With an increasing number of participants at each edition, the 18th Asia-Pacific Regional Assembly (APRA) brought together 48 people representing 21 delegations, many of which were attending for the first time or were taking part through web conferencing. Opened by Satoshi Seino, Chairman of JR East and Chairman of the APRA, Gombosuren Sereenendorj, President of Ulaanbaatar Railways and Vice-Chairman of the APRA, and Jean-Pierre Loubinoux, Director General of UIC, the meeting took into account developments with regard to new and excluded members and formalised the representation of the Asia-Pacific region on the UIC Executive Board.
The review of activities for 2014 showed a willingness to keep a large number of activities, seminars and conferences, as well as joint strategic studies in the areas of new investments in track and catenaries, with the aim of increasing line speeds whilst maintaining operations, and the ergonomic features of driver cabs in the area of human factors. Seminars on new topics such as natural disaster management – a frequent occurrence in Asia – PPPs, and long and heavy freight trains, have become part of the more recurrent topics addressed by the workshops such as control-command and signalling systems, and railway security.
For 2015, the sheer scale and diversity of the region require a stronger and closer involvement by members. This is absolutely necessary in order to successfully complete the programme established on the basis of member proposals. An increasing number of proposals have been made for 2015 and a selection has been made within a regional budget that is limited but which benefits from the entry of new members. The 2015 regional activities will thus be in line with the 2013 – 2016 Strategic Action Plan established from 2013.
More than ever, using representatives and offices established in Moscow, Kuala Lumpur, Melbourne and Seoul will serve to highlight UIC’s actions, with a willingness to open up to other regions or to investigate new subject areas such as driving simulators, border crossing, non-destructive evaluation technologies and prevention of rail fractures – without losing touch with events held in previous years such as the second seminar on long and heavy freight trains, the continuation of training programmes and improving energy management in stations. All this cannot be done without more members who are more closely involved.
All the members agreed to meet at the next edition of the APRA to be held from 11 – 13 May 2015 in Ulaanbaatar, at the invitation of Ulaanbaatar Railways.