UIC Europe

Innovating for the future European rail system


List of EU legislation that is either directly or potentially applicable to rail transportation. This can be of use when developing strategic plans and, in particular, when developing calls for tender for the procurement of goods and services.
This list is given for information only and no warranty is given as to its accuracy or completeness. Only publications that appear in the Official Journal have a legal effect.

With the results of the 1st Call of Horizon 2020, the early stages of SHIFT²RAIL initiative as well as the progresses of Connecting Europe Facility Transport Call, the European Rail Operating Community (ROC) is involved in a very exciting and dynamic period.

The coming years will see the launch of a whole range of initiatives that lead towards an attractive and innovative future rail system.

With a budget of 70 billion € in constant prices over seven years, Horizon 2020 will support active research and innovation developments in a very wide range of areas to the benefit of the whole European economy. €6.993 billion are dedicated to the Transport Challenge over 2014-2020. For 2014-2015, 52 million € have been earmarked for specific work in the rail sector of the Smart, Green and Intelligent Transports call that is centred on three core topics:

  • I²I - Intelligent Infrastructure
  • Smart Rail Services
  • New generation of rail vehicles

Together with this specific budget for rail, the whole 1st call of Horizon 2020 presents a considerable number of opportunities for the ROC. Several projects in which UIC is involved have been accepted:

  • BODEGA (BOrdDErGuArd) concerning the proactive enhancement of human performance in border control, including controls in train stations and trains.
  • NeTIRail-Infra (Need-Tailored Interoperability Railway-Infrastructure) focuses on infrastructure challenges affecting the large number of people and the large geographical proportion of Europe that are served by conventional rail lines. NeTIRail-Infra aims at delivering reliable, available cost-effective high-capacity infrastructure with respect to holistic management, economics of rail operations and lean implementation plans.
  • REFINET (REthinking Future Infrastructure NETworks) mainly targets the creation of a multi-disciplinary/multi-sector community, able to answer the key issues related to smarter design, construction and maintenance of transport infrastructures. This network will deliver and disseminate a Strategic Implementation Plan for the REFINET multi-modal transport infrastructure model and ensure a wide sharing of best practices in Europe.
  • SETRIS (Strengthening European Transport Research and Innovation Strategies) has for objective to deliver a cohesive and coordinated approach to research and innovation strategies for all transport modes in Europe. SETRIS will identify synergies between the European and National Technology Platforms, review and update the Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda (SRIAs), benchmark past and present research initiatives, develop implementation plan for SRIAs and contribute to the Transport Research Arena (TRA).

All these challenges relate to the design, construction, operation and maintenance of the future rail system and support the main objectives set out in the Challenge 2050 business vision.

The UIC European Region is, through its Research and Innovation Coordination Group (RICG), actively supporting companies in the preparation of consortia and relevant proposals to be submitted. [Insert link RICG web page: http://www.uic.org/Research-Coordination-Group-RCG].

10 operating companies, members of UIC, have gathered together in a consortium of companies called EUROC (European Rail Operating Community Consortium), coordinated by UIC, and have applied for associate membership to Shift²Rail.
After the closings of the CEF Transport Call on 3 March 2015, 276 projects are now covered by Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) Fund, totalising together €13.1 billion – including 82 rail-specific projects. The Call was based on several documents relating to the Annual Work Program and to the Multi-Annual Work Program containing 4 different objectives interesting all modes of transports: environment-friendliness and resource-efficiency for transports; better mobility with less congestion, higher safety and security; global leadership for the European transport industry; socio-economic and behavioural research and forward looking activities for policymaking.

Horizon 2020: http://ec.europa.eu/programmes/horizon2020/
Shift²Rail: http://www.shift2rail.org/
CEF – Connecting Europe Fund: http://ec.europa.eu/inea/

The creation of a regional approach as part of the multi-regional architecture of UIC commenced in 2008. This allows programmes and activities to be tailor-made to meet the specific needs of each region.

The UIC European region comprises 122 member companies from 39 countries (including Russia and Turkey) and amounting to some 350,000 kilometres of rail network. This has evolved over the years as a result of excellent cooperation between the rail operators to the point where there are many services that operate across the operating boundaries of member companies thereby forming a European rail network.

The objective is to promote a competitive, sustainable and attractive rail transport system serving more than 500 million citizens across Europe.

