United Nations climate change conference (COP16) in Cancun, Mexico:

UIC, UNEP and ITPS showcase the role of the rail sector as part of the solution to climate change

Following last year’s successful Train to Copenhagen communications campaign – jointly organised by UIC, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and WWF, for the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC COP15) last December – the role of rail as part of the solution to climate change will be highlighted at this year’s climate change conference when the parties meet for COP16, from 29 November to 10 December, in Cancun, Mexico.

For COP16, UIC and UNEP are collaborating with the Institution for Transport Policy Studies (ITPS), and will be organising on 1 December (Cancun Messe, 20:15-21:45): a shared side event: “Keeping climate solutions on track – the role of partnerships, good practice and rail”.

The event will present leading climate neutral practice and solutions scaled to the size of the transport challenge: rail’s emissions reduction potential including the carbon footprint of high speed, aid schemes for rail infrastructure in developing countries and rail’s approach to adaptation; carbon footprint reduction initiatives in the logistics and transport sector; and other solutions in different areas of transport (air, road, ship, etc.).

Nick Nuttall, UNEP Spokesperson/Head of Media will moderate the debate session, which will include Yuki Tanaka, official of the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, Holger Dalkmann, Programme Manager for Climate Change and Sustainable Transport (TRL) and Svein Tveitdal, Director of Climate2020 and Environmental Ambassador
to the city of Arendal.

UIC and UNEP will also have a joint exhibition stand at the official COP16 venue, which will be highlighting the UIC Declaration on Sustainable Mobility & Transport, the UIC project Adapting Rail Infrastructure to Climate Change (ARISCC), the online eco-comparison tools EcoTransIT and EcoPassenger, as well as an updated version of the Global Rail Position Paper on Climate Change, which provides an overview of the emissions reductions potential
and commitment from the railways. UNEP will be showcasing climate success stories in the transport sector, including Jakarta’s innovative bus rapid transit system and the Global Fuel Economy Initiative – clean tech in action.

ITPS will also have an exhibition stand at the official COP16 venue, reporting on the global warming research project – Study of Transport System in a Low Carbon Society (STL).
UNEP will also have a separate exhibition stand which will be displaying a range of publications and information available in e-format.

For more information please contact Margrethe Sagevik: sagevik@uic.org

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Proposal for guidelines to assess the environmental impact of railway infrastructure successfully introduced

The InfraGuidER EU FP7 coordinated action held its dissemination milestone event today in the shape of the Final Conference at the “Arts and Sciences Academy” in Brussels.

As the designated organisation in charge of the InfraGuidER consortium’s dissemination activity, UIC succeeded in bringing together a diverse range of participants from Europe and beyond (e.g. the European Commission, procurement directors, senior purchasers, maintenance process managers, R&D specialists, environmental advisors, etc.). The conference offered an opportunity to gain an interesting one-day insight into this European railway infrastructure EU FP7 coordinated action, presenting the achievements on railway network asset management from an environmental sustainability viewpoint.

For two years, the work coordinated by NITEL, the Italian university pool for Transport & Logistics, has involved exchanging views and know-how and implementing a solution tool-box ranging from solid transparent methodology for innovative eco-procurement processes, caveats and guidelines for the introduction/enhancement of environmental management schemes (based on ISO14000 series) for railway infrastructure managers, to material accounting and decision support expertise. Overall they represent environmental specifications for railway infrastructure, including a recommended set of indicators and some reference requirement values.

The InfraGuidER project, with the involvement of Central, North and Eastern European infrastructure managers, academia and the supply industry, has led to a mature ambitious proposal for improving ‘business as usual’ tendering processes by integrating it with new eco-procurement criteria. One of the main outcomes is that policy priorities should be placed in the following order: “Prevent and limit”, followed by “Management and control” and finally “Remediation”. This sequence can be assumed considering that the respective order of magnitude cost increases tenfold from the first to the last. The challenge remains to broadly adopt such policy whilst maintaining economic and social activity.

