The platform was created 5 years ago and in this interview, its former chair, Stefano Guidi, discusses its successes and challenges.
You have been chairman of the Standardisation Platform since its creation five years ago.
How do you look back on this period?
I started my participation in the UIC expert groups in 1985. Representing FS (Italian Railways), I was involved in the study of the technical issues related to rolling stock and in the definition and in the update of many UIC Leaflets. Then I became team leader of the expert groups on combined transport, wagons and passenger vehicles.
From 2011 to 2012 I chaired the Standardisation Working Group (SWG): a panel of experts from different countries in Europe and in Asia in charge of evaluating all UIC Leaflets to define those that could be maintained without changes, those that needed to be modified and those that could be considered as obsolete and no longer usable in the future.
In the last five years I had the honour of being nominated by the General Assembly as chairman of the new Standardisation Platform. It was an exciting period for which I drew heavily on my professional experience at FS, in the UIC expert groups and in the SWG.
What about the recently created and developed IRS?
Following the definition by the Standardisation Platform of the documents for its governance and of the IRS layout, UIC Forums started their activity in drafting IRS in 2014. IRS 50561 “Railway application - Rolling stock, Interconnection systems of walkways between vehicles” was the first IRS published in May 2016.
Since the beginning, the Standardisation Platform pushed, with some success, for an acceleration of IRSs produced and for the support of the members at various regional and general assemblies.
At the end of 2017, I am proud to say that 33 IRSs were approved, 13 IRS are in the approval process and 23 are being drafted.
What about the cooperation with the Standardisation Bodies?
The coordination and the development of the cooperation between UIC and IEC, ISO, OSJD and CEN_CENELEC is a fundamental part of the role of the Standardisation Platform. The aim of the cooperation with the Standardisation Bodies is getting coherence in terms of programmes, work and developments with existing standards valid at regional or global level strengthening the position of railway operators and avoiding duplication of work.
The Cooperation Agreement with IEC was signed on 11 June 2014 in Geneva. The cooperation is ongoing on two main topics: Rolling Stock (Trainbus technology) and Fixed Installations (Overhead Contact Line). Two joint groups were created, and they are working on common technical documents on the basis of which the two parties will define their own Standards and IRSs.
The UIC-ISO Cooperation Agreement that was signed on 1 December 2016 in St. Petersburg describes the roles, the scope, the methods and the means of collaboration between UIC and the ISO TC 269 “Railway Application”. Collaboration is ongoing for the definition of the topics of the common work.
In the framework of their cooperation, UIC and OSJD created the Joint UIC/OSJD Working Group (JWG) to boost the development of common standards. JWG agreed the detailed method of working, the concrete actions to implement and set up the list of common leaflets to update and to transform into IRSs.
The final text of the revised Technical Corporation Agreement between UIC and CEN_CENELEC (there has been a formal agreement between UIC and these bodies since 2005) was approved by the UIC European General Assembly on 6 December 2017 and is now undergoing the CEN_CENELEC consultation process.
What are the new challenges for the Standardisation Platform?
By 2020 UIC plans to produce at least 100 IRSs. This is really the core of the added value that UIC can bring to the railway sector internationally. These have to be user-friendly, quality documents and for that the participation of UIC members (and some third party contributions) in the process is fundamental.
The principle challenge for the Standardisation Platform is to avoid the risk of the work being twice. The full application of the cooperation agreements with the standardisation bodies and pushing for the collaboration of all UIC Forums and Platforms and for the participation of all Members in the standardisation activities to ensure the achievement of the objectives fixed by UIC in its 2018 – 2020 IRS production programme, will ensure that there is no unnecessary duplication of effort.
I would like to wish my successor Laurent Schmitt the very best for the continuation of this work and I know that he can count on me for all possible support in the challenging period ahead.