3rd Global Rail Freight Conference jointly organised by UIC and Moroccan Railways (ONCF) is being held in Tangier

Around 250 participants from over 30 countries are attending the 3rd Global Rail Freight Conference (GRFC) which opened today in Tangier, Morocco, jointly organised by UIC and Moroccan Railways (ONCF) under the High Patronage of His Majesty King Mohammed VI. A number of Director Generals of UIC Member Railways from across the world attended the conference. The first two editions brought together several hundred stakeholders from the economic, transport and logistics sectors, as well as institutional decision-makers, first of all in Delhi in 2007, and then in Saint-Petersburg in 2010, together with Russian Railways.

The opening ceremony was presided by Mr Lahcen Daoudi, Minister for Higher Education and Scientific Research of Morocco, Mr Fouad El Omari, Mayor of Tangier, Mr Mohamed Rabie Khlie, Director-General of ONCF and Chairman of the UIC African Region, Mr Jean-Pierre Loubinoux, Director-General of UIC, with the participation of Mr Salman Babayev, Vice President of Russian Railways (RZD) and Mr Henry des Longchamps, representing the World Bank.

“Rail Freight: what role does it play in the development of global logistics?” is the overarching theme for this 3rd Global Rail Freight Conference which will be discussed during two days between the representatives from all stakeholders, not just from the railways but all those involved in the global logistics system: logistics operators, maritime transport, ports, intermodal operators, the supply industry, forwarders, and commercial intermediaries – not forgetting all the authorities such as customs and international institutions which address transport issues.

According to Mr Lahcen Daoudi, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research of Morocco, railway transport is an essential element to boost competition and growth. Thanks to its role in global logistics systems, Morocco can become a bridge linking Europe to Africa.
Jean-Pierre Loubinoux, Director-General of UIC stressed “the world economy is currently hit by the crisis, particularly the financial crisis, which is affecting several regions in the world. But this should not conceal the very positive long-term outlook for transport demand worldwide. Moreover forecasts up to 2050 point to renewed growth in transport demand, at 80% for freight and 50% for passenger transport. Rail freight transport is expected to grow eight times, with passenger transport forecast to grow 12 times.”

Furthermore: “this impressive growth forecast is due to rail freight’s major advantages in terms of performance – particularly over long distances – its large capacity, safety and reliability, and contribution to sustainable development. These advantages are set to be complemented by stronger integration with other operators in the logistics chain, the building of new inter-continental freight corridors, the introduction of new innovative technologies to optimise the global supply chain, and the creation of hubs that perform effectively with other modes and services.”

According to Mr Mohamed Rabie Khlie, Director General of ONCF and Chairman of UIC Africa, integration of rail freight in global logistics system is a priority, even more a strategic axis in order to reinforce the position of rail transport. The rail sector in Morocco follows this global trend. In order to accelerate the improvement of performances in terms of quality and volumes ONCF signed a contract programme with the Moroccan government for the period 2010-2015 that was ratified under the presidency of His Majesty King Mohamed VI. The new roadmap aims to achieve an important step in quality terms in order to better meet the expectations of society.

Speaking as Chairman of the UIC African Region Mr Mohamed Rabie Khlie stressed that integration in logistics systems provides new opportunities to support the development of rail transport on the African continent.

According to Mr Salman Babayev, Vice President of Russian Railways (RZD), “no railway acting on its own can succeed; the main challenge consists in exchanging on major trends of global logistics, accelerating combined transport and developing corridors in an integrated approach.”

Mr Henry des Longchamps from the World Bank described the action of the Bank for African countries. He underlined that projects have better perspectives to be supported by the Bank if they are not exclusively railway projects but projects integrated in a truly multi-modal logistic chain.

All these issues and challenges will be the main focus of debate during this two-day GRFC in Tangier. Participants will also discuss more specific developments for freight and logistics in the Moroccan region and more generally in the Mediterranean.

The opening ceremony was followed by the 1st session dedicated to the role of the Mediterranean area in the future of global logistics.

More information will follow in the next edition of UIC eNews.


For further information please contact Sandra Géhénot: gehenot@uic.org

0 vote

Future Railway Mobile Telecommunication Systems – Project Proposal

Telecommunications have become an important part of any economic activity, and the railways are no exception.

