The Wagon Users Study Group (SG) met for the first time this year under its new chairman Nicolas Czernecki (SNCF), who replaces the recently-retired Eric Peetermans (SNCB). Dr Miklos Kopp, who has been Director of the UIC Freight Department since January, also attended the meeting and introduced himself to participants from various European railway undertakings (RUs).
The experts in this study group handle issues pertaining to the exchange of wagons in international traffic, in particular the use of wagons. Most of these matters are dealt with contractually via the General Contract of Use for wagons (GCU), the provisions of which apply to wagon keepers and the signatory RUs which operate the wagons.
The GCU is administered by the GCU Bureau headquartered in Brussels, which is managed by a Trustee appointed by the GCU Joint Committee. The latter comprises members delegated by the three founder associations (UIC, UIP, ERFA), which strive collectively to enhance the GCU. Since January 2012, the role of Trustee has been held by Floris Foqué, who will assume this position for the next three years. Mr Foqué was also present at the meeting, and introduced himself to members of the study group. Participants took note of his presentation, in which he described the Bureau’s priority tasks for the year ahead.
During the meeting, the wagon specialists handled points including the implementation of amendments to the GCU which recently entered into force, and other modifications being negotiated with the other associations. They also took note of the latest proposed amendments, which still require more in-depth technical discussion before being finalised and validated for approval by the GCU Joint Committee. The experts shared their experience of implementing the new rules governing Entities in Charge of Maintenance for freight wagons (ECMs). They also addressed the issue of their group’s internal regulations, in particular opening the group up to new members. Decisions will be taken on these issues at the next meeting, which is scheduled for April 2012.