Reporting
  

The Next Generation of Shift2Rail – All you need to know

UIC-CER Webinar – 18 June 2020

On 18 June 2020, UIC and CER held the first joint event for the railway operating community on the new generation of Shift2Rail. More than 100 people, from every part of Europe, participated in this event.

Looking ahead to the European Year of Rail 2021, UIC and CER support the European Commission and the Shift2Rail Joint Undertaking in their efforts to foster innovation to transform Europe’s railways into the backbone of sustainable European mobility.

This webinar was moderated by Simon Fletcher, the UIC’s Director for Europe.

Christian Chavanel, the UIC’s Rail System Director, identified UIC’s strategic areas as approved by the December 2019 UIC’s General Assembly: promoting rail transport globally, further developing UIC as the technical platform to address UIC members’ needs, creating innovation through projects, and promoting sustainable, carbon-free transport.

He also highlighted the added value of the UIC’s core strategic areas and that they are aligned with the objectives of the European Commission (notably the European Green Deal) and the Shift2Rail Joint Undertaking. These include:

  • Requirements capture based on the business needs of the railway operators;
  • Issuing the corresponding specifications and use cases. This has been done already in the case of work relating to GSM-R, FRMCS, Integrated Ticketing, Combined Transport, and Brakes;
  • Preparing and publishing new operational rules and European/international standards, in order to validate the operational effectiveness of innovative solutions, and facilitate accelerated market uptake;
  • UIC members are able to implement large scale demonstrators of prototypes;
  • Disseminating the research results, at European and global level.

Enno Wiebe, the CER’s Technical Director, underlined the role of CER in research and innovation activities: representing the interests of its members on the EU policy-making scene, contributing with other railway sector stakeholders (UNIFE, EIM, UITP and UIC) to the railway sector’s vision on the next generation of Shift2Rail (“Transforming Europe’s railways”).

CER will respond (based on CER members’ input) to all online EC public and stakeholder consultations, will assess the draft Council Regulation on the next generation of Shift2Rail and provide amendments to the draft legal text.
CER will not enter into research and innovation activities (the only possible “participation”: a high-level advisory role with a focus on the EU policy-making scene).

Andy Doherty, the Chief Technical Officer at Network Rail, explained the achievements and lessons learnt from the current, first generation of Shift2Rail. He argued for a second generation of Shift2Rail. Indeed, ‘the railway needs to remain an attractive mode of transport’ and the economic recovery will need investments. And the railway sector should continue to work as a collective, for the sake of the sector and of each member.

Riccardo Santoro, the Chair of UIC’s RICG (Research and Innovation Coordination Group), explained the benefits from a shift from air to high-speed railway lines. He also described the different European partnerships on research, and the links between them concerning climate, energy and mobility. He advocated a second generation of Shift2Rail, with greater involvement of the railway operating community.

Giorgio Travaini (Shift2Rail Joint Undertaking) explained the potential content, membership, and governance of the next generation of Shift2Rail.
He mentioned the studies carried out by ERRAC on the challenges for the mobility of 2030. He recalled the common vision, objectives and expected impacts of the European Green Deal. He highlighted the necessity for a European partnership, able to gather diverse expertise, support the long-term involvement of many actors, support efficient cooperation with other transport modes, improving synergies with other European and/or national programmes.
He stressed the needs for an R&I programme for the railway sector estimated at 2.5 to 3.0 billion Euros.

He explained the roles and responsibilities expected from the different stakeholders within the future Shift2Rail Joint Undertaking: European Union and Core Members participating in the full/large part of the programme; project members (including technical bodies of the sector) committed to part of the programme; other project partners (Railway Undertakings, Infrastructure Managers and Urban Operators) focusing on specifications and demos; any other third parties allowed to join the programme at any moment for specific tasks.

He set out the potential funding rates for each type of Programme participant.
Through the lessons learnt from the governance of the current Shift2Rail Joint Undertaking, Giorgio Travaini explained that work is in progress to increase the involvement of every stakeholder in the governance of the future Shift2Rail Joint Undertaking. He stated that the future activities must be ‘user-first oriented’.

Enno Wiebe gave further information on the future Council Regulation covering all Joint Undertakings: aviation, road, railway, health, hydrogen, etc. Such a single Council Regulation would mean uniform structure, rules, financial provisions, governance and membership categories. He explained that the new Shift2Rail budget will depend on the outcomes of the 2021-2027 Multiannual Financial Framework. He set out the timeline for the adoption of the single Council Regulation: start of negotiations in the second half of 2020 for adoption in the first half of 2021.

