Wednesday 15 December 2021

During the final event of the Translate4Rail (T4R) project, UIC and RNE presented a language tool prototype solution to help overcome language barriers in international train operation

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Judit Sandor, Shift2Rail Joint Undertaking Project Officer for T4R, opened the event by highlighting that rail plays an important role, particularly when it comes to the modal shift. “We know that multiple languages present a key challenge and that this requires attention. We must make sure that trains running between countries can be operated safely and efficiently.

Sandra Gehenot, UIC Project Coordinator, added: “The Rail Freight Forward coalition of railway undertakings is committed to driving modal shift to help Europe become the first carbon-neutral continent. Seamless international operations are key, as they are at the heart of freight. We need to remove complexity; driving a train should be as easy as driving a truck. T4R contributes to this. Railway undertakings and infrastructure managers have worked on this solution to overcome these barriers.

Peter Šišolák, from project partner RailNetEurope (RNE), explained: “The project opened a completely new area for the railway sector. Foundations were laid in the Language Programme sector by the RNE and UIC Xborder project. I consider the T4R project to be a key milestone in operational communication for international train running. The project also contributes to the EU strategy in support of opening the market for international train operation.”

The final event presented various elements, including the tool development, safety aspects, preparations and pilots.

The development of the tool proceeded via an iterative process from objectives and benchmark to functional and technical specifications and the tender procedure. The laboratory and field phases were also conducted via an iterative development process between testers and developers, which started with the prepared prototype (version of the LT), continued through laboratory and field phases according to the defined methodology, summarising outputs and recommendations from testing, and concluded with the next LT enhancement performed by the tool developer, as explained by Juraj Maliaček (RNE).

Regarding the Common Safety Method (CSM), Karen Davies, Project Officer from ERA, presented the risk assessment principles. She explained the responsibilities involved in carrying out risk assessment, process and safety justification. The CSM needs to start early in the project and continue throughout, and CSM activities should be integrated into routine project engineering activities.

Parinaz Bazeghi, Project Manager at UIC, explained how the Translate4Rail project dealt with safety. Safety is paramount and was considered carefully during the whole process, from the design phase up to the pilots. Three safety workshops were held as part of the project and these ensured that the project safety remained at the same level as today.

The basic requirements, organisational challenges, staff training and technical aspects of the pilots were elaborated by pilot managers from different partners on both sides of the Austrian and Italian border. “Challenges were addressed with enthusiasm, good teamwork and an open mindset for new ideas,” explained Simona Garbuglia, Pilot Manager at RFI.

Simona Garbuglia further explained that the list of Predefined Messages (PDM) was enhanced by bilingual experts and translations in full compliance with national rules. The technical assistance provided and the preparation of the tool for field testing regarding its connection to the GSM-R network were presented by Andrea Politanò, the GSM-R expert at RFI.

In a video message, Andrea Marco Penso, Pilot Manager from DBC, presented aspects of the organisation between RUs and IMs regarding the field test preparations, as well as the measures considered to ensure safe communication and train running on the Italian and Austrian network sections.

Albert Kaltenbrunner, Pilot Manager from ÖBB Infra, summarised the improvements achieved on the language tool and database by comparing the results of both pilots organised as part of the T4R project.

Diego Andreazza, driver at LOKOMOTION, and Ivan Collovizza and Francesco Gasparini, traffic controllers from RFI, agreed that PDMs can help drivers and signallers. These PDMs provide confidence, precision and reduced stress for signallers.

Regarding ergonomics, Dieter Pongratz, Pilot Manager from Rail Cargo Group, explained which tests were performed and the outcomes. As part of the ergonomic tests, several positions in the cab of the interoperable locomotive in which the train driver tested the language tool were assessed.

Translate4Rail is responding to a business need. The objectives were met. The project delivered key learnings and insights, which provide an indication as to the next steps and constitute the final conclusions by Judit Sandor and Sandra Gehenot.

We would like to thank all those who supported the T4R project and significantly contributed to meet the project goals.

This project has received funding from the Shift2Rail Joint Undertaking (JU) under grant agreement No 881779. The JU receives support from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme and the Shift2Rail JU members other than the Union.

For further information please contact:
UIC: Sandra Géhénot, UIC Freight Director

Parinaz Bazeghi , Digital Project Manager

Philip Van Den Bosch, Senior Freight Advisor

RNE: Peter Šišolák, Head of TM and TPM

Juraj Maliaček, Traffic Management Manager

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