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General presentation of Rail System Forum

JPEGThe Rail System Forum serves as the principle place where members debate UIC policy, prepare decisions in specialised sectors and undertake work associated with projects and activities of the infrastructure.

The position of the Forum within the overall Working Bodies of UIC is represented below:

In the domain of the Rail System, the Forum promotes technical cooperation between its members to improve the railway operations and services provided for their customers, whilst not interfering with their commercial and managerial autonomy. It also strives to maintain and develop the overall coherence of the railway system, notably at pan-European level, by consolidating its interoperability and strengthening its competitiveness. The global aims of the Rail System Forum are:

  • New potential for the railways
  • Efficiency and quality in production / operation
  • Availability of the means of production
  • Optimisation of the Life Cycle Cost (Maintenance, Renewals & Operations) The Forum meets its objectives by:
  • preparing proposals for bodies responsible for establishing standards and specifications, in the domain of Infrastructure;
  • acting as a technical platform for the Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Companies (CER CER Community of the European Railways ), the European Infrastructure Managers (EIM EIM European Rail Infrastructure Managers ) and other railway trade associations, in the domain of Infrastructure;
  • executing and managing projects and activities, including research and development and economic questions, as far as necessary for technical issues , in the field of infrastructure;
  • ensuring that members are provided with services in their common interest and that services in line with its purpose are provided against payment for third parties;
  • promoting exchanges of information and experience. The Forum also:
  • defines, together with the other Forums, the rules for the interface between the infrastructure managers and the operators, in particular in the areas of safety and operations;
  • sets up “Study Groups” to address particular subjects;
  • proposes projects and activities to be carried out in the interests of its members.
  • adapts projects carried out in Europe to the need of world-wide members

"RSF Outlook& Vision" - A Strategy Programme for the Rail System Forum

The railway system as a whole - mainly comprising infrastructure, rolling stock and operation - will be challenged by various factors in future. These challenges range from new and diverging society and changing customer needs to climate change among others like politics and are to be regarded as the basis for a to-do-list. The following main changes (mega trends) and challenges were considered:

  • Transport Demands incl. Global Value Chains, Growth of Mobility, Urbanisation,Limited Infrastructure
  • People incl. Change of demography, Individualisation,Change of size and weight of people,Change of life style / Image of the railways
  • Environment incl. Extreme Weather conditions, Exhaustions of fossil fuels, Increase of Energy prices, Greenhouse gases, reduced emission limits
  • Politics incl. European regulation, Limited public funding, Increasing number of operators, Liberalisation & Market Fragmentation

Ensuring the railway system being reliable, available, maintainable and safe for tomorrow’s customers, this programme provides a road-map for the first steps to take to develop the system until 2030. It is intended to provide a holistic view to these challenges seeking for case by case solutions by the introduction of performance indicators & evaluation criteria. The main purpose of the railway sector is to shift more passengers and goods from the other modes of transport to the rail sector and increase the overall attractiveness in terms of comfort, availability reliability, safety and security. The rail system as an entity aims at finding the right technical solutions in cooperation with other partners in this business to develop a strong market position for railways in future.

The strategic programme further aims at drawing the frame for potential standardisation in the railway sector by indicating future standardisation needs. It can be further used as input for setting-up R&D work programmes either within the RSF, with other UIC forums and platforms or in ERRAC ERRAC European Rail Research Advisory Council together with other partners from the railway business. (e.g. UNIFE UNIFE Union of European Railway Industries and its members)

Areas of action were elaborated and clustered towards several strategic goals. These areas of action are the first steps towards finding the responses to the upcoming challenges and are not considered to be complete. The following list shows headlines and a brief description of the intention only. Some areas of action can be allocated to more than one strategic goal.

The strategic view laid down in this document is to be regarded as evolving with the railway sector constantly changing and its customers’ and stakeholders changing needs and demands.

Next RSF Plenary Session 30th October 2012 in Paris

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  • Published 2010-07-09
  • Updated 2015-05-22