High-Speed Committee (ICHSC) Alliance for High-Speed Rail web-conference with University of Naples held on 27 April 2020

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In the spirit of the Alliance working group and fully compliant with its regulation, on 27 April, the UIC ICHSC experts provided – via web-conferencing – contributions on the UIC/ICHSC/Alliance from Paolo de Cicco, on High-Speed Systems around the world from Michel Leboeuf and on the UIC Covid-19 Taskforce from Philippe Lorand to first-year students of the transport systems planning course at University of Naples, Federico II – Department of Civil Construction and Environmental Engineering.

It was the second time that UIC organised an information day on High-Speed activities for first-year students of the transport systems planning course held by prof. Francesca Pagliara. The difference between the two events is easily highlighted by the two photos opposite.

Paolo de Cicco gave a 25-minute presentation which described the role of UIC and the Intercity and High-Speed Committee activities. To solve the difficulty of speaking to a computer and not being able to see the students’ eyes, he introduced the “dead-man’s vigilance device” on board, asking five students in sequence to stop him saying “I’m following you” every five minutes, which is useful to help keep the time. Changes are inherent in life and Mr de Cicco highlighted the changes that he would have recognised in the presentation he delivered.

ICHSC activities and working groups are summarised in the following diagram:

The second speaker, Mr Michel Leboeuf, honorary chairman of the ICHSC clarified the High-Speed Rail rationale (HSR).

With HSR, the difference in speed between freight and passenger trains makes it impossible to operate them simultaneously on the same tracks. So, to optimise the capacity of the whole network, new high-speed lines are generally dedicated to passenger traffic. This put an end to the paradigm of mixed traffic lines which has been the rule since the very beginning of railways.

However, while on-line sales are developing, the traffic of parcels is rocketing and the time value of goods is growing up, justifying carrying them on high-speed trains, as Mercitalia FAST (the Italian freight operator) does. This opened a new commercial perspective as well as a new paradigm for rail operations. Still, big changes have taken place.

The third speaker, Philippe Lorand, Senior High-Speed Advisor and member of the Covid-19 Taskforce closed the session by reporting on the actions implemented by the railway sectors following the most recent and the most unpredictable change which is modifying the world as we are used to knowing: Emergency Covid-19! This Taskforce work is laying down requirements and guidance from the sector for the sector itself and it was welcomed by all the railway actors.

Above all, the dynamic professor Francesca Pagliara, was able to interconnect the three speeches and lead students in these new fields with simplicity and professionalism.

Many thanks to the students who actively participated in the discussions by asking questions and for their patience shown in following these lessons on the web.

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

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Naples, 6 May 2019
Naples, 27 April 2020