The second “Practicum” (training programme) on the implementation of high speed rail systems in the USA was held in Baltimore (Maryland, USA) from 3-5 May. This training course was organised by UIC and APTA and was aimed at the main players in the development of high speed in the USA.
The first “Practicum” was held in February 2010 in Washington, Chicago and Los Angeles, and attracted more than 600 participants.
Only one venue was selected for this second edition, but for the first time there were two training tiers: “Track 101” and “Track 201” (in line with the terminology used in the USA for university training courses). A total of 130 participants attended.
“Track 101” was based on the general programme used for the one week course, “Training on High Speed Systems”, organised annually at the UIC Headquarters (the next course, to be announced soon, will be held in the last week of September) and consisted of an analysis of all elements involved in any high speed system: technical, operational, commercial, managerial, economic and financial.
“Track 201” was created as a second level, principally aimed at those who had attended the “Practicum” last year. The programme focused on various strategic aspects of high speed development: stations, environment, standards and traffic forecasting. A wide variety of practical cases were also developed by participants.
Two sessions were common to both “Tracks”: an inaugural session, which included a general introduction to high speed and a discussion of the potential of classic lines; and a closing session, which included different approaches to the future of high speed (R&D).
Official speeches were given by the Secretary of Transportation of the State of Maryland, Mrs Beverley K. Swaim-Staley, the Deputy Federal Railroad Administrator, Mrs Karen Rae, the CEO of Amtrak, Joe Boardman, Amtrak’s Vice-president for High Speed, AL Engel and the Chairman of APTA, Bill Millar.
The UIC delegation was led by Iñaki Barrón, Director of Passengers and High Speed Department and Michel Leboeuf, Chairman of the UIC High Speed Committee.
A total of 27 speakers were in charge of the development of the programme. They were predominantly from countries with experience of high speed development: France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Japan, Taiwan, China and the USA.