New criteria were designed in the proposed network materials procurement methodology, aiming at minimising material life cycle-related risks such as the negative impact of climate change, natural resources depletion and hazardous substances handling. Is it time to rethink policy and processes, phase-out selected materials, set up environmental management scheme reviews, use the best available technologies, maintain better collaborative links with the supply industry, promote R&D and compound solution patterns? Simple business changes could constitute low hanging fruits.
The partners have created an up-to-date tool-box with technical and managerial recommendations which will be delivered in full and made publicly available at: www.infraguider.eu by January 2011.

InfraGuidER partners also benefited along the way from some inspiring external contributors as the new procurement scheme set up by the Dutch infrastructure manager ProRail – “CO2 performance ladder” – which is being implemented by tender practitioners, applying award advantages to virtuous suppliers and the Norwegian Infrastructure Manager’s (JBV) valuable business experience in procurement.

A dynamic and inclusive approach in tackling issues has enabled the InfraGuidER partners to successfully deliver a tool-box for railway infrastructure managers, supporting them in decision-making, and keeping the railway sector green, strong and competitive.
The InfraGuidER project constitutes a stimulus for further European harmonisation in railway infrastructure material procurement and management, enhancing rail’s current environmental performance.

For more information please contact Paolo Contestabile: contestabile@uic.org

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Railenergy – Working the switches for an energy efficient future

Railenergy, the collaborative European rail research project on energy efficiency, concludes with the Final Conference.

On 25 November the Royal Flemish Academy provided an excellent framework for the Railenergy Final Conference, bringing together more than 130 participants. The Railenergy coordinator, Judit Sandor (UNIFE), and her UIC counterpart Enno Wiebe, succeeded in inviting this broad audience comprising representatives from the European Commission, all major European train operating companies, infrastructure managers as well as the European rail manufacturers.

Today, after four years of collaborative rail research, 27 European partners are delivering a large number of recommendations and a catalogue of technologies for a more energy-efficient railway sector. Railenergy promises to help save 6% of the total energy consumption in the sector – a figure that does not seem high at first glance, but in concrete terms 6% of a big European railway operator’s annual energy bill amounts to nearly 6,000,000 Euros. Huge saving potentials are to be exploited and Railenergy now delivers the key.

When the project was launched, the energy topic was not a priority on the political agenda. The consortium had a visionary idea of holistically improving the energy efficiency of the railway system. They aimed to maintain the sector’s competitive advantages in relation to the other modes of transport and to ensure efficient and cost-effective movement of mass by reducing the specific energy in operation. The consortium therefore published a catalogue of energy saving methods and technologies including, among others, energy efficient driving and reversible direct current substations.

UNIFE’s General Manager Eric Fontanel was proud to highlight the first joint UIC/UNIFE Technical Recommendation on “Specification and verification of energy consumption for railway rolling stock” as one of the major outcomes of the Railenergy project. This voluntary standard has enabled UIC and UNIFE to add a new brick to the edifice of European standardisation and provide operators and manufacturers with a common language in the procurement process.

Emilio Maestrini, UIC Rail System Department Director and acknowledged former director of Trenitalia’s Rolling Stock department, presented the Railenergy calculator which supports decision-makers in assessing the various energy efficiency strategies. This tool, integrating the knowledge gathered by the entire railway community within Railenergy, is available publicly at: www.railenergy.eu

A strong message towards the political sector was delivered – energy efficiency potentials need to be well examined and must be fully exploited. Railenergy is a key milestone in achieving a globally energy-efficient railway system. During the conference operators and manufacturers agreed that the tasks of exploiting energy saving potentials must be incorporated into business from the early stage of designing rolling stock via procurement to operation and retrofitting the fleet. Energy prices will not stop increasing in the future and the railway sector will carry on with its joint efforts to become more efficient in order to stay competitive and to continuously improve its sustainability performance.

