On 22 and 23 April a small UIC delegation visited the offices of the Slovenian Railways and their research institute, the Prometni Institut, at the invitation of its Director Dr Petr Verlic. The aim was to enforce cooperation between UIC and its Slovenian member.
The first day of the visit was dedicated to presenting UIC, its services to its members and more details of the main projects and tasks of the Departments, and to inform the Slovenian Railways about UIC’s research activities – the UIC Research Coordination Group (RCG) with its European focus, the International Rail Research Board (IRRB) with its global scope, ERRAC and UIC’s role in this rail research stakeholder European Technology Platform, the new EC funded FOSTERRAIL Project and the Shift2Rail PPP initiative. The Prometni Institut, represented by Dr Verlic, has recently become an active member of the RCG and IRRB and also participates in the ERRAC Plenary meetings. In addition it is also interested in contributing to the future activities of FOSTERRAIL and Shift2Rail. Slovenian Railways are already involved in a number of UIC projects, such as the ERTMS Platform and GSM-R.
The Slovenske Zeleznice (Slovenian Railways) are organised as a holding with nine subsidiaries, which include the Prometni Institut, the Freight Department, the Passenger Department, the Infrastructure Department and the Fersped forwarding company. The Prometni Insititute has the task of supporting the other eight subsidiaries, most of which were represented by their directors during the Monday meeting. The Slovenian Railways presented their organisation and priorities, followed by presentations by the Prometni Institute about their organisation and their main projects – such as the ERTMS project for Slovenia and the new project dealing with the “Redesign of the SZ working processes”.
The UIC delegation consisted of Hans-Gunther Kersten, Director of the UIC Rail System Department and his Senior Advisor on ERTMS matters (among other responsibilities) Piero Petruccioli as well as Dennis Schut, UIC Research Manager. The main task of UIC is to support and advise its members and this was directly brought into practice through a long and detailed presentation and discussion on the advantages and possible disadvantages of different ERTMS and other signalling solutions, following the presentation by the Prometni Institute experts on the extensive ERTMS project.
The second day of the intensive meetings consisted of a technical visit – using a special track maintenance vehicle – of the renovated railway line between Grosuplje and Kocevje which will be opened for passenger transport on 9 May while celebrating the fact that the line was opened 120 years ago (it was closed in 1970). Further discussions took place on the signalling system and several signalling & switch boards were visited and explained along the line. The line will be of major importance to the economic development of the region and its connection with Ljubljana, as well as helping to solve a major road traffic congestion problem.
Before closing the meeting, the next steps were discussed for closer cooperation between UIC and the Slovenian Railways and their subsidiaries.