Martin Brennan, the UIC’s Head of Research and Innovation, gave advice on how to get on board the new Joint Undertaking. He emphasised the benefits for the railway operating community of remaining united. He gave assurance that UIC and CER will continue to work together on behalf of this community.

For further information please contact Christian Chavanel, Director of the UIC Rail System Department: dossantos@uic.org

5 Votes

Average rating: 4.8 / 5

  

RailTech Infra Forum online conference: The digital transformation, 17 & 18 June 2020

Focus on an interview with Jean-Michel Evanghelou from UIC

In a special interview, UIC Head of Telecoms & Signalling Jean-Michel Evanghelou spoke about the topic of “One European System.”

“With 5G, rail operators have an opportunity to modernise aging railway infrastructures.”

Jean Michel Evanghelou explained in the form of an interview what the latest developments are in FMRCS and how UIC is working on the future 5G communications system.

“There are two important aspects to understand: it is an obligation to evolve the railway radio networks on the one hand because of GSM-R obsolescence, and on the other hand, it is a way to enabling digitalisation. Changing to 5G will provide a lot of new possibilities, in terms of capacity, applications, that is why we are opening the possibility of digitalisation.

When you consider that the first networks in Europe using FRMCS will probably start by 2025, and considering the global timing of the telecoms industry, 5G is the sole rational response. This is the reason why FRMCS is definitely based on 5G.

We started GSMR in a serious way in Europe in 2000, which means 20 years ago. And we are still equipping some countries in Europe. There is a significant time cycle in railway infrastructures, it has been quite long to equip the majority of lines in Europe.

Today you have 150,000 km of lines equipped with GSMR, it is impressive, and about more than 200,000 km in the world.

A global programme for FRMCS:
“The FRMCS will be included into the global telecom standard of 5G, defined in 3GPP. This is the outcome of the specifications written by UIC on behalf of railway companies, UIC being active in 3GPP in order to obtain a worldwide standard.

From the product perspective, we recently had some very good news: we were capable of putting together a global programme for prototyping FRMCS with all the relevant suppliers and railways. It will be done under the global European programme called Horizon 2020, and under the DG CONNECT 5G strategy, wish oversees telecoms evolution for the European Commission. This major financing programme is named 5G Rail. Within the next 30 months, we will start to prototype and to test the specifications that we have put together with all the key suppliers and railways. It will be the first time, at the end of this process, that we will have live trials with the full FRMCS ecosystem, including real products and applications, such as the signalling application, ETCS.

GSM-R has been a real success, because it has been adopted by all countries, and today we have a full interoperable system in Europe. We have the ambition to do the same for FRMCS, and we should be capable of being successful.

To guarantee this success, we need the whole railway sector to be supportive of a common concept, and this is precisely the case here.”

Mr Evanghelou gave his vision of the use of satellite, after an audience question:
“Regarding satellites, for safety reasons, for security reasons and for cost reasons, it is not obvious that all satellite telecommunications can provide the same possibilities and the same essential quality of service than a dedicated terrestrial telecom network.

However, satellites can be a good addition, in some cases, this is why in some ERTMS evolution possibilities we can consider the use of spatial communications.
To conclude, 5G is absolutely the mainline, satellite could a form a second line.”

The UIC FRMCS video is available here: https://uic.org/videos/what-is-frmcs-the-future-railway-mobile-communication-system

For further information, please contact Jean Michel Evanghelou: evanghelou@uic.org

2 Votes

Average rating: 5 / 5

Reporting
  

Online workshop focusing on the impact of Covid-19 on Security held on 17 June 2020

On 17 June, the UIC security division organised an online workshop on the impact of Covid-19 on security. The event was attended by over 50 participants from 20 countries in Europe, Asia and America. The audience was composed of security experts from railways as well as representatives from authorities, international organisations and the European Commission.

This workshop complemented the meetings of the UIC Covid-19 Task Force which takes place every two weeks, with special focus on the impacts of Covid-19 measures on security during and after the lockdown period. Marc Guigon, chair of the UIC Covid-19 Task Force composed of 70 UIC members and 18 international organisations, presented all the outputs of this task force and especially the guidance documents which demonstrate the rail sector’s RAILsilience (online at https://uic.org/covid-19/).

