The Capacity4Rail Second Dissemination Workshop, a four-year collaborative research project funded by the European Commission under its 7th Framework Programme and coordinated by the International Union of Railways (UIC), and NeTIRail-INFRA, a project funded by the European Commission under its Horizon 2020 Programme, coordinated by University of Sheffield and led by UIC for the dissemination aspect, were held on 3 and 4 November 2016 at the Maison Grand Place in Brussels.
Attended by around 40 participants each day, this two-day event – covering closely-linked topics – brought together a wide range of stakeholders representing railway operators, infrastructure operators and maintainers, technical industries and research organisations.
The Capacity4Rail Second Dissemination Workshop, held on 3 November, was an opportunity to promote the project’s achievements after 36 months of activity. Launched in October 2013 with a consortium of 46 partners, the project aims to bring a system vision for 2030/2050 towards an affordable, resilient, innovative and high-capacity railway system.
The conference opened with introductory speeches by UIC representatives Alvaro Andrés Alguacil, Capacity4Rail Project Coordinator, and Isabelle De Keyzer, Capacity4Rail Dissemination Work Package Leader. Alvaro Andrés Alguacil began by giving a short overview of the project, reminding the participants of the five key areas (infrastructure, freight, operations, monitoring and system assessment/migration) which are being addressed in order to enhance capacity in the railways.
The progress and developments made so far in the project were then presented by the various sub-project leaders. The presentations covered innovative concepts, designs, methods and optimal strategies to face the future challenge of increased rail traffic and to create capacity at a lower cost.
The NeTIRail-INFRA Mid-Term Conference held on 4 November, was an opportunity to update partners on the progress made during the first 18 months of the project, as well as to present some of the early results and plans for the remaining months. Launched in June 2015, the project aims to develop future railway technology and infrastructure tailored to the economic, reliability and societal needs of different categories of rail systems.
The conference was opened by Dr David Fletcher, Project Coordinator, and Dr Jon Paragreen, Project Manager (University of Sheffield, UK). Dr David Fletcher gave a brief introduction to the project, reminding participants of the project structure and the key areas addressed in each part, which include three core technical packages as well as societal and economic packages.
A number of presentations were then delivered by the various task leaders under three main sessions:
- Costs, Society and Decision Support
- Lean Analysis, Corrugation Strategies and Monitoring
- Lubrication Systems, Transition Zones and Overhead Lines
Mr Airy Magnien, Head of the UIC Data and Statistics Unit and Leader of Work Package 6, gave a presentation in the first session on the evaluation and decision support tool. Among other points he mentioned UIC Leaflet railML®3 and the relevance of RailTopoModel. He highlighted that NeTIRail-INFRA was about improving the maintainability of the railways at a lower cost and that it was important to maintain secondary and underutilised lines from a societal point of view.
In conclusion, the Capacity4Rail Workshop is identifying the right strategies and operations in order to create greater capacity and pave the way for an affordable railway that meets the demands of passenger and freight. The NeTIRail-INFRA Mid-Term Conference is in the process of delivering innovative concepts of new technologies for railway operation, and analysing current best practice to identify optimal solutions to be applied to different line categories across Europe. The projects are due to finish in September 2017 and May 2018 respectively.