For more information please contact Enno Wiebe: wiebe@uic.org

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News from UIC members

Russia/Finland: Russian and Finnish railways agree to expand cooperation

On 23 November in Moscow, Russian Railways’ Vice-President Vadim Morozov and Mikael Aro, President of the Finnish railway company VR Group Ltd, signed a memorandum of intent on cooperation between the two companies in international container freight services.

The parties intend to create and offer the international transport market a competitive transport product, carrying cargo in container trains between Russia and Finland. Russian Railways and VR Group Ltd intend to make preparations for setting technical, technological and tariff terms for services on the Helsinki – Moscow route.

The main goal of the companies’ cooperation is to attract additional freight flows to railway transport, develop competitive market proposals in rail transport and logistics, increase the share of rail on the freight transport market, and also to reduce the environmental impact of container freight, while ensuring maximum safety.

The document was signed during the annual conference on Russian-Finnish direct rail services, held over the past few days in Moscow.

The Russian Railways Vice-President said the Russian and Finnish rail networks have all the necessary conditions for effective joint work. These include large reserves of line throughput capacity, border crossings, an up-to-date regulatory and legal framework, new capacity for transporting cars such as the Mikhnevo terminal, and joint ventures engaged in goods transport that can offer clients a full range of services and through rates. The companies also benefit from favourable tariffs – with the exceptional terms for container transport, coal, petrochemicals, and a range of other cargo set to remain in place in 2011.

“The growth of trade-economic relations between Russia and Finland during 2010 was reflected in the volumes of freight. In the first 10 months of this year they increased by 14%”, said Vadim Morozov.

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News from UIC members

Switzerland: new head of SBB Passenger Division

Earlier this week, SBB’s Board of Directors appointed Jeannine Pilloud as Head of the Passenger Division and member of SBB’s management board. Mrs Pilloud, 46, has to date been Senior Vice-President at an international telecommunications company. She will begin her new role at SBB during the first half of 2011 with Urs Schlegel continuing to serve as Head of the Passenger Division in the interim. The Passenger Division has some 910,000 customers on board its trains every day. It employs around 12,000 staff and is a major factor in SBB’s image.

(Source: CFF)

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Italy: Frecciarossa delivers wireless broadband

Following an agreement with the Italian infrastructure manager RFI and the telecommunications operator Telecom Italia, no fewer than 60 Italian high speed trainsets are to be equipped with Wi-Fi access. The move would follow that of Thalys which has already fitted its trains with Wi-Fi. More than 60 coaches will be fitted with wireless broadband, enabling passengers to check their E-mails or make telephone calls during the journey. The first coaches will start delivering this service from 12 December, revealed Mauro Moretti, CEO of the Italian railway group FS, during a showcase journey from Milan to Bologna.

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News from UIC members

Thalys launches MobileTicketing

Railway operator Thalys is to launch a new paperless service: MobileTicketing. Thanks to this service, Thalys customers will be able to show ticket inspectors their smartphones, on which their reservation will be displayed as a barcode, announced Thalys on Thursday.

“Since a series of tests will be starting early next year with a view to launching the service in mid-2011, we wish to find the best technical application for going totally paperless, to transform this service into a daily reality for our customers”, explained Laurent Lenoir, Thalys’ Head of Systems.

In practical terms, the passenger’s identifier will take the shape of a 2D barcode which will appear on the telephone screen and contain the full details of the journey (train number, passenger’s full name, times, etc.). Passengers will show their “ticket” to the train manager who will then scan it.

Currently, 20% of Thalys customers travel using the “Ticketless” service. The ticket consists of an E-mail which is presented to the ticket inspector or inserted into the Thalys TheCard or Navigo pass.

The MobileTicketing pilot phase due to start during the first quarter of 2011 aims to test the service on 20 or so customers, all carrying various brands of smartphone and recruited online in advance between 18 November and 15 January 2011 on www.thalys.com

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International Delegate Conference, (Fort Lauderdale, USA, 13 November 2010). Making the Intermodal Connection, the Role of Terminals

A conference on matters of intermodal terminal design as well as operations and information technologies, placed in a global perspective with a focus on intermodal operations, was organised in Fort Lauderdale on 13 November.