The goal of the workshop was to address security aspects of the Covid-19 crisis. The workshop was a great opportunity to learn more about the cooperation between railways and authorities in India (Rail Protection Force), Canada (VIA Rail Canada) and France (French transport ministry). Then the impact on security of the crisis in Germany, Italy and Poland was presented respectively by security managers from DB, FS and PKP.

The presentations showed how challenging it is to have such a long crisis and to adapt the organisation accordingly, especially security skills which need to be adapted to the pandemic.

Partnerships with authorities is also a key aspect of the crisis especially with regard to the enforcement of some measures such as wearing masks, social distancing or measuring the temperature of the passengers.

In many countries, the total number of security related incidents has decreased since the number of passengers was very low during the confinement period. However, when resuming operations with enforcement of measures such as facial masks, more verbal or physical aggressions towards staff could arise.

To conclude Jerzy Wisniewski, Director of the UIC Fundamental Values Department, thanked all participants with special thanks to Marc Beaulieu from VIA Rail Canada for his great involvement, advice and assistance to develop the UIC Security activity over the four last years as the Security Platform Chairman. He then welcomed Mr Arun Kumar from Indian Rail Security Forces who agreed to take up the position as Vice Chairman of the Security Platform. He will work side by side with Mr Piotr Kurcz – the Platform Chairman form Polish Railways, from 1 July 2020.

Given the success of the workshop, which was very interactive with many exchanges between the participants, it was decided to organise another security dedicated workshop after the summer break to have an update on the situation while many railways are resuming almost fully operation.

All presentations are available in the UIC security workspace at: https://extranet.uic.org/index.php

For further information please contact Marie-Hélène Bonneau, Head of the UIC Security Unit: bonneau@uic.org

3 Votes

Average rating: 5 / 5

Reporting
  

Web-conference on Covid-19 Latin American Rail Networks Impacts & Adaptations held on 22 June 2020

The first of two web-conferences entitled “Covid-19 Latin American Rail Networks Impacts & Adaptations”, jointly organised with the UIC Latin American Region, the UIC Covid-19 Task Force Group and ALAF (Latin American Railway Association) was held on 22 June 2020.

Attended online by around 100 participants from Europe, Asia and South America, the event was organised into two panels:
Panel 1 focusing on the Asian and European experience;
Panel 2 providing an overview of the reality in different countries in the Latin American Region.
Each panel was followed by a Q&A session, moderated by Marc Guigon, Director of the UIC Passenger Department and Coordinator of the UIC Latin American Region, and Vanessa Pérez Miranda, UIC Senior Passenger Advisor.

Welcome and introductory messages were delivered by François Davenne, UIC Director General, Guilherme Quintella, Chairman of the UIC Latin American Region and José Villafañe, General Secretary of ALAF. The main messages focused on the importance of holding webinars such as this in order to give the floor to member railways, and the work of the UIC Task Force to share best practice and highlight the solidarity and cooperation within the railway community.

Marc Guigon, as Chair of the UIC Covid-19 Task Force, gave an update of the group’s work, including the many ways in which the rail sector has demonstrated resilience throughout the crisis, the five guidance documents released so far as well as future publications.

The first conference panel focused on “Specificities of European and Asian Networks: What challenges for what decisions? Measures taken by some rail networks.
Presentations were delivered by representatives from JR East (Paris Office) and Trainose (Greece) which addressed rail’s response to the pandemic including measures, new initiatives, resumption of activity and restoring customer confidence.

The second panel focused on “The case of Latin American Networks: Facing “Covid-19” – Management system development.
Presentations were delivered by representatives from Latin American railways, transport and logistics companies, as well as organisations such as ALAF and the UN.
Topics covered the impact of the pandemic on railway operations, measures taken, protocols, relations and coordination with authorities, communication campaigns and the role of transport to improve connectivity in South America.

The second web-conference will be held on 6 July 2020.

For further information or to register please visit the dedicated page: https://bit.ly/2Bj1JN6
Or contact Vanessa Perez: perez@uic.org

3 Votes

Average rating: 5 / 5

Reporting
  

8th Training Session on Railway Security organised by ONCF and UIC opened on 22 June 2020

UIC African Region - Rabat 22 June 2020

The official opening of the 8th Training Session on Railway Security took place on June 22 via web-conference within the framework of the biannual training session, which will take place over a period of two weeks from 22 June – 3 July 2020.