The programme of work

Partner web links

CER www.cer.org
EIM www.eim.org
CTG coordination Technical Group www.ctgrail.eu
GRB Group of Representative Bodies [no link available yet]
CEN- CENELEC www.cenelec.eu
ERRAC European Rail Research Advisory Council www.errac.org
UNIFE Association of European Rail Industry www.unife.org
UITP International Association of Public Transport www.uitp.org
ERFA European Rail Freight Association www.erfarail.eu
UIRR International Union of Combined Road-Rail transport companies www.uirr.com
UIP International Union of Private Wagons www.uiprail.org
EPTOLA www.epttola.eu

The UIC is managing a wide range of projects that fit into in all kinds of fields, from research to standardisation and which cover all the core technical domains that make up the rail system.
The region’s programme of work is based on two major documents in the context of the above mentioned EC Innovation programme (Horizon 2020 and Shift²Rail):

Challenge 2050

Rail is vital to the well-being of Europe’s society and the strength of its economy. To maintain and develop this role in the future, the sector needs to meet enormous challenges: protect the social, economic and environmental fabric. The railway sector has developed this document on the basis of a broad sector input and which identifies these challenges and makes a commitment to addressing them.

Challenge 2050 is the European rail sector’s shared perception of where the rail system could be in 2050 and identifies the many goals that are complementary to this vision and support a rail system that is responsive to the needs of Europe’s citizens. It is built around 3 pillars of Policy, Technology and Services all combining to ensure that the rail system of 2050 is one that is attractive to the end user and that rail is the customer’s preferred land transport mode of choice).

Rail enjoys an unprecedented opportunity to achieve the sustainability required for the 21st century and respond to the expected growth in transport demand, both passenger and freight, that this implies. In order to describe these challenges, the European railway community has developed Challenge 2050, a vision that identifies what needs to be done and it made a commitment to address them. That foundation of the approach to the rail system of the future was built around three main pillars of Policy, Technology and Services.

The document takes account of the European Commission’s 2011 White Paper on Transport but also identifies a significant set of business challenges and makes a commitment to addressing them. It takes cognisance of the Shift²Rail initiative and it is anticipated that this document will be a useful focus for the development of ideas for future innovation through the EU Framework Programme “Horizon 2020” either as direct projects or via ERRAC and its RailRoute 2050 and the FOSTERRAIL project.

It is intended to encourage delivery of a business-led vision for the sector as a whole, describe how rail will meet the challenges of the modern rail era and to describe the role rail should play in the development of Europe as a global region.
It identifies a significant number of goals that are complementary to the vision and which will support a rail system that is responsive to the needs of Europe’s citizens. It has been endorsed by the following major rail stakeholders:

Rail has a pivotal role in delivering a competitive and environmentally-friendly transport system, growing the economy, enhancing personal mobility and supporting social cohesion. The rail system has adapted and will continue to adapt, enabling further modal shift and maintaining its position as the mode of choice, consistently and the sector is confident that Challenge 2050 will provide the launchpad for the future. The document has been produced in a collaborative manner with contributions from all the main stakeholders coordinated on their behalf into the existing version by the UIC’s European team.

The Rail Technical Strategy Europe (RTSE)

All over Europe, the railway is becoming more and more popular, and individual countries within Europe are facing similar challenges: to run more trains carrying more people and freight in a more sustainable, cost effective and efficient way.
The railways themselves are also physical geographical connections between States and offer a smart way of travelling across the continent.

In order that individual rail companies can plan for the future in the best possible way, leading rail experts from across Europe have come together led by the UIC’s Coordinator Europe, Simon Fletcher, to publish a shared strategy, known as Rail Technical Strategy Europe.

The strategy builds on the high level vision that was published in the Challenge 2050 document of 2013 and is designed to complement and support national strategies, and so provides the common ground for railways across Europe to grow together and provide an attractive service to the customer. It sends a really strong message that the systems that are so important to efficient operation and service provision must all look to pull in the same direction and that innovation and technology programmes must be structured so that they are striving for common goals.

This is a groundbreaking document, partly because it shows how much common ground there is in terms of the shared vision of railway companies across Europe, but also because it helps the rail operating community to demonstrate what its business needs are in a really confident way. It shows we are commercially attractive and ready to meet the challenge of business for the decades ahead.

The Rail Standardisation Strategy Europe (RSSE)

Rail is a vital service to the European society and the transport backbone of a strong economy. Railways are now facing an unprecedented opportunity to meet the sustainability required to be a major contributor to 21st Century European success and efficiently match transport demand – passengers and freight – both in terms of quality and quantity.

Innovation will be the key to achieve this objective but it cannot be viably implemented without the support of standards, standards which are themselves fed by innovation in the railway system. This virtuous cycle of railway standard is now evolving in a changing context, where liberalisation and the on-going creation of a Single European Railway Area (SERA) are determining factors. Standardisation can no longer be apprehended from an operator-driven scope and transforms into a kind of “shared responsibility” with the supply industry.

In spite of the crucial weight of standardisation in technology and innovation as developed by Challenges 2050 and RTSE, both of these publications only deal with the issue of standardisation in a general manner. A separate document specifically focussing on standardisation was deemed useful and is currently being produced by the Railway Operating Community (ROC). This Rail Standardisation Strategy Europe (RSSE) will provide guidelines for a consistent and collaborative production of business-oriented standards.