As announced, the kick-off meeting of the Standardisation Platform (SP) was held on 5 March at UIC Headquarters and was attended by the relevant Asian and European Members.
Mr Jean-Pierre Loubinoux, UIC Director General, reminded participants that the creation of this Platform was decided and confirmed at the last two General Assemblies in 2012 and underlined that it is of great importance as a strategic tool to establish a strong role for UIC in the current standardisation framework of the railway domain.
The Standardisation Platform stems from the successful experience of the Standardisation Working Group (SWG) in order to propose, coordinate and implement the standardisation strategy inside and outside UIC. To this end, the Platform is required to define and develop specific clusters of standards essential to specify service applications such as high speed traffic and freight corridors.
It was also clear that the technical development of UIC Leaflets and the different normative documents (drafting, revision and certification) will continue to come under the responsibility of the different Forums for which the UIC proprietary EUTREQ platform (process and databank containing all the requirements of UIC Leaflets) will be used. He also confirmed Mr Stefano Guidi, former spokesperson of the SWG, as Chairman of the SP, while Mr Gianfranco Cau is the Secretary.
After an introduction on the updating of UIC leaflets, originating from work carried out by the SWG, Mr Guidi presented a report on the Standardisation Platform Mission & Strategy in which he stated that one of the main points in the agenda is to forecast the evolution of the standardisation context as well as market trends. The goal is to react or anticipate Members’ needs with spendable solutions around which a strong convergence of precompetitive achievements is created.
In addition to the policy on relations with the other standardisation institutions to be developed, a clear need to define a path for UIC leaflets emerged during the discussion. To this end Mr Cau reminded participants that one of the results of the SWG was the paper on “A path towards International Railway Standards” on which the General Assembly expressed its appreciation, and this document may be the starting point of further progress.
The message of the Rail System Forum’s Chairman was to ensure the forum’s full support to create the best synergies with the new platform in order to have at disposal the best set of standards to produce more and more efficient railway services. In this context UIC’s goal is to unify processes and instrumental tools to meet safety requirements, to define the minimal level of services and to spend as little as possible to obtain the necessary resources.
Some members from Europe put on the table the issue of improving the layout of UIC standards and endorsed the application of EUTREQ; the same suggestion was put forward by Asian colleagues who offered to compare it to their models in order to reach an outcome as soon as possible to simplify the use of our standards.
The liveliness of the SP and the interest in the numerous items addressed were not a surprise because of the turning point that the railways are facing due to key drivers, and consequently it was worth concluding with the tough schedule established.