The conference took place the day before the start of the annual Expo of the Intermodal Association of North America (IANA) and was organised by UIC, IANA, International Container Bureau (BIC), Coordinating Council on Transsiberian Transportation (CCTT), Eno Transportation Foundation, European Intermodal Association (EIA), Lithuanian Technology Platform of Intermodal Transport (LITTP), and the National Industrial Transportation League (NITL).
About a hundred participants from several continents attended the conference and UIC was represented by Eric Peetermans, Chairman of the UIC Combined Transport Group. He also introduced and moderated the conference module on Equipment Identification and Capacity Management.

Klaus Ebeling, Secretary General of EIA, and Joni Casey, President and CEO of IANA, introduced the opening session. Eric Peetermans shared the conclusion and closing remarks of the conference with Ted Prince, CEO of T. Prince and Associates LLC.

From the European side, Erich Staake, CEO of Duisport, Gang Chen from the Centre for Maritime Research of the University of Southern Denmark, Per Rosengren from Cargotec Corporation, Klaus Woeste, Product Manager for Gottwald Technology, Uwe Sondermann from KombiConsult, Frank Nachbar, Director of Container Engineering for Hapag-Lloyd, Gennady Bessonov, Secretary General of CCCT, Algirdas Sakalys, President of the East-West Transport Corridor, and Pietro Spirito, Managing Director of Interporto Bologna, illustrated several relevant topics. Michel Hennemand, President of BIC, introduced and moderated the module on the interaction with the network.

Distinguished speakers and moderators from other continents were Barry Michaels, Vice-President of Intermodal Operations for Union Pacific, Ronaldo Hultmann, Director of the Brazilian Container Chamber, Edward McQuillan, Senior Solutions Consultant for RMI, Wilby Whitt, President of CSX Intermodal Terminals, Nathaniel Seeds, Vice-President of Operations for the Americas Region for APL, Tom Kelly, Director of Systems Hub Operations/Technology for BNSF Railway, and Robert Huffmann, Vice-President of Intermodal Operations for Norfolk Southern Corporation.

The topics discussed during the conference were about:

  • How intermodal transportation participants handle the exchange of equipment, freight – and ultimately responsibility – while maximising operational efficiency and ensuring full regulatory compliance,
  • The terminal’s product: lift hardware, computer software, terminal design, operating processes and change management,
  • The scope and success of regulatory compliance and operational efficiency on the development of sophisticated equipment identification methodologies,
  • How terminals manage capacity and offer best practices for handling multiple products, customers and modes within a single facility,
  • Finally, the role of the terminal as a node within an overall global transportation network and how the success of each is dependent upon efficient and reliable transfers.

All the presentations made at the conference can be found on and downloaded from the UIC Extranet.

In their closing remarks and wrapping up of the conference, Ted Prince and Eric Peetermans underlined the particular nature of Intermodal Transport and in particular the operations of the terminals, where cooperation between all the actors is at a premium. They noted that in the present context of a rapid traffic rebound and of strong long-term growth perspectives for intermodal where demand will most likely increase faster than capacity, the capacity issues – on the network, in the terminals and of rolling stock availability – come to the forefront again.

They concluded that one of the aims of the conference had been to share experiences and insights on how to increase terminal capacity and improve capacity use and their impact on the network. The conference succeeded in this regard: all the speakers communicated interesting views from different perspectives and contributed to developing a shared comprehension of the subject.

It will be decided how and under what format this conference will be repeated in the future.

For more information please contact Eric Peetermans: eric.peetermans@b-holding.be

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UIC announces the 8th IRRB meeting on 29 November 2010, Paris

In order to properly tackle the recent changes in the railway environment, it is necessary for railways to develop innovative technologies, taking customer focus as their starting point.

