Interviews conducted with key speakers during the UIC week in Beijing (June 2017)

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UIC Asset Management Global Conference

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UIC Safety Platform Steering Group meeting hosted by CP-Portuguese Railways on 16 June 2017 in Porto

The session was opened by Mr Manuel Queiró, Director General of CP (Portuguese Railways) and Mr Frédéric Delorme, UIC Safety Platform Chairman and Safety Director at SNCF.

20 people participated including two delegates specialising in railway safety issues at the Ministry of Transport of Kazakhstan.

All of them had the opportunity to exchange on railway safety issues as a whole, latest incidents, accidents, UIC safety data base, best practices, measures to take, human factors, safety culture, implementation of the Fourth Railway Package etc.

Our Portuguese hosts, more specifically from CP, IP, the National Safety Authority (NSA) and the NIB (National Investigation Body) gave an overview on railway safety issues in their country:

  • Introduction of the CP network by Mrs Dora Peralta, Director of Safety and Coordination
  • National Safety Authority (José Pires and Paulo Taveira): Mr Paulo Taveira introduced the work of the Portuguese NSA to implement the Technical Pillar of Fourth Railway Package in Portugal, the organisation of the NSA and the cleaning of national rules
  • Mrs Luísa Garcia, Infrastructure Manager Safety and Security Manager at IP informed the meeting about how to deal with the occupational health and safety issues to increase employee productivity
  • Mr Nelson Oliveira from the National Safety Board Investigation Director presented the role of the Portuguese rail accident investigation office in helping to improve safety in rail.

Chair persons of the UIC Safety Platform working groups gave an overview of their activities:

  • Mr Jean-François Meunier, SNCF, Chairman of SSMG (System Safety Management Group)
  • Mr Bart Hoogcarspel, Prorail, Chairman of SPG (Safety Performance Group)
  • Mr Christian Neveu, Chairman of HFWG (Human Factors Working Group)
  • Mr Hans Vogt, Chairman of IRSN (International Railway Safety Network)

Mrs Isabelle Fonverne, UIC Senior Safety Advisor, presented level crossing safety activities. She gave feedback on ILCAD 2017 and reported on the SAFER-LC EU project coordinated by UIC (Security and Safety divisions).

Finally, Mr Jerzy Wisniewski, Director of the UIC Fundamental Values Department, reported on the three-year UIC work programmes and on Safety Platform budgetary issues for 2018.

The next Safety Platform Steering Group meeting is foreseen on 14 November 2017 followed by the Safety Platform plenary meeting on 15 November at the UIC HQ.

For more information please contact Isabelle Fonverne, UIC Senior Safety Advisor:

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News from UIC members

United States: Discounted Amtrak tickets still available from Chicago and points north

Join the many who will travel to Carbondale, Ill. to experience a total solar eclipse in August and take it easy by riding Amtrak while saving 30-percent on trips aboard the Illini or Saluki trains between Aug.16 and 22.

On Aug. 21, North America will experience its first coast-to-coast total solar eclipse in nearly a century. The eclipse will move across the continent at a speed greater than 930 mph and stretch from Oregon to South Carolina. It will have the longest duration near Carbondale, where it is expected to last for 2 minutes and 38 seconds, Viewers will want to be at the prime viewing destination no later than noon CDT that Monday. For more information, see the posting at

Amtrak has the trains to get you (and your bicycle, too) to the prime viewing areas while avoiding the long drive up and down Interstate 57. Amtrak is a sponsor of the Carbondale Eclipse event, so the Amtrak travelmark is on viewing glasses distributed by Carbondale Tourism at the Eclipse Marketplace. Space for bicycles on the trains is limited, as are supplies of the souvenir glasses.

Discounted adult fares between Chicago to Carbondale on the Illini and Saluki are still available for as little as $24 each way, plus $10 each way for a bicycle. Amtrak operates the Illini and Saluki (Trains 390-393) under a contract with the Illinois Department of Transportation. Amtrak has you covered coming from Kentucky, Tennessee and points south on the City of New Orleans trains to and from Carbondale, with a sample adult fare of $42 each way from Memphis.

(Source: Amtrak)

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News from UIC members

France: What do we mean by self-driving trains?