Through nationally integrated communications, information systems are built, from railway stations to core management servers. National railway telecommunications networks are interconnected, and via transit routes a wide European network is under construction.

Radio systems have evolved from analogue to digital telecommunication systems, offering seamless connectivity and functionalities, improving operations. In terms of signalling, telecoms have introduced a new level of signalling excellence meeting very strong demands, where a reliable communications layer is essential for the very precise transmission of train movement authorisations, based on location update.

Railways generally use off the shelf technologies for telecommunication systems, adding applications to meet specific services and quality demands, which is the case e.g. for dispatcher systems or wireless systems, using standard technology with tailored configurations. To obtain the required result of properly functioning modified technology, railways must work together to agree on a set of basic concepts, which then need to be introduced as a standards, norms or specifications.

GSM-R is a successful example of this process: in around 1992-5, railways selected a technology which was readily available on the market – GSM. Today, more than 60,000 km of line is equipped and operates with this technology and more than 43,000 Cab Radios and EDORs are activated.

When using a standard technology similar to public telecoms operators, it is vital to monitor technological trends, and constantly keep up to avoid a system becoming obsolete and no longer supported.

GSM-R is based on the GSM Standard, and today GSM is predicted to reach the end of its lifecycle in around 2020; the GSM-R Industry Group has committed to support GSM-R until 2025.

This underpins the fact that mobile telecommunications world intends to migrate existing technologies towards the Long Term Evolution (LTE) – a broadband technology, and existing vision for wireless technologies future relies on IP & broadband.

UIC has carried out activities since 2009 on the subject triggered by the predictable GSM End of Life, since the choice of radio technology in Europe is a choice harmonised among the railways and of European legislation, via the CCS TSI, which today designates GSM-R as the European digital radio needed to fulfil the needs of ETCS L2 and beyond.

A Technical Report on new broadband technology capabilities when used for railway operational needs was released in 2009, and as a number of issues were raised – railway specific features fulfilment, mobility conditions, life cycle, needed spectrum, etc. – in December 2012 Technology Free User Requirement Specification version 1.0 was released, as a basis for discussions with manufacturers.

Based on GSM-R experience, after a choice is made for the solution (spectrum, technology, concept, architecture, etc.) in Europe that will replace it at a certain time, a research, testing and standardisation period of around 5 years would be needed, which is based on existing experience and European experts platform (cooperation with “Blue Light” and out of Europe experience is also envisaged).

Therefore, a decision at European level must be made in the next few years, after which the above described work can be started.

To reach this decision point UIC organised a workshop on this subject, which took place on 4 October 2012, in Paris, UIC HQ.

The meeting was attended by 35 UIC member specialists from Europe, Japan and Korea, as well manufacturer representatives.

After discussing the points of view of the manufacturers, users and standardisation representatives on the current status of GSM, GSM-R and broadband technologies trend, as well as UIC’s approach to join the Critical Communications Association and the Critical Communication Broadband Group (proposal endorsed by ERIG), to enlarge the users of a possible common solution platform, UIC proposed a Project approach, scheduled to start in 2014, to follow up all activities on this subject.

The proposal was received positively by the participants, and promised to be actively supported also by the manufacturers present. The need for even a 2013 – early start was supported by some of the participants, and administrative solutions shall be discussed within UIC to reach that.

The action shall be followed later, and presented at the next ERIG (European Railways Radio Implementers Group) meeting for Project Sheet and technical concept approval as well as being approved by UIC bodies as a standalone (2013) 2014 – 2016 Project.

For further information please contact:
Dan Mandoc – email: mandoc@uic.org; Chiel Spaans – email: chiel.spaans@prorail.nl

1 vote

Average rating: 3 / 5

News from UIC members

SBB and Apple sign licence agreement

Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) and Apple have reached an agreement on the use of SBB’s station clock on certain devices such as iPads and iPhones.

This arrangement has been mutually agreed by both parties in a licence agreement.

For the use of the clockface on certain Apple devices such as iPads and iPhones, the parties have negotiated an arrangement that enables Apple to use the SBB station clock under a licence agreement. The parties have agreed that the amount of the licensing fee and any further details of the licensing arrangement will remain confidential.