The 7th IRRB meeting in St Petersburg on 5 July 2010 discussed how to revitalise its activities and reached an agreement on the new IRRB Charter which describes the future activities of IRRB. IRRB now needs to follow the principles set out in this new charter and endeavour to become one of the official UIC working bodies.

At the 8th IRRB meeting, the Terms of Reference (ToR) and the nomination of a new IRRB Chairperson will be discussed as well as the implementation of three tasks described in the new IRRB Charter: (1) Exchange of information on railway research and development (2) Promotion of standardisation and (3) Worldwide promotion of UIC leaflets. IRRB’s Strategic Paper including future cooperation between IRRB and WCRR (World Congress on Railway Research) will also be an important topic on the agenda.

The UIC will report on the outcome of this meeting in the next issue of UIC eNews.

UIC invites all members to take a keen interest in IRRB developments and activities which will play a highly important role for the future of the railways around the world.

For more information please contact Dennis Schut: schut@uic.org or Koichiro Suzuki: suzuki@uic.org

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EURAXLES – Guaranteeing Safety through Innovative Axle Design and Maintenance

EURAXLES, an EU-funded project under the FP7 programme, unites 23 key rail players in a far reaching project that aims to bring the risk of axle failure in rail transport to a minimum, thereby further improving the safe operation of the European interoperable railway system.

In what will be a 3-year R&D project coordinated by UNIFE, the EURAXLES Project celebrated its official launch on 22 November 2010 in Brussels. Realising the necessity of finding an inclusive solution to a European problem, the project brings together the major players in the entire rail sector, including manufacturers, operators, suppliers, and academics. With a potential 3.5 million axles in use today in Europe, the project advocates an innovative and global approach that may be adopted in order to better mitigate the risk of axle failure, a potential threat to the safety of rail.

“This project is one of the major topics on the research agenda in railway technology throughout Europe,” says EURAXLES chairman and CEO of GHH Valdunes Group, Dr Raimund Abele. The project’s main objects are to:

  • Agree on a European level on an innovative axle design approach with an enhanced risk analysis method
  • Develop improved axle protection against corrosion and improved adhesion of coatings Innovative and sustainable coatings
  • Evaluate and improve non-destructive testing inspection methods
  • Optimise life Cycle Cost (LCC) of the wheelset system

With the achievement of its objectives, EURAXLES will allow more precise decisions to be made on axle maintenance and critical safety service intervals. This will have a positive impact on the environment and on the competitiveness of European Industries. According to the European Rail Research Advisory Council ERRAC, “The safety of European Railways is of prime importance not just in terms of the loss of life when a major rail accident occurs, but also in terms of the operation cost of degraded mode after accidents and incidents even when no one is injured which undermines the business case for railways.” The EURAXLES objectives extend to both freight and passenger trains so that customers of European passenger and freight operators will finally benefit from the most reliable and safe mode of transport.

The EURAXLES consortium comprises the main actors in the rail sector who will lay down the knowledge foundations necessary to enable the development of innovative, safe solutions for railway wheelsets with improved reliability and in a cost-effective way. The partners all have a strong desire to promote railway transportation as the safest and most economically competitive land transport mode and the EURAXLES project will help them to further minimise the risk of axle failure.

The project is coordinated by UNIFE and led by a steering committee. In addition to the chairman Dr Raimund Abele (Valdunes) and vice-chairman Dr J. Engelmann (DB AG), whose nomination was proposed by the UIC Rail Systems Department, the steering committee comprises the “7 Work Package leaders”.

Next meetings:

  • EURAXLES Steering Committee: 10 May 2011
  • EURAXLES General Assembly: 8 November 2011

For more information on the EURAXLES project, visit: www.euraxles.eu or contact Hans-Jürgen Geissler, Senior Advisor for Rolling Stock: geissler@uic.org

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UIC calendar

UIC e-News Legal Editor: Marie Plaud-Lombard
Coordination: Helen Slaney
Editorial team: UIC e-News Team, Paris 25 November 2010

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