UIC Director-General takes the floor at the International Symposium “Rail Unites Europe” in Liège (15 November 2010)

The value of “UIC Leaflets” underlined during this symposium

An international symposium entitled “Rail Unites Europe” was organised by the Belgian Presidency of the European Union at the initiative of Mr Etienne Schouppe, State Secretary for Mobility together with Belgian Railways (SNCB-Holding) on 15 November in Liège. This symposium, which brought together around 200 participants, was opened by Mr. Philippe Henry, Minister for Mobility of the Walloon Government and the State Secretary Mr Etienne Schouppe. Mr Jeannie Haek, CEO of SNCB-Holding, presented the programme. The main issue addressed was about improving interoperability to increase the attractiveness of the rail system in Europe.

In his introduction, Minister Etienne Schouppe made reference to the creation of the first railways in Belgium in 1835 where the primary objectives were already to save time, money and serve society. Railways today present great advantages in terms of safety and sustainability. But an important challenge remains: improving interoperability in the technical, operational as well as the commercial fields to raise rail competiveness vis-à-vis other modes.

Participating institutions or associations included the European Commission, ERA, UIC, CER, EIM, UNIFE and EBA (Eisenbahn-Bundesamt).

Jean-Pierre Loubinoux, UIC Director-General, had been invited to take the floor in the opening session themed around “Railways as an integrating factor – main challenges of railway transport for the benefit of the market and the community”. The aim was to present how railways can contribute as an important integration factor, not only in Europe but also in other parts of the world. In this regard, he recalled that Unity represents one of UIC’s three core values together with Solidarity and Universality.

Rail transport systems, said Jean-Pierre Loubinoux, contribute to creating or re-creating Unity in many ways. First of all a large number of projects for new railway links or corridors contributes to improving geographical and territorial unity. He mentioned the 12 current projects for high speed links worldwide as well as projects for long distance corridors, in particular those linking Europe, Asia and the Middle-East. This rapid development of rail projects across the globe demonstrates that rail transport can offer optimal solutions for mobility in a world with limited financial resources; a world increasingly concerned about the environment; a world where exchanges must be faster, with broader capacities and covering greater distances.

Technical and administrative unity is also particularly essential in today’s world from security and safety to traffic management and capacity and the environment. UIC as the worldwide railway association is particularly committed to ensuring close cooperation at international level between all kinds of players on a fragmented railway scene. Currently, in order to improve safety, fluidity and the optimisation of operations, the technical rail system must manage the integration of all these different players on the basis of unified standards and operational rules. UIC today is particularly committed to contributing to the systemic unity, in particular through its Rail System Forum.

Finally, rail is also a key player for societal unity. Jean-Pierre Loubinoux mentioned the roles of stations and freight logistics as important integration factors both based on optimal concepts for intermodality (or “optimodality”). Railways in addition strongly contribute to achieving political unity, e.g. in re-establishing permanent links between countries and contributing to regional reconstruction, etc.

In his concluding remarks, Belgian Secretary of State for Mobility Etienne Schouppe underlined the value of the UIC Leaflets as the result of broad harmonisation work with the railway community (UIC and member railways) over many years, as part of efforts to improve the interoperability of the rail system in Europe.

UIC Regional Office for Africa officially inaugurated in Tunis

The headquarters of the UIC Regional Office for Africa were inaugurated on Friday 12 November in Tunis with Mr. Abderrahim Zouari, Tunisian Minister of Transport, Mr. Mohamed Rabi Khlie, Director-General of Moroccan Railways (ONCF) and Chairman of the UIC African Region, Mr. Mohamed Nejib Fitouri, President and Director-General of Tunisian Railways (SNCFT) and Chairman of the Union of African Railways (UAR), Mr. Naffati El Ghoul, Secretary-General of UAR, Mr. Jean-Pierre Loubinoux, UIC Director-General and Mr. Jean-Pierre Lehman, UIC Legal Director and Coordinator for Africa.

The opening of the UIC Regional Office for Africa is the result of a decision adopted by the African Regional Assembly last summer in Tripoli (during the same meeting, Mr. Mohamed Khlie was elected as the new Chairman of ‘UIC Africa’). The Tunis Office (similar to the UIC Regional Offices already in operation in Delhi for Asia and in Tehran for the Middle-East), will be working under the course of action set out by the Regional Assembly (composed of UIC African Member railways) and the assembly Chairman. The office will benefit from the organisational and logistic support of the Tunisian Railways for a period of 18 to 24 months and will be managed by Mr. Mokhtar Essadok. Its main task will consist in overseeing the implementation and follow-up of the Action Plan of the UIC African Region and encouraging the development of cooperation links between African members and international bodies with competence in transport band railways issues in the region.

