On 18 June 2020, UIC and CER held the first joint event for the railway operating community on the new generation of Shift2Rail. More than 100 people, from every part of Europe, participated in this event.
Looking ahead to the European Year of Rail 2021, UIC and CER support the European Commission and the Shift2Rail Joint Undertaking in their efforts to foster innovation to transform Europe’s railways into the backbone of sustainable European mobility.
This webinar was moderated by Simon Fletcher, the UIC’s Director for Europe.
Christian Chavanel, the UIC’s Rail System Director, identified UIC’s strategic areas as approved by the December 2019 UIC’s General Assembly: promoting rail transport globally, further developing UIC as the technical platform to address UIC members’ needs, creating innovation through projects, and promoting sustainable, carbon-free transport.
He also highlighted the added value of the UIC’s core strategic areas and that they are aligned with the objectives of the European Commission (notably the European Green Deal) and the Shift2Rail Joint Undertaking. These include:
- Requirements capture based on the business needs of the railway operators;
- Issuing the corresponding specifications and use cases. This has been done already in the case of work relating to GSM-R, FRMCS, Integrated Ticketing, Combined Transport, and Brakes;
- Preparing and publishing new operational rules and European/international standards, in order to validate the operational effectiveness of innovative solutions, and facilitate accelerated market uptake;
- UIC members are able to implement large scale demonstrators of prototypes;
- Disseminating the research results, at European and global level.
Enno Wiebe, the CER’s Technical Director, underlined the role of CER in research and innovation activities: representing the interests of its members on the EU policy-making scene, contributing with other railway sector stakeholders (UNIFE, EIM, UITP and UIC) to the railway sector’s vision on the next generation of Shift2Rail (“Transforming Europe’s railways”).
CER will respond (based on CER members’ input) to all online EC public and stakeholder consultations, will assess the draft Council Regulation on the next generation of Shift2Rail and provide amendments to the draft legal text.
CER will not enter into research and innovation activities (the only possible “participation”: a high-level advisory role with a focus on the EU policy-making scene).
Andy Doherty, the Chief Technical Officer at Network Rail, explained the achievements and lessons learnt from the current, first generation of Shift2Rail. He argued for a second generation of Shift2Rail. Indeed, ‘the railway needs to remain an attractive mode of transport’ and the economic recovery will need investments. And the railway sector should continue to work as a collective, for the sake of the sector and of each member.
Riccardo Santoro, the Chair of UIC’s RICG (Research and Innovation Coordination Group), explained the benefits from a shift from air to high-speed railway lines. He also described the different European partnerships on research, and the links between them concerning climate, energy and mobility. He advocated a second generation of Shift2Rail, with greater involvement of the railway operating community.
Giorgio Travaini (Shift2Rail Joint Undertaking) explained the potential content, membership, and governance of the next generation of Shift2Rail.
He mentioned the studies carried out by ERRAC on the challenges for the mobility of 2030. He recalled the common vision, objectives and expected impacts of the European Green Deal. He highlighted the necessity for a European partnership, able to gather diverse expertise, support the long-term involvement of many actors, support efficient cooperation with other transport modes, improving synergies with other European and/or national programmes.
He stressed the needs for an R&I programme for the railway sector estimated at 2.5 to 3.0 billion Euros.
He explained the roles and responsibilities expected from the different stakeholders within the future Shift2Rail Joint Undertaking: European Union and Core Members participating in the full/large part of the programme; project members (including technical bodies of the sector) committed to part of the programme; other project partners (Railway Undertakings, Infrastructure Managers and Urban Operators) focusing on specifications and demos; any other third parties allowed to join the programme at any moment for specific tasks.
He set out the potential funding rates for each type of Programme participant.
Through the lessons learnt from the governance of the current Shift2Rail Joint Undertaking, Giorgio Travaini explained that work is in progress to increase the involvement of every stakeholder in the governance of the future Shift2Rail Joint Undertaking. He stated that the future activities must be ‘user-first oriented’.
Enno Wiebe gave further information on the future Council Regulation covering all Joint Undertakings: aviation, road, railway, health, hydrogen, etc. Such a single Council Regulation would mean uniform structure, rules, financial provisions, governance and membership categories. He explained that the new Shift2Rail budget will depend on the outcomes of the 2021-2027 Multiannual Financial Framework. He set out the timeline for the adoption of the single Council Regulation: start of negotiations in the second half of 2020 for adoption in the first half of 2021.
Martin Brennan, the UIC’s Head of Research and Innovation, gave advice on how to get on board the new Joint Undertaking. He emphasised the benefits for the railway operating community of remaining united. He gave assurance that UIC and CER will continue to work together on behalf of this community.