Wednesday 13 May 2009
High Speed Rail

High Speed Plenary Committee meeting (Paris, 29 April)

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The last 29th April was held the spring meeting of the UIC’s High Speed Plenary Committee. This committee steers the activity on high speed and meets twice a year. The participation was quit numerous, with a total of 29 participants, including representatives from 18 countries and UIC’s staff.

The UIC Director General, Mr. Jean-Pierre Loubinoux, addressed a welcome speech, in which, after a quick explanation concerning recent events of UIC, he strength the importance of high speed transport for UIC members and consequently the importance of the activity carried at the organisation will be more and more significant.

During the meeting, discussions were developed on current and future studies, either those carried by working teams and those carried by external consultants. Among the first group, studies are being produced on “High speed under extreme climate conditions”, “Requirements for future high speed rolling stock” and the production of a “High speed handbook”, to be used by future UIC High Speed members.

Accordingly with the importance of several subjects proposed by members, studies have started on questions regarding technical, social and environmental issues: “Maintenance of high speed lines” (addressed to strategic planners of future projects), “High speed and the city”, “High speed and territory management” and “High speed and sustainable mobility”. The majority of all these projects will be finished by the end of 2009 and probably, their conclusions will be used in the future World Congress on High Speed.

Other activities, like statistics, Training Seminar, European-Asian technical workshop and the organisation of the next World Congress, were also discussed.

High Speed Rail Development

Other than possible impacts on transport flows, the global economic crisis stimulates governments to use new high speed projects as an instrument to develop new value add economic activity, with important social repercussions, in terms of increasing sustainable mobility and create employment.

At present situation shows that world high speed network will double the number of kilometres of lines and industry will also develop new advancements and productions. Regions as USA, South America and South Western Asia are preparing their strategy to launch new projects, in general including innovative financial formulas. The following figures are quit expressive (May 2009):
High speed in operation for 250 km/h or more: 10.703 km
High speed lines under construction: 13.505 km
High speed planned: 15.579 (not taking into account projects in USA and India)

During 2009, it’s expected the starting of commercial operation of 3.131 kilometers of new lines (430 has already been inaugurated).

Statistics concerning high speed traffic in Europe, which 2008 figures has been just published, shows a 10 % growing related with the precedent year. In 2008, there were transported 98,6 Billions of passengers km in high speed in Europe.


Training Seminar on High Speed Rail Systems

The next edition of the traditional UIC high speed training will be held in Paris, UIC Headquarters, from the 8th to 12 th June 2009 and a technical visit will be organised to Belgium and Thalys system.

This training seminar intends to review, during a full week of works and by more than 50 speakers from 15 countries, all the elements included in a high speed rail system. It’s addressed to deciders, planners and high level technicians, with the intention to give a detailed global overview of all those elements and to share experiences from high speed systems from all around the world.

The participation is mandatory to all the session and it’s not necessary to keep previous knowledge in railway technology or business.

For more information please contact Ignacio Barron de Angoiti:

Full information on the Training Seminar is available on UIC’s website:

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