Transport Minister Mr. Abderrahim Zouari underlined how Tunisia is proud to host the opening of the UIC Regional Office and that this inauguration demonstrates his country’s keen interest in transport issues, particularly in the railways. The Tunisian government considers rail transport as an engine for growth and an efficient tool for sustainable development. Among the priorities, the minister mentioned the development of public transport to reduce traffic jams, the project to develop a line as part of the trans-Maghreb high speed rail system, as well as the project to shift freight from road to rail by developing intermodal transport. He also reminded those present how urgent and essential it is to develop railway infrastructure for Africa and recalled the signing of the Brazzaville Declaration for an efficient rail transport system in 2006, during the 1st conference of the Ministers from the African Union in charge of railway transport.

Mr. Mohamed Neijib Fitouri, SNCFT President and Director-General, and Chairman of the African Union of Railways, warmly welcomed all participants from railway organisations and from individual African railways. He also underlined how much Tunisian Railways are committed to fostering international cooperation in the region through his chairmanship of the UAR, his vice-chairmanship of the Arab Union of Railways (AUR) and the active participation of SNCFT in the Maghreb Railway Transport Committee (CTFM), illustrating a willingness to simultaneously promote the development of rail transport at African, Arab and Maghreb level.

UIC Director-General Jean-Pierre Loubinoux stressed that the inauguration of the ‘UIC Africa’ Office here in Tunis is of great symbolic importance. On one hand, it demonstrates the willingness of Maghreb Railways – ONCF as the chair railway of ‘UIC Africa’ and SNCFT as the host railway of the Regional Office – to play a decisive role in joining the efforts of all African railways towards modernising and expanding their networks; and on the other it shows that Maghreb Railways, situated at the crossroads between Europe and Africa – and as a gateway to Europe – will become increasingly vital players in the development of economy and trade in the Mediterranean region. Two important railway events involving UAR and UIC have already been held in Tunis recently: one on Track Maintenance and the other on Rail as an Integration Factor for the Maghreb Region. The involvement of both railways (ONCF and SNCFT) marks a new dynamic in the development of a specific Action Plan for the African Region within UIC. The signing of the MoU in 2010 between UIC and the African Union Commission (AUC) in Addis Ababa also demonstrates how much UIC is committed to making the modernisation and consolidation of African railways a success.

For more information please contact Jean-Pierre Lehman, UIC Coordinator for Africa: lehman@uic.org

News from UIC members

Germany: DB will equip 1,250 freight wagons with silent brake blocks

"A quick and tangible reduction of railway noise at the source is a common objective for the German Federal Government and German Railways DB AG. It is in the interest of inhabitants living along railway lines and good for the development of an efficient rail freight transport system that we urgently need to master transport growth within the next period, by simultaneously achieving CO2 emissions reduction targets”, said Dr. Rüdiger Grube, Chairman of the Management Board of DB AG, as Transport Minister Peter Ramsauer handed over the confirmation of the public funding scheme for noise reduction on freight wagons.

For the first time the German government will provide financial support not only for noise reduction measures on railway lines but also for freight rolling stock. The support from the Federal Government will finance the pilot retrofitting of 1,250 freight wagons from the existing fleet with silent composite brake blocks. DB Schenker Rail is the first railway undertaking to have requested financial support for the retrofitting of freight cars in the context of the “Silent Rhine” (“Leiser Rhein”) project.

Source: DB


All high speed stakeholders will meet at UIC HIGHSPEED 2010 on 7 – 9 December in Beijing The congress theme: High Speed Rail Spearheading Greener Transport

UIC and the Ministry of Railways (MOR) of the People’s Republic of China are organising UIC HIGHSPEED 2010, the 7th world Congress on High Speed Rail, on 7 – 9 December 2010 in Beijing.

The Chairmen of the congress Mr Liu Zhijun, Minister of Railways of China and Mr Yoshio Ishida, UIC Chairman, will officially open the congress on 7 December together with Mr José Blanco, Spanish Transport Minister, Mr Mauro Moretti, CEO of Italian Railways (FS) and UIC Vice-Chairman, Mr He Huawu, Chief Engineer of the Chinese Ministry of Transport (MOR), Mr Huh Joon-Young, CEO of Korail and Chairman of the UIC Asian Regional Assembly (South Korea), Mr Hubert du Mesnil, President of the French Rail Infrastructure Manager (RFF)
and Mr Jean-Pierre Loubinoux, UIC Director-General.