The SBB station clock was designed for the company in 1944 by the engineer and designer Hans Hilfiker. It is a design icon that has lost none of its appeal in the digital age. A special feature of the clockface is its striking red second hand in the shape of a railway guard’s signalling disc.

Even now it symbolises the innovation and reliability that are key qualities attributed to both SBB and Switzerland as a whole.

(Source: SBB)

1 vote

Average rating: 1 / 5


Conclusion of the 5th Asian Network of Training Centres – Delhi 11-12 October 2012

In order to follow UIC’s main guidelines focusing on Railway Training to be consolidated in the years to come, the 5th Asian Network of Training Centres, held in Delhi on 11 and 12 October 2012, recommends that:

  • The next 14th UIC Asia Oceania Regional Assembly asks all its members to consider training as essential and strategic in the management of their human resources skills by supporting and financing UIC Asia Oceania training programmes
  • The next 14th UIC Asia Oceania Regional Assembly broadens the participation of UIC Asia Oceania training activities to all its members, from affiliate to active, and new potential training partners, such as training institutes, universities, international bodies, … participants as well as speakers
  • The following main actions to be urgently undertaken:

*Identify training managers/directors as the main contacts to be involved

*Identify the needs and topics of training for the years to come

*Identify the targeted staff to be trained

  • Using the UIC global www.railtraining.org database as the core information system to be linked to the websites of other regional and member training centres.
  • A call for candidates to Project Managers for this initial work during the next 14th UIC Asia Oceania Regional Assembly, among key training players such as KORAIL, Indian Railways, Vietnam Railways and other potential members who are involved and aware of training contacts in their sub-region. This should also include the
    Oceania sub-region which this network will include by being renamed Asia-Oceania network of Training Centres (AONTC).
  • Consider all future training actions of the UIC Asia Oceania region as the concrete applications of this only framework and as a consequence of UIC global guidelines on training.

The participating members in the 5th Asian Network of Training Centres:

KORAIL, Indian Railways, Vietnam Railways, Mongolian Railway Authority

The participating guests and partners of the 5th Asian Network of Training Centres:

Asian Institute of Transport Development, the Ministries of Transportand Works of Cambodia, Bhutan and Nepal

The Memorandum of Understanding that was signed with the Asian Institute of Transport Development – set to partner the network of Asia-Oceania Training Centres – and that was validated at the last UIC General Assembly in Philadelphia, started officially during this seminar.

For further information please contact Vincent Vu: vu@uic.org

0 vote

UIC Africa Region held its 9th Regional Assembly in Tangier

On 17 October UIC Africa Region held its 9th Regional Assembly in Tangier, under the chairmanship of Mr Mohamed Rabie Khlie, Director General of Moroccan National Railways (ONCF) and Chairman of the UIC Africa Region.

Senior managers from around 10 African railway networks took part in this meeting (from Algeria, Tunisia, Mauritania, Sudan, Burkina Faso, Morocco, etc.) as well as the UIC Director-General and the Coordinator of the UIC Africa Region.

The first item to feature on the agenda of this 9th Regional Assembly was the review of the results of the UIC African Region activities during the first 10 months of this year. As such, the participants were pleased to note the activities undertaken, despite the challenging environment.

Moreover, Mr Mohamed Rabie Khlie highlighted that the activities of the UIC African Region during 2012 were adapted to the region’s situation through the launch of several projects in accordance with the action plan decided at the previous Regional Assembly.

These include for example:

  • The organisation of a seminar on railway security and human factors in Tunis
  • The participation of a number of African networks in the international awareness day on the hazards of uncontrolled level crossings (ILCAD)
  • The strengthening of bilateral cooperation by organising visits between the African rail networks with the aim of sharing experience and good practice
  • Launching an annual technical training session on railway security for operational managers of African railway networks at Moroccan Railways’ hosting and training centres
  • Supporting the Africa Express mission, consisting in organising a tour of Africa by train – the most environmentally-friendly form of transport – to promote around 20 sustainable development projects in 23 African countries, starting in Tangier

With regard to 2013, whose outlook is optimistic and forecast for economic growth is 4.8%, the participants agreed on an ambitious action plan. The plan will focus in particular on the organisation of targeted technical seminars and training sessions in various African countries, along with an African forum to share the new strategic vision with decision-makers and regional economic communities on rail development in Africa until 2025.

