Jean-Pierre Loubinoux, UIC Director General and Jerzy Wisniewski, Director of the UIC Fundamental Values Department welcomed the representatives of 29 partners from 12 different countries to the ProtectRail kick-off meeting on 5-7 October 2010 at UIC headquarters in Paris.
ProtectRail is an integration project selected by the European Commission as part of the call for proposals under the 7th framework programme for research and development, addressing integrated protection of rail transportation.
Jean-Pierre Loubinoux stressed that ProtectRail represents a major undertaking for all partners as the “reinforcement of transport security is a specific requirement that is increasingly influencing railway activity. It involves both dealing with malice and everyday crime and also establishing responses to terrorist threats for which the transport sector constitutes an attractive target, insofar as all disturbances of public transport systems damage social and economic links and disrupt the functioning of society.” He added that “the impact will undoubtedly go beyond the borders of Europe as rail security is also a major issue in other regions in the world”.
Ivan Sorensen, Policy Officer for Security of Land Transport and Dangerous Goods at DG Mobility and Transport of the European Commission highlighted the fact that “ProtectRail is the first major project in ‘this new wind of change’ related to security in land transport. He congratulated the partners of the ProtectRail Consortium for their initiative in getting together for this complex research project.” He mentioned UIC’s federative role, and its capacity to promote this type of project: to gather people and competencies and to help implement the results of EU-funded research at European level.
ProtectRail undertakes to develop an integrated system to improve the security of rail transportation through better protection of railways and trains, and to reduce the disparity between European railway systems’ security. Measures will include the immunity of signal and power distribution systems against electromagnetic terrorism, the detection of abnormal objects on or under ballast, the clearance of trains before daily use, the control of access to the driver’s cabin, and the detection of unauthorised new driver methods/tools to isolate and secure luggage, as well as a dedicated study and tools to reduce the disparity between European railway systems’ security.
The project, led by Ansaldo STS Spa, will last 42 months at a total cost of €21 million. The other partners involved in the project are railway and security solution suppliers, universities and research institutes, the Association for the European Rail Industry (UNIFE), and five railway companies that act as end-users: Lithuanian Railways (LG), Polish Railways (PKP PLK SA), French Railways (SNCF), Turkish Railways (Turkey) and Slovakian Railways (ZSSK). The involvement of main stakeholders will ensure that the technological needs of UIC member railways are fully considered. The UIC Security Division is leading the dissemination subproject. The objective of the project is to provide a viable, integrated set of railway security solutions by considering the extent of the assets involved, the nature of the possible threats, and the technical requirements and operational constraints. The main scientific and technological steps for the project are as follows:
- Develop a comprehensive, common vision of current and future risks regarding many different assets, and examine and assess aspects pertaining to disparities,
- Implement asset-oriented integrated solutions (sub-mission level) based on mature technology,
- Integrate these asset-oriented solutions and demonstrate a global architecture, including modularity and interoperability,
- Derive from these results a future design for homogeneous security.
This project is particularly important as it addresses the security of people and because it is with today’s research, invention, and innovation that we will work out the solutions for tomorrow.