Prominent figures who will take the floor during these three days include:

  • Mrs Karen Rae, Deputy Administrator, Federal Railroad Administration,
  • US Department of Transportation
  • Mr Guillaume Pepy, President of SNCF (France)
  • Mr André Navarri, Member of the Presiding Board of the Association of the European Rail
  • Industry (UNIFE) and President and CEO of Bombardier Transportation
  • Mr Masaki Ogata, Vice-Chairman of East Japan Railway Company
  • Mr Zbigniew Szafranski, Chairman of the Board PKP Polish Railway Lines Company,
  • Chairman of UIC Rail Systems Forum
  • Mr Vincenzo Soprano, CEO of Trenitalia (Italy)
  • Mr Michele Elia, CEO of the Italian Rail Infrastructure Manager and Chairman of the UIC
  • ERTMS Platform (Italy)
  • Mr Teófilo Serrano Beltrán, Chairman of the Spanish rail operator (RENFE Operadora)
  • Mr Antonio González Marín, CEO of the Spanish infrastructure manager (ADIF)
  • Mr Norimichi Kumagai, Executive Director of Railway Technical Research Institute (RTRI
  • Japan)
  • Mr. Zheng Jian, Chief Planning Officer at MOR (P. R. China)
  • 2/3
  • Mrs Barbara Dalibard, CEO of SNCF Voyages
  • Mr Olaf Mense, ERTMS Marketing Group of UNIFE

This leading conference is organised around two round tables dealing with “High Speed Rail towards the Future” and “High Speed Rail Innovations” respectively. Seven blocks of thirty-five parallel sessions totalling 240 presentations on dedicated topics directly connected with high speed rail development will include:

  • High Speed Rail and Socio-economic Development: environment, energy and resources, noise and vibrations, economics, financing, territory management
  • High speed rolling stock: design and manufacturing, use and maintenance, traction power supply
  • High speed operations: safety and security, standards and interoperability, extreme and exceptional natural conditions, signalling and communications
  • High Speed Infrastructure: track maintenance, tunnels & bridges, track components
  • High Speed and network planning: project management, training and human resources
  • High Speed and Stations: architecture, high speed and the city, multimodal stations
  • High Speed Rail and Marketing: service quality, commercial aspects, marketing
  • and distribution.

You can find more information and register on the congress website below:


Next meetings scheduled

  • 18-20 October 2017 Statistics Steering Committee Meeting UIC
  • 19-22 October 2017 Next Station Conference Madrid
  • 19 October 2017 Freight Steering Committee
  • 23-28 October 2017 International Railway Safety Council (IRSC) HONG KONG
  • 24-28 October 2017 Intercity & High Speed Committee Plenary meeting Shanghai
  • 24 October 2017 RSF Plenary
  • 25 October 2017 OptiYard TMC Meeting UIC Headquarters
  • 25 October 2017 Optiyard SMC meeting UIC Headquarters
  • 26-27 October 2017 OptiYard Kick-off meeting UIC Headquarters
  • 26-27 October 2017 Expertise Development Platform Rome, Italy
  • 30-31 October 2017 16th UIC Asia-Pacific Management Committee Saint-Petersburg, Russia
  • 30-31 October 2017 Commercial and Distribution Steering Committee Conference Call
  • 30 October 2017 CDF Steering Committee Conference Call
  • 30 October 2017 Commercial and Distribution Forum Steering Committee conference call
  • 31 October 2017 - 1 November 2017 24th UIC Asia-Pacific Regional Assembly Saint-Petersburg, Russia
  • 6 November 2017 Commercial and Distribution Forum plenary meeting Paris
  • 7 November 2017 European Management committee Assistants Paris
  • 7 November 2017 European Group of Assistants Paris
  • 8-10 November 2017 10th APNRTC (Asia-Pacific Network of Railway Training Centres) Chengdu, China
  • 8-9 November 2017 APNRTC (Asia Pacific Network of Rail Training Centres) SWJTU, Chengdu, China
  • 8 November 2017 91st General Assembly Preparatory Group Paris
  • 13-18 November 2017 5th Training on High Speed Systems Level II Madrid
  • 14 November 2017 Safety Platform Steering Group meeting UIC HQ PARIS
  • 15 November 2017 Safety Platform Plenary meeting UIC HQ PARIS
  • 21-24 November 2017 Commuter and regional Training Rome

UIC e-News Legal Editor: Marie Plaud
Coordination: Helen Slaney
Editorial team: UIC e-News Team, Paris 18 November 2010

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