The Rail System Forum (RSF) Plenary Session, chaired by Michele Mario Elia, CEO of RFI, took place on 16 April 2013 at UIC Headquarters in Paris. UIC Director General Jean-Pierre Loubinoux updated RSF members on major events and important issues planned for 2013. Hans Günther Kersten, Director of the Rail System Department, introduced new staff members and handed out a budget overview with the planned expenditure for 2013 – 2016.
60 members from 26 railways across Europe and Asia participated in the meeting, which focused principally on new project proposals for 2014 in the areas of Signalling, Telecommunications, Infrastructure, Rolling Stock and Energy Management.
The new projects ranged from a proposal to address the collection of relevant ETCS implementation data, to finding ways of succeeding in rail telecommunications after GSM-R and finding representative methods of track resistance to obtain substantial cost reductions.
In total 13 new proposals were presented by the respective Sector Chairman, namely:
- Thomas Joindot, SNCF, Control Command & Signalling and Operations Sector
- Sam Berggren, Trafikverket, Energy Management
- Andy Doherty, Network Rail, Track & Structures Sector
- Pierre-Etienne Gautier, Systra, Train Track Interaction
- The Rolling Stock Sector was represented by UIC Senior Advisor Gianfranco Cau, in absence of its chairman Joachim Mayer, DB.
A new and concise version of the “RSF Outlook and Vision document” was presented to RSF members. Version 8.5 of the document was approved unanimously at the meeting.
Part of the Plenary Meeting was dedicated to the presentation and final approval of the Europe Train Final Report and the Homologation of LL brake blocks. Johannes Gräber, Project Manager at DB, delivered the results of the project resulting from over 200,000 km of test runs, numerous analyses and tests carried out over the past two years. The RSF Steering Board had already endorsed the Europe Train Final Report and the User’s Guidelines for composite (LL) brake blocks at their prior meeting on 14 March 2013. The Europe Train Final Report, its six appendices and the User’s Guidelines for LL brake blocks including Appendix M3 of Leaflet 541-4, were officially approved at the Plenary Meeting, provided that comments received from SNCF are taken into consideration.
Robert Herbacek, ÖBB Infrastruktur, newly-elected Chairman of the Operation Focus Group (OFG), introduced the work plan of this cross sector experts’ group which is followed with strong interest by the Freight Department, represented by Miklos Kopp. As one of the first steps in the International Coordination of Construction Works the OFG plans to hold an international workshop on “path and construction planning” for the heads of departments of the relevant European railways in Vienna in summer 2013.
An update report on the methods of Asset Management and Lasting Infrastructure Cost Benchmarking (LICB) were delivered from UIC Senior Advisor Teodor Gradinariu on behalf of Asset Management Experts Group Chairman Dominique Gardin, Infrabel.
Erika Nissi, UIC Senior Advisor, introduced a new proposal on data modelling and database, based on the need for a standardised international data exchange model for the provision of network data.
Jerzy Wisniewski, Director of the UIC Fundamental Values Department, reported on the results of finished projects in the area of research over the past decade, and Gianfranco Cau updated members on the kick-off meeting and work programme of the UIC Standardisation Platform, under the chairmanship of Stefano Guidi, Trenitalia.
The Plenary Session concluded with the approval of UIC Leaflet 544-1 on “Braking Performance”, subject to a few editorial remarks received from three railway members and a final language check before publication.