Thursday 16 December 2021

4th Harmotrack project meeting held on 2 and 3 December at UIC and SNCF sites

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On 2 and 3 December 2021, the 4th UIC Harmotrack project meeting was held at the UIC Headquarters and online. The event was attended by 207 international experts, with more than 40 experts physically present, from more than 100 companies and research institutions from across the globe. Held biannually, the Harmotrack project plenary meeting aims to present the progress and next steps of the technical activities of the different sub-working groups within the project.

Aligned with UIC’s mission, the Harmotrack project aims to respond to rail transport challenges and to propose new ways to improve the performance of the rail system using dynamic measurements for track monitoring. The project includes members from all parts of the world to harmonise best practices in the sector and develop fruitful international cooperation.

The two-day event was opened by Danilo Sorrentino, Head of Vehicle-Track Interaction Section at SNCF Réseau, who highlighted the goals of the Harmotrack project and welcomed all the participants and guests to the meeting.

This was followed by a presentation by Christian Chavanel, Director of the Rail System Department (UIC), on the UIC 2030 vision of rail, “Design a better future”, which aims to transform cities and connect communities while promoting intramodality and seamless connections, and a presentation by David Villalmanzo Resusta, Chairman of the Train-Track Interaction Sector (UIC), who underlined the importance of holistic approaches to optimise the operational, economic and environmental efficiency of the railway system.

The first day of the plenary meeting was dedicated to roundtable discussions and technical presentations from the different sub-working groups in the Harmotrack project.

The roundtable discussions were filled with interesting dialogues from our invited international journalists and high-level speakers. The roundtable discussions focused on railway maintenance and the digitalisation and harmonisation of global practices related to the goal of the Harmotrack project.

In the first roundtable discussion, the panel of speakers included Marco Gallini (Head of the Mobile Diagnostics and Maintenance Vehicles Department, RFI), Atsushi Furukawa (Executive Director, RTRI) and Albert Wahba (Programme Leader, National Research Council Canada). The discussions focused on the topic of “Railway maintenance and predictive maintenance” and were moderated by David Briginshaw (International Railway Journal).

The second roundtable on discussion focused on “The importance of railway digitalisation and data analysis of autonomous systems”. The roundtable discussion was moderated by Christian Chavanel and included contributions from Emmanuel Cox (Digital Transformation Officer, SNCF Réseau), Sébastien Denis (Programme Manager, Shift2Rail) and Gerald Schinagl (Innovation Manager, ÖBB).

The third roundtable discussion tackled the topic of “Harmonisation of global practices: the key to foster railway sector development.” This was moderated by Philippa Dean (Railways Africa Magazine) and featured Patrizia Gatti Gregori (Top Executive Director of Sustainable Development, KEOLIS), Andrea Giuricin (CEO, TRA Consulting) and Eneida Elezi (Foreign Affairs responsible Officer, Albanian Railways S.A. and Ministry of Infrastructure and Energy) as guest speakers.

The afternoon session was devoted to presentations from the sub-working group leaders on the progress of their respective sub-working groups. Currently there are eight sub-working groups leading the technical activities of the project.

  • SWG1-A: Study of correlations between forces and accelerations – Group leader Fatih Ünlü (SBB CFF FFS, Switzerland);
  • SWG1-B Alpha: Study of filters – Group leader Fulvio Cianci (RFI, Italy);
  • SWG1-B Beta 1: Study of most dangerous combination of track geometry defects using multi-body simulation – Group leaders Ali Tajaddini (FRA, USA), Raphael Damasceno Marotta (VLI Logística, Brazil) and Brian Marquis (VOLPE, USA);
  • SWG1-B Beta 2: Study of correlation between track geometry and accelerations using statistical analysis – Group leaders: Emily Greve and David Stolnis (Amtrak, USA) and Danilo Sorrentino and Florian Latestere (SNCF Réseau, France);
  • SWG1-B Beta 3: Detection of track geometry defects using machine learning techniques – Group leaders Alfonso Panunzio (RATP, France) and Siying Chen (SNCF Réseau, France);
  • SWG1-B Gamma: Study of occurrences and risk analysis, transferring thresholds from reference vehicles to different vehicle and speeds – Group leaders Nicolas Lestoille (SNCF Réseau, France) and Maciej Pałyga (PKP PLK S.A., Poland);
  • SWG2: Study of optimised use of axle box accelerations – Group leaders Stanislaw Banaszak (SBB CFF FFS, Switzerland) and Oliver Vo Van (SNCF, France);
  • SWG3: Study of use of innovative and cheap systems – Group leader Franck Dadié (SNCF Réseau, France).

The afternoon session also included a discussion on the promotion of the Harmotrack project to include more academic institutions in the project as well as the possibility of participating in international joint calls for funding to sustain the success of the project. The project leader, Danilo Sorrentino (SNCF Réseau), presented the official benchmark synthesis on the uses of acceleration measurements by each member of the Harmotrack project. The Non-Disclosure Agreement was presented by Charafa Hajjany (UIC), and the Harmotrack project plan was presented by Jessa Mae Llabres (SNCF Réseau). The first day was closed by Mercedes Gutierrez Ferrandiz, Head of Asset Management, Infrastructure and Interfaces with Rolling Stock (UIC).

On the second day of the plenary meeting, parallel technical activities were held at various SNCF facilities with the participation of over 30 international railway experts. The technical visits were facilitated thanks to the assistance of Elodie Arlaud (SNCF Réseau), Jolan Lottin (SNCF Réseau), Thi Mac Lan Nguyen-Tajan (SNCF Voyageurs) and Philippe Pouligny (SNCF Réseau).

Three technical visits were held at the Track Test Centre (Centre d’Essais Voie – CEV), the Metallurgic Expert Laboratory (Laboratoire d’Expertises Métallurgiques – LEM) in Saint-Ouen, and the Railway Test Agency (Agence d’Essai Ferroviaire – AEF) in Vitry-sur-Seine.

During the technical visits, experts learned about the operations of the SNCF facilities. The CEV specialises in testing track components, including sleepers, fastening systems, under-sleeper pads and under-ballast mats. The LEM specialises in tests and expert assessments on metallurgical track components, in particular rail and its welding processes. The AEF approves railway equipment and develops tools for its clients.

For further information about the project, please contact Danilo Sorrentino (Head of Vehicle-Track Interaction Section at SNCF Réseau) at

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