The opening session started with the welcoming words of Mr Mohamed Khlie, President of UIC African Region and ONCF, who underlined that digital transformation is at the heart of economic and social challenges for our future.

It opens up new opportunities for activities in the African region, to strengthen the relationship between our networks through high-performance digital solutions allowing the maximum benefit of managers and employees, optimising in terms of time, logistics and cost, by having a better flexibility. He also announced the commencement of a new concept “African Railway Thursday meetings”.

The encounters will take place every last Thursday of the month, starting from September. During a two-hour on-line meeting, the representatives of the African railway communities will be able to meet with the UIC experts representing different domains.

François Davenne, UIC Director General, welcomed participants to the training session. He emphasised that UIC remained open and active during the pandemic, maintaining all its meetings and platforms, thanks to the organised efforts and work of the staff; and strengthening the role it plays for the UIC members. He noted the importance of the African region in the UIC strategy which will be deployed in the near future. Mr Davenne further mentioned that it would be the first time that the two-week training session organised by ONCF and UIC was taking place via web-conference.

He underlined possibilities presented by using new tools during the pandemic which allowed the participation of larger and more global audiences in meetings, whilst saving on business trips as well as the work of the UIC Covid-19 Task Force, which counts African railways among its members.

Thierry Béra, UIC Chief Financial Officer and African Region Coordinator, presented UIC and Said Chandid, UIC Africa Region Bureau Coordinator, presented the work of the UIC African activities and Africa Railway Focus 2040.

The opening session continued with the presentation of the two-week training programme followed by a web-conference on Safety-Security with presentations delivered by the Head of the ONCF Safety Department, Mr El Kbir Akrim, who presented the ONCF safety politics, and deployment, and Mrs Marie-Helene Bonneau, Head of the UIC Security Division, who talked about the work of the UIC Task Force Covid-19, Railsilience, presenting in conclusion the materials and results of work of the group available on the UIC website https://uic.org/covid-19/.

For further information about the UIC African region please contact Thierry Béra, bera@uic.org and Maria Lafont: lafont@uic.org

1 vote

Average rating: 5 / 5

Promoting
  

UIC to moderate IRS Rail Webinar on Rail Baltica project progress

UIC’s Director for Europe Simon Fletcher will moderate the IRS Rail Webinar series ‘Rail Baltica: opportunities in Europe’s latest megaproject’, which is produced by the International Railway Summit in association with Rail Baltica’s project coordinator RB Rail AS. The series starts on Wednesday 1 July 2020.

In Part 1 of the series, ‘Rail Baltica as driver of economic development in the post-Covid recovery’, RB Rail’s senior representatives including Kaspars Briškens, Head of Strategy and Development, will present the audience with an update on the €5.8bn project’s progress, procurement plans, and technical requirements for potential suppliers. The webinar will detail the latest time frames and strategies for sourcing infrastructure component and construction solutions.

Herald Ruijters, Director of Investment, Innovative & Sustainable Transport at the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport (DG MOVE), will outline how Rail Baltica, which is principally funded by the European Union, can prove its resilience following the Covid downturn, and contribute to European economic recovery.

In addition to these interventions, an international infrastructure owner overseeing a major railway project will offer their own perspective on procurement strategies, whilst Valentina Monaco, Head of Global Rail Infrastructure at testing and certification body TÜV SÜD, will share expertise gained assessing and advising on railway projects around the world.

Simon Fletcher will conduct an interview with Mr Ruijters and Mr Briškens on the future of the 870km network, which will integrate the Baltic region, currently operating on Russian gauge, with the majority of the EU’s rail system. Mr Fletcher will also chair a debate between all speakers, including questions from the audience, before summarising the key information and ideas shared during the webinar.

The IRS Rail Webinar series builds on the network, knowledge, and trust built over 9 International Railway Summit events. Just as with the summit, the IRS Rail Webinars are designed to help the railway sector stay informed and stay connected.

Registration for the webinar ‘Rail Baltica as driver of economic development in the post-Covid recovery’ is free at https://www.irits.org/irswebinars/rail-baltica-as-driver-of-economic-development-in-the-post-covid-recovery/.

4 Votes

Average rating: 5 / 5

Promoting
  

Invitation to take part in Passenger Claims Departments’ Conference to be held on 24 September 2020 in Bern, Switzerland

The CIT and UIC have great pleasure to invite the staff of claims, sales and legal departments of their members to the Passenger Claims Departments’ Conference to be held at CIT in Bern, Switzerland on Thursday, 24 September 2020. Participants will be able to join the conference via video streaming using a web conference tool.

