Wednesday 15 December 2021

Intercity and High-Speed Committee Plenary Session held in hybrid format on 8 December 2021

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The Intercity and High-Speed Committee Plenary Session, part of the UIC Global Passenger Forum, was held on 8 December 2021 at UIC headquarters and online, and was attended by around 25 participants.

HUO Baoshi, Chair of the ICHSC, and Philippe Lorand, Senior Advisor for High-Speed Rail, welcomed the participants and gave them the opportunity to introduce themselves round the table.

Following the approval of the minutes from the previous meeting in September, UIC Passenger Director Marc Guigon gave a warm welcome to the meeting and some general information about previous meetings, progress on the work concerning the New Normal, information regarding mandates within the Global Passenger Forum, the GFP strategic programme, and dates of important meetings for 2022.

Representing SAR (Saudi Railways), which is invited to be a member of the committee, Ashrf Al Jabri, Passenger Planning and Technical Director, gave a keynote speech on his company’s organisation, network and development strategy, as well as its vision and mission, including ongoing projects under the SAR master plan.

Regarding the 2022 UIC World Congress on High-Speed Rail, HUO Baoshi and Marc Guigon provided an update on the preparation of the event, saying that the date and location still have to be confirmed for next year. Due to the pandemic, the congress had to be postponed, but a final decision is planned to be taken by the end of the month in order to allow enough time to organise the event.

Kenta Takashina, Senior Passenger Advisor, gave an update on the status of the UIC Atlas, showing the roadmap towards the next edition, which is scheduled to be finalised by next spring. Each year UIC produces an atlas providing an overview of high-speed lines in the world: those in commercial operation, under construction, currently under development, and planned in the medium or long-term. The UIC High-Speed Rail Atlas is a unique document that provides very detailed information about all high-speed lines around the world, supplied and reviewed by UIC members.

A series of presentations were then made on the progress of funded projects, including:

  • Door-to-Door and Autonomous Vehicles (presented by Michel Leboeuf, UIC High-Speed Consultant)
  • Guidelines on operational efficiency of high-speed rail, (presented by Ekaterina Kozyreva, RZD)
  • Air + HSR, (presented by Michel Leboeuf)
  • Artificial Intelligence (presented by Michel Leboeuf)
  • Transport Regulation Framework (presented by Juan Jose Montero Pascual, European University Institute)

Philippe Lorand gave an update on the outcome of the campaign for the expression of interests shared for the four projects proposed by the ICHS Committee, namely Customer Experience, Rolling Stock Possession Cost, HSR Affordability and New Normal AUHSR. He also reminded the meeting of the call for the new opt-in campaign.

Regarding the New Normal, Philippe Lorand added that the White Paper, developed together with consultancy firm Roland Berger and containing recommendations and predictions for the post-Covid era, was finalised in September. This work will be continued in the shape of a study called “How to boost passenger preference for rail” which will focus on how to restore passenger confidence in rail travel. Members will be interviewed through a questionnaire and interviews, the results of which will be published by next summer. Members are encouraged to participate in these interviews if they can.

With regard to the work within the AUHSR (Alliance of Universities for High-Speed Rail), updates were given on the projects concerning the New Normal, Marginal costs and value of time, and HSR productivity, the last two being three-year research projects.
In addition, feedback was given by Prof. Francesca Pagliara of the University of Naples, Italy, on the 1st International workshop on High-Speed Rail socio economic impacts held in September, together with a proposal for future editions of workshop. The second edition is planned to be held online from 13 – 14 September 2022.

On IRS high-speed work development, Eduardo Romo, one of the two Co-Chairs of the High-Speed IRS Working Group, presented a report on the progress achieved and the roadmap, giving a summary of the IRS working group meetings including IRS production status and planning between 2020 and 2021.

Philippe Lorand gave feedback from the second working group meeting on Night Trains, announcing that next meeting will be held in February 2022. A questionnaire has been sent out to members to establish the main priority areas to be addressed during these meetings and an online atlas with best practice examples and obstacles for operators is planned to be developed.

In conclusion, Chairman HUO Baoshi thanked the participants for their attendance and gave special thanks to Philippe Lorand for the dedicated preparation to ensure a smooth meeting. He added that despite the pandemic, progress had still been made this year due to the joint effort and commitment of the group and he hoped that this dedication would help everyone to move forward in the future in order to make a greater contribution for UIC’s members.

The next meeting is planned to be held in March 2022 in Philadelphia. It is yet to be confirmed whether the format of the meeting will be physical or hybrid.

More information on the New Normal White Paper:

For further information please contact Philippe Lorand, Senior Advisor for High-Speed Rail:

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