Finally, this 9th Regional Assembly has been a key event in the dynamic of the UIC African Region. This is reflected in the adoption of the TANGIER APPEAL, to be sent to decision-makers and African rail networks in order to encourage them to further promote this form of transport, which has undeniable advantages for the community and which has a considerable impact on sustainable development within the continent.


The members of the UIC African Regional Assembly present in Tangier on 17 October 2012,

Starting from the premise that:

  • The African continent continues to record significant development, reflected in its uninterrupted structural economic growth of 5% since 2000
  • Today the African continent occupies a key place in major international issues. It is considered, by several powers, to be a source of potential growth for the future
  • Social sector levelling remains a tremendous challenge, as is meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDG)
  • Mobility needs for both people and goods are increasingly important when combined with a growing population which is set to double to two billion by 2050
  • Infrastructure of all types represents a major tool in the socio-economic take-off of the continent

Consider that:

  • Railways constitute a strategic vector of development and economic integration for Africa
  • Railway transport has undeniable advantages which are increasingly sought after today for the community and which are vital for putting in place a transport system that is appropriate, efficient, coherent, integrated and varied enough to meet future challenges
  • Major efforts still need to be undertaken to revitalise railways on the African continent in order to provide a real tool to meet the growing needs in the area of eco-mobility and subsequently the regeneration of African countries
  • Rail transport has all the qualities needed to play a significant and effective role in developing trade between African countries

Are persuaded that:

  • For most rail networks, the current situation remains vulnerable and requires major restructuring programmes and improvements
  • The UIC African Region remains the most appropriate body to help African networks benefit from experience in harmonising the railway system
  • Sharing experience between the networks and developing cooperation at regional level remains the best approach to derive the maximum benefit from good practice and to promote rail transport across the continent

Wish for:

  • Africa to have a rail transport system that is reliable, viable, effective and affordable, capable of promoting socio-economic development across its countries
  • Africa to modernise, develop and interconnect its African rail networks
  • Railway companies to confirm that their desire to modernise should be carried out with and through training to help younger generations prepare for the various professions in the railways
  • Railway companies to further improve their range of services for users and economic operators, whilst maintaining a more professional and efficient management of the system
  • The development of multimodal complementarity to be effective through better coordination between the various stakeholders and a better designed transport system with regard to the roles of the various links in the chain
  • Rail transport to play a greater role in promoting regional integration and the position of the African continent on the world stage

Call for:

  • Railway companies to include their development efforts in the vision set out by the UIC Africa Region, in a participatory manner, by 2025
  • Railway companies to become more involved in the implementation of this new strategy to ensure rail transport plays a part in the continent’s economic take-off
  • Regional economic communities to play a major role in the deployment of the agreed improvement measures
  • Governing bodies for transport, funding bodies and all stakeholders to support the AFRICA RAIL 2025 rail development project, which has beneficial consequences for our continent in a number of areas

Tangier, 17 October 2012

0 vote

October 2012 security events in Bratislava – last few days to register!

The 8th UIC World Congress on Railway Security and PROTECTRAIL Mid-Term Conference will be held in Bratislava from 24 – 26 October 2012.

The 8th UIC World Congress on Railway Security will be dedicated mainly to human factors issues in the field of security. The congress follows on from the previous edition held in 2011 in Rome, which focused essentially on technological issues.

The congress will be preceded on 23 October by meetings of the Security Platform’s working groups and on 24 October by the PROTECTRAIL European research project’s mid-term conference “Results and the way ahead.”

The event will also be the occasion for Mr Lubomir Hradisky (ZSSK, Slovakia) to officially begin his term as the new Chairman of the Security Platform – succeeding Mr Moha Khaddour (ONCF Morocco) – and for Mr Pradeep Kumar Mehta (RPF, Indian Railways, India) to take up his new role as Vice-Chairman.

The website provides all the information you need about this security week.

To register please go to http://uic.org/spip.php?article2898

To learn more visit www.uic.org/security and http://www.protectrail.eu/

1 vote

Average rating: 2 / 5


Optimising Rail Track Investment and Maintenance Seminar, Seoul (Korea), 21-22 November 2012

UIC, in close association with Korea Railroad Research Institute (KRRI), is organising the Optimising Rail Track Investment and Maintenance Seminar in Seoul (Korea) from 21 to 22 November 2012.