During the session participants will be given an overview on assistance to passengers from a legal point of view with analyses of article 18 of PRR, followed by a contribution on the legal implications of Covid-19 on passenger transportation.

Different speakers from the railway sector will then practically present Regulation (EC) No 1371/2007 on rail passengers’ rights and obligations (PRR), how they provide assistance on board the trains and in stations, how they dealt with the after-sales process in the context of Covid-19.

Moreover, there will be an overview on CIT products which are of interest for customer services, including the revised Manual on Data Protection (MDP), amendments to the AIV and to the MIRT and other useful information coming from the CIT.

The highlight of the conference will be the workshops dealing with the assistance for continuation of the journey due to missed connections and the offering of accommodation when the passenger has missed the last connection of the day.

The conference offers good opportunities for networking, giving participants the possibility to discuss unclarified issues or disputed cases, especially for the customer assistance which is a permanent challenge for customers services.

For further information please contact Fabrice Setta, Senior Advisor for Passenger Transport: setta@uic.org

2 Votes

Average rating: 5 / 5

Promoting
  

Tweet of the week 15 – 19 June

Today we are putting the spotlight on the Covid-19 Latin American Rail Networks Impacts & Adaptations web-conferences

2 Votes

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Monitoring Products & Services
  

Audiovisual material on Covid-19 available in the UIC mediacenter – 23 June

UIC has received, selected and gathered a number of films and other audiovisual material on Covid-19 from its members and partners that are now available in the UIC Mediacenter.

The collection is updated on a regular basis.

This week’s latest additions include films from Greece, Spain and Iran.

Feel free to consult them here : Automatic word wrapAutomatic word wrap
https://mediacenter.uic.org/en/nl-nav/83-videos-audios/template/first-level

Do not hesitate to send us your films through the task force team at covid19@uic.org

0 vote
News from UIC members
  

Germany: Rising demand in storage capacities – DB Schenker introduces global space scan

As supply chains have been impaired by the Coronavirus pandemic, global demand for additional storage capacities is rising. DB Schenker is addressing this need by implementing a global space scan, a new service to identify and assess available idle space in all 794 of their own contract logistics warehouses in more than 60 countries.

Xavier Garijo, Board Member for Contract Logistics at DB Schenker, said: “In the current situation, logistics is crucial to businesses and therefore our daily lives. With DB Schenker’s global network of contract logistics sites, we can offer the required flexibility in all key markets. Square meters usually used for dedicated customers, for example to cope with market fluctuations, are now transformed into temporary space opportunities – to support companies that urgently need additional capacity.”

Changing customer behavior due to Covid-19 has led to shipping backlogs in various regions around the globe. At the same time, growing consumer demand for certain goods, for example in the food or health care sector, have led to an increase in production. This has created a need for additional space along two dimensions: Currently unsaleable items need to be stored temporarily, and companies must build up stocks to avoid interruptions in supply.

DB Schenker’s new offer helps companies that are urgently looking for vacant storage capacities and relevant Value Added Services during this critical period. By implementing a digital platform, a daily update of volume and relevant features of available space is possible.

“We are convinced that there will be a higher demand for short-term storage capacity in the future. With our new service we not only serve the market during this transition to the new normality but improve the agility and flexibility of our customer’s supply chains”, added Xavier Garijo.

Interest in the new service is already high: first customers include online retailers, sports fashion and electronics manufacturers, as well as industrial companies.

(Source: DB Schenker)

0 vote
News from UIC members
  

Finland: The Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency will renovate or remove 300 level crossings by the end of 2021

On the International Level Crossing Awareness Day, we are glad to report that the level crossing programme launched by the Ministry of Transport and Communications in 2018 has grown during the project. When the programme ends next year, level crossing safety have been improved in three hundred places around Finland instead of the 65 places that were originally planned.

According to the current plan, the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency will remove 177 level crossings and improve 129 level crossings in relation to the programme.

“Such a great result was achieved with our own and regional planning. As an example, there was a section of road with four level crossings. After constructing detours, we have been able to remove three of them and improve the safety of the remaining level crossing,” explained Jarmo Koistinen, a traffic safety specialist from the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency.

Although the current works are significantly improving the situation, there are still 2,550 level crossings in Finland after the programme ends.