When developing trains for the future, SNCF is guided by two objectives: continuing to augment services in the most densely populated zones and increasing operational flexibility while ensuring complete safety.

Both in France and internationally, the SNCF Group is known above all for the TGV. Today, introducing self-driving trains represents a similarly impressive technological leap.

To meet this challenge, SNCF and its industrial partners are looking for innovative solutions to automate certain observation and train environment management functions, as well as speed control and traffic management.

For example, as part of a partnership with Alstom and the Institute for Technological Research SystemX, SNCF is developing a perception system that relies on a combination of sensors, cameras and radars to detect obstacles and signalling.
Completely automated driving “cannot exist for the railway”. As Mathieu Chabanel, Deputy Director General of SNCF Réseau, explains, trains do not run on closed tracks, unlike automated subway trains. The technology that needs to be developed is thus far more complex. A human presence is required to adjust driving behaviour in the event of incursion on the track or difficult weather conditions, for example.

“The first challenge is to increase line capacity – not to dispense with drivers. Automation will be used to optimise train running speeds. Consider the motorway: when everyone is travelling at the perfect speed, the flow of traffic is much smoother. Self-driving trains thus guarantee greater line capacity, allowing us to put our existing infrastructure to better use and eliminating the need for costly investment”, explains Guillaume Pepy, SNCF Executive Board Chairman.

A long-term programme

The first experiments will start in 2019 with a remote-controlled freight train. In 2021, the movements of freight trains and TERs will be partially automated on their way to and from maintenance centres. In 2022, the extension of the RER E, Eole, to the west of Paris will be put into service and will be semi-automated between Nanterre and Rosa-Parks (19th arrondissement of Paris). “This will be the first automated system permitted on the national rail network”, explains Alain Krakovitch, Managing Director of SNCF Transilien.

In 2023, the first semi-automated TGVs will run on dedicated tracks to improve the frequency of train services. In particular, these will increase the number of trains on the Paris-Lyon line by 25%.

(Source: SNCF)

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News from UIC members

Czech Republic: The modernisation of ČD’s Pendolino high-speed trains has begun

In June, Czech Railways (ČD) and its subsidiary, vehicle repair company Dílny pro opravy vozidel (DPOV), launched a project to modernise the interiors of Pendolino high-speed trains. During the coming months, all seven electric multiple units will undergo a rejuvenation treatment.

“In refurbishing the Pendolinos’ amenities, we’re focusing in particular on the interiors of passenger compartments and WCs, as well as the bistro compartment. These are furnishings which, after 12 years intensive operation, are showing signs of wear. There will be new seats, wall coverings, floors, luggage racks and WCs. The electrical sockets and lighting will be replaced as well,” explains Miroslav Kupec, ČD’s Board Member responsible for technology, service and property. “We’ll also add modern amenities that weren’t common aboard trains 12 years ago. For example, we’ll install a visual information system for passengers, as well as a small children’s cinema similar to the ones offered on railjet trains.”

“The first refurbishment has already begun on electric multiple unit 680.005. Due to its kilometres of operation, this unit was subjected in April to greater periodic repairs, during which we installed completely repaired bogies from DPOV PSO Nymburk,” says Roman Kott, Chairman of ČD’s subsidiary ČD Dílny pro opravy vozidel (DPOV).

“During the course of May, we then began preparatory work on equipping the workshop where the Pendolino interiors will be refurbished. This is located in the premises of JLV Prague, and will enable us to modernise an entire 200-metre electric multiple unit divided into two parts in a closed hall on two parallel tracks. We completed these preparations at the beginning of June, and during June on a DKV Praha siding we also began the refurbishment by disassembling the original interior. At the beginning of July, electric multiple unit 680.005 will be moved to the newly prepared premises at JLV Prague, where the refurbishment will continue with the installation of new interiors and amenities. The entire project will run not only this year, but will also continue during 2018,” adds Roman Kott.

Interesting facts about the modernisation of Pendolino high-speed trains:

  • Pendolinos have now travelled more than 26.25 million kilometres in total, and electric multiple unit 680.006 leads the fleet with nearly 4 million kilometres;
  • They have transported more than 12 million passengers;
  • 49 carriages will be modernised (2 of which after undergoing repairs at the company Alstom following an accident with a lorry last year);
  • 2,331 seats will be replaced;
  • 196 LCD monitors will be installed as part of the new visual information system;
  • New LED lighting will replace the existing fluorescent lighting;
  • A new children’s cinema will be installed in each unit.