In Europe, the Innotrack project has been one of the major research projects of these last years in the field of railway infrastructure. Cooperative work between a large panel of leading railway stakeholders has enabled a multitude of innovative solutions to be developed towards the significant reduction of both investments and maintenance-related infrastructure costs.

These solutions have been assessed from a technical, logistics and life cycle cost point of view and have been demonstrated to be of international interest. The International Seminar on Innovative Track Technologies will highlight important results of this innovative project and put them in perspective together with the last innovations developed in Korea.

Furthermore, UIC recently undertook a study on rail sleepers for the benefit of its members. Sleeper optimisation cannot be performed by adopting international sleeper standards. The mix of theoretical and empirical formulae, in combination with the railway strategies in the existing sleeper standards, will be discussed. Simulations of dynamic train-track interaction, using a theoretical model validated with track measurements, have been employed to illustrate the influence of the most important parameters for sleeper design. This enables a design procedure without adding multiple safety factors leading to a very conservative sleeper design. The vast number of sleepers that are produced around the world requires a production method that is rational and consistently delivers high quality sleepers. The seminar will also highlight the most critical features of such a production method and these will also be demonstrated during the planned sleeper plant visit.

UIC is pleased to invite you to attend the seminar, which is being offered free of charge to UIC Asian participants.

All practical information, the programme and the registration are available online: http://www.uic.org/spip.php?article3010

For further information please contact Béatrice Ségéral: segeral@uic.org

1 vote

Average rating: 3 / 5

Next meetings scheduled

  • 20-21 May 2019 Seminar on UIC Asia-Pacific Projects 2018-2020 Manila, PHILIPPINES
  • 21-23 May 2019 UIC-ADB Asia-Pacific Railway Innovations Forum Manila, PHILIPPINES
  • 21 May 2019 Preparatory Group 94th General Assembly Paris
  • 22 May 2019 European Management committee Assistants Paris
  • 22 May 2019 European Group of Assistants Paris
  • 23 May 2019 27th UIC Asia-Pacific Regional Assembly Manila, PHILIPPINES
  • 3-5 June 2019 1st Digital Conference Brussels
  • 15-16 June 2019 UIC Middle-East Regional Assembly Amman, Jordan
  • 18-20 June 2019 UIC Security Week Paris, UIC HQ
  • 24 June 2019 28th European Regional Assembly Budapest
  • 25 June 2019 Executive Board Budapest
  • 25 June 2019 94 General Assembly Budapest
  • 26 June 2019 Safety Platform Steering Group meeting DB AG BERLIN
  • 12 September 2019 European Management committee Assistants
  • 24-25 September 2019 Rail System Forum Steering Board Paris, UIC HQ
  • 9-11 October 2019 5th UIC World Congress on Rail Training Rabat, Morocco
  • 16-19 October 2019 UIMC Scientific Congress and General Assembly Pietrarsa Napoli - Italy
  • 28-29 October 2019 28th UIC Asia-Pacific Regional Assembly Tokyo, JAPAN
  • 5 November 2019 Safety Platform Steering Group meeting UIC HQ PARIS
  • 5 November 2019 Freight Forum RCA Vienna
  • 6 November 2019 Safety Platform Plenary meeting UIC HQ PARIS
  • 6 November 2019 European Management committee Assistants Paris
  • 6 November 2019 European Group of Assistants Paris
  • 7 November 2019 95th General Assembly Preparatory Group Paris
  • 11-14 November 2019 7th NEXTSTATION Tehran
  • 20-22 November 2019 15th UIC Global Security Congress Praha, Czech Republic
  • 26 November 2019 Statistics Steering Committee Meeting UIC, Paris
  • 27 November 2019 Statistics Plenary Meeting UIC, Paris
  • 28 November 2019 Statistics Steering Committee Meeting UIC, Paris
  • 10 December 2019 European Management committee Paris
  • 10 December 2019 29 European Regional Assembly Paris
  • 11 December 2019 Executive Board Paris
  • 11 December 2019 95th General Assembly Paris

UIC e-News Legal Editor: Marie Plaud-Lombard
Coordination: Helen Slaney
Editorial team: UIC e-News Team, Paris 19 October 2012

  Contact the UIC e-News team