The 9th Training Session on Railway Safety and Security took place on 7-18 June, organised by ONCF and UIC Africa.
The two-week training sessions, held in Rabat on a bi-annual basis since 2013, have been held online since the beginning of 2020 due to the pandemic. Organising such sessions online has opened up opportunities for participation to greater numbers of trainees from different countries. The June session brought together 85 participants from 15 countries in North and Sub-Saharan Africa. Daily 3½-hour sessions were led by the ONCF and UIC experts on the topics of safety and security over a two-week period.
Two sessions were organised by the UIC experts. Frédéric Hénon, UIC Head of Operations and Safety, moderated a session on 17 June around the topic “Towards a railway safety culture”. He presented UIC’s safety activities, key topics for 2021-2023, IRSs, safety culture pillars, risk-based management and the European work programme for 2022.
A session by the UIC Security Division, led by Marie-Hélène Bonneau and with the participation of Grigore Havarneanu and Laura Petersen, focused on:
- the UIC Covid-19 Taskforce and the impact of the pandemic on railway security, emphasising key security issues during the pandemic and enhanced cooperation,
- RESTRAIL toolbox– good practice for suicide prevention, and SAFER-C toolbox to increase safety at level crossings, focusing on general and specific guidance and the benefits of the relevant toolboxes (http://www.restrail.eu/toolbox/ and https://toolbox.safer-lc.eu/),
- presentation of the UIC Security Hub: a worldwide platform for railway experts, with a focus on the UIC Security Platform and access to the hub (at https://railsecurityhub.org/).
Held on 18 June, the closing ceremony was opened by ONCF DGA Mohamed Smouni, who stressed the importance of the biannual training sessions on safety and track maintenance organised since 2013. Starting in 2021, two additional training sessions have been added to regular training cycles, including a session on rolling stock maintenance, bringing the organisers closer to achieving their objective of establishing a Railway Academy in 2025.
Thierry Béra, UIC Coordinator, congratulated the organisers on the depth of the sessions and the participants on making them a real success. He gave a presentation of UIC, explaining its objectives and focus areas, as well as the International Railway Solutions IRS).