“There is still plenty of work to be done for many years, and at the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency, we are committed to improving traffic safety in this area,” Koistinen added.

Largest projects on the Lahti-Heinola and Tampere-Pori lines

When it comes to safety equipment, Lahti-Heinola is the largest level crossing project in progress. After the project, there will be 29 new or renewed level crossing safety devices in the area.

"Unfortunately, we have not been able to reduce the number of level crossings on this section of the line since in places the roads and the track are close to each other and very close to populated areas, so it has not been possible to construct detours. However, by adding latest technology to level crossings, safety can be considerably improved,” said Koistinen.

Another major project is starting on the line section Tampere-Pori. This €40 million project will improve the possibilities for people living and moving nearby of crossing the railway more safely than before as the current level crossings will be replaced primarily with road or bridge arrangements or equipped with safety equipment, and their safety will also be otherwise improved.

The Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency actively reports on all of its ongoing level crossing projects: Projects and more information can be found on this map.

Even safer level crossings depend on people’s behaviour

In the upcoming years, all investment and maintenance projects will be reflected in the decline of the number of accidents.
“As the number of level crossings has been reduced, the number of accidents has also decreased,” Koistinen said.

“None of our work, however, removes the obligation of the level crossing user to be vigilant when crossing the railroad on car or by other means,” Koistinen says.
What to do when you come to a level crossing:

  1. Slow down and concentrate. Reduce your speed well in advance, whether you are moving by car, bicycle or foot. Minimize factors that interfere with your concentration.
  2. Look and listen. Check both directions before crossing the rail road. Remember that a level crossing is not a zebra-crossing and that the train always has the right of way.
  3. Cross the railroad when it’s safe. It is always your own responsibility to safely cross the railroad.

Level crossing is the most important stop of the day! Have a safe level crossing awareness day - today and all other days!

(Source: Vayla)

1 vote

Average rating: 5 / 5

News from UIC members
  

United States: Amtrak encourages safe travel during national safety month

Safe Travel and Health Precautions Advised on the Railroad This Summer

June is National Safety Month and Amtrak wants to remind the public of the importance of railroad safety onboard trains, in stations and near tracks this summer.

“National Safety Month is an annual opportunity to remind our employees, customers and the public about the importance of rail safety,” said Amtrak President and CEO Bill Flynn. “In addition to that critical information, we also recognize that traveling this summer will come with unique challenges and we want customers to feel secure knowing that we have implemented vital safety measures for everyone’s well-being.”
For customers planning to travel with Amtrak this summer, here is what to keep in mind:

What Amtrak is doing:

  • Limiting bookings: Amtrak is limiting ticket sales on reserved services to allow for physical distancing while traveling.
  • Enhanced cleaning: Amtrak has enhanced cleaning and disinfecting frequency and retrofitted protective barriers where necessary. Commonly used surfaces in stations such as door handles, counter tops, seating areas and Quik-Trak kiosks are frequently cleaned with EPA-registered disinfectants. Amtrak has also amplified cleaning onboard trains by spraying a disinfectant focusing on highly touched surfaces.
  • Physical distancing: Signage has been displayed at our busiest stations to indicate safe distances in high traffic areas. In addition, clear protective barriers have been installed at customer counters at our busiest stations. For customers placing orders in café cars signage and markers promoting physical distancing leading up to the café counter have been added.
  • Café service: Café service aboard Amtrak trains that still offer food service will be available as carryout only. Seating in the café will be closed. Customers can bring items back to their seats or private rooms. Dining and lounge seating will remain available on select long distance routes with physical distancing protocols in place. For added protection, protective plastic barriers are being installed at café countertops.
  • Flexible dining: Amtrak is temporarily offering flexible dining service in the dining or lounge car on all long-distance routes (except Auto Train) and encouraging Sleeping Car customers to select optional room service.

What customers can do:

  • Facial coverings: Amtrak is requiring all customers and employees to wear facial coverings while in stations and on trains or thruway buses. Facial coverings can be removed when customers are in their private rooms or seated alone.
  • Preventing overcrowding: Except for the Auto Train, customers are encouraged to arrive only 30 minutes before departure and only 60 minutes if in need of ticketing and/or baggage assistance. To reduce crowds at departure boards, Amtrak app users can now receive gate and track information via push notification at select stations.
  • Contactless ticketing: Amtrak encourages boarding with eTickets, which conductors scan from the Amtrak app. Amtrak is also accepting cashless payments only.
  • Handwashing and touchless movement: Available in each car’s restroom, Amtrak strongly encourages washing hands thoroughly with soap and water. To move between cars, customers can use an “automatic door open” button with their foot.