(Source: ČD)

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News from UIC members

Latvia-China: Latvian Railways and DHL join forces to boost Baltic-China trade

Baltic and Nordic exporters can look forward to faster, cheaper and more reliable logistics connections to China’s immense export market, following the signing of a new agreement between Latvia’s State Joint Stock Company Latvijas dzelzceļš (LDz) and DHL Global Forwarding, the leading international provider of air, sea and road freight services.

The Memorandum of Understanding and Cooperation (MUC) signed last week between both companies will see both organisations focus on establishing multimodal rail connections between China and Latvia, including both freight connections and consolidation services centered in Riga City. Under the MUC, new connections will include guaranteed transit times and simplified customs and handling procedures for inbound and outbound cargo, as well as support for more flexible shipments such as Less-than-Container Load (LCL) freight.

“So far, very few Baltic or Nordic businesses have fully tapped into the immense market opportunities that China and the broader Asia Pacific region currently offer,” said Steve Huang, CEO, DHL Global Forwarding Greater China. “The two regions’ exports made up only 0.7% of China’s imports on average between 2011 to 2015, despite China’s demand for overseas goods which both regions excel in – like high-quality food products, textiles, and pharmaceuticals – growing rapidly in this time. ”

“With the economies of Latvia and its neighbors expected to grow faster than the rest of the European Union, businesses in the region will need to look to new markets like China to fuel their expansion. By building rapid, reliable logistics connections between the Baltic and Asia Pacific, we hope to give the region’s businesses a strong foundation for ongoing growth.”

The MUC comes as DHL begins service along its newest Asia-Europe multimodal route connecting Shenzhen to Minsk via rail. DHL holds similar agreements with national rail providers in Belarus, Chengdu, and other major hubs along China’s proposed “Belt and Road” trade routes.
“DHL has led the way in realizing the Belt and Road’s opportunities for numerous countries, including the Nordic states that its Shenzhen-Minsk route will directly service,” said President of LDz, Edvīns Bērziņš. “This new agreement will give Latvian businesses the flexibility and confidence to engage in freer trade with Chinese and Asian markets, as well as establish Latvia as a strategic gateway along the Belt and Road to other parts of Europe – a twofold boost to the country’s production and logistics industries.”

The MUC also includes provisions for ocean freight and intermodal shipping between Latvia, Scandinavia, and the UK and Ireland, as well as air and road freight connections to major cities across continental Europe.

(Source: LDz)

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Next meetings scheduled

  • 19-21 September 2017 UIC PoSE Meeting Rome
  • 19 September 2017 EMCA Paris
  • 19-20 September 2017 UIC Legal Group meeting Rome - Italy
  • 20-21 September 2017 RSF Steering Board UIC 203
  • 21-22 September 2017 Capacity4Rail final conference Madrid
  • 26 September 2017 Workshop on electronic rule books UIC HQ PARIS
  • 27-30 September 2017 UIMC scientific congress & General Assembly York - UK
  • 28 September 2017 First SAFER-LC Workshop on rail and road users requirements regarding safety of Level crossing Paris, UIC HQ
  • 28 September 2017 CDF Steering Committee Paris
  • 28 September 2017 Commercial and Distribution Steering Committee UIC Paris
  • 28 September 2017 Commercial and Distribution Fourm Steering Committee Paris
  • 28 September 2017 Commercial and Distribution Steering Committee Paris
  • 4-7 October 2017 UIC Asset Management Global Conference Paris UIC
  • 4 October 2017 APRA Web Conference Paris UIC HQ
  • 19-22 October 2017 Next Station Conference Madrid
  • 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
  • 26-27 October 2017 Expertise Development Platform Rome, Italy
  • 30-31 October 2017 16th UIC Asia-Pacific Management Committee Saint-Petersburg, Russia

UIC e-News Legal Editor: Marie Plaud
Coordination: Helen Slaney
Editorial team: UIC e-News Team, Paris 4 July 2017

  Contact the UIC e-News team