For more information on COVID-19 updates, visit Amtrak.com/coronavirus.
In addition to station and onboard train safety, the general public is urged to be cautious and aware near highway-rail grade crossings and railroad rights-of-way. Amtrak is one of several partners with Operation Lifesaver, Inc.(OLI), a national, nonprofit safety education group working to eliminate deaths and injuries at railroad crossings and along railroad rights-of-way. Motorists and pedestrians can take action to prevent injuries and fatalities from occurring this summer, as a result of high-risk behavior on or near railroad crossings and tracks. For more information on railroad safety, visit stayoffthetracks.org.

Rail Safety Tips & Facts:

  • Railroad tracks, trestles, yards and equipment are private property and trespassers are subject to arrest and fine. Walking, biking, jogging and photography are prohibited on tracks.
  • The only safe place to cross is at a designated public crossing with either a crossbuck, flashing red lights or a gate.
  • A train traveling at 55 miles per hour can take approximately one mile, or the length of about 18 football fields to stop.
  • Obey all warning signs and signals. Trains can come from either direction on the same track at any time and can be very quiet. Use of headsets, earbuds or cell phones around tracks can prevent a person from hearing an approaching train and hooded clothing impacts peripheral vision.
  • Remember to always stop at railroad crossings and never drive around lowered gates — it’s illegal and deadly. In addition, there are substantial fines for attempting to go around the crossing arms.
  • Report suspicious items, persons, or activity immediately to the Amtrak Police Department by approaching a uniformed officer, calling (800) 331-0008, sending a text to APD11 (27311), or by calling 911. For emergencies, a toll-free number is posted on every grade crossing for the public to contact a railroad to report problems.

Amtrak is also encouraging employees to participate in National Safety Month with recognition of Safety All-Stars —stories featuring employees or teams who perform exceptional work in safety and special content featured on internal communications channels to highlight workplace safety.

(Source: Amtrak)

0 vote
News from UIC members
  

China’s railway registers growth in freight traffic

In May, the railways nationwide registered a freight delivery of 299 million tons, up 11.15 million tons (3.9%) over the same period of last year, with a daily delivery of 9.63 million tons, up 750,000 tons (8.5%) over the previous month, maintaining operation at a high level. Since the beginning of this year, the railways nationwide registered a freight delivery of 1.39 billion tons, up 2.7% year-on-year, with a total freight revenue of RMB 153.9 billion, down 5.8% year-on-year, which has made positive contributions to ensuring the steady performance of the national economy and meeting the production and living demands of the people.

An official of the freight transport department of China Railway said that the railway sector has thoroughly implemented the central government’s deployment requirements of “ensuring stability in employment, financial operations, foreign trade, foreign investment, domestic investment and expectations” and “ensuring security in job, basic living needs, operations of market entities, food and energy security, stable industrial and supply chains, and the normal functioning of primary-level governments”, continuously deepened the structural reform on the transportation supply side, met the market demand by close docking, strengthened the freight transport organisation, kept the industrial and supply chains stable, and promoted the continuous growth of freight traffic. It has deeply implemented the freight volume increase action and promoted the “highway to railway” transport.

In May, 34.79 million tons of ore were distributed from main coastal ports via railways, up 22.4% year-on-year. It has actively satisfied the demands of enterprises and formulated the transportation plans in accordance with the “one policy for one enterprise”. It has continuously implemented the measures to reduce freight charges, and flexibly adjusted freight rates to effectively reduce the logistics costs. Since the beginning of this year, it has surrendered a profit of RMB 380 million. In May, the car loading on railways nationwide reached 159,000 cars per day, an increase of 13,000 cars (8.8%) compared with the previous month. The daily car loading broke the annual records four times, in which 166,000 cars were loaded on May 29, creating the highest daily car loading in 2020.

The official said that railway freight has maintained a high level of traffic and continued growing, which reflected the accelerated recovery and steady and positive trend of China’s economic and social development order. In the next step, the railway sector will further play the role of railways as major arteries and strategic corridors, deeply implement the freight volume increase actions, improve freight capacity and efficiency, actively serve the market entities and the real economy, and make positive contributions to the economic and social development and improvement of people’s livelihood.

(Source: CR)

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