Information published on 1 October 2013 in the UIC electronic newsletter "UIC eNews" Nr 366.

Euromed Technical Assistance on Rail Safety, Interoperability and Structural Reforms for Jordan – UIC participates in a Training Seminar on Rail Safety & Interoperability

(Amman, Jordan, 17 – 19 September 2013)

  • Middle East

A three-day seminar for Railway Safety & Interoperability and Organisational issues was held in Amman, Jordan, organised by Euromed in cooperation with UIC. The seminar brought together 35 participants from Jordan Railways, MoT and LTRC, including those invited from Jordan’s universities.

A welcome speech was given by Jordan’s new Minister of Transport HE Mrs Lina Shbeeb, and then by the Ambassador of EU, HE Mrs Joanna Wronecka and the National Coordinator Mrs Nourhan Shuqman. The programme introduction was given by rail transport expert Mr G. Emmanoulopoulos.

UIC was represented by Airy Magnien, who delivered a presentation on Railway Interoperability and Standardisation, Peter Gerhardt, who presented UIC Safety Unit activities and UIC Safety Database and Meryem Belhaj, who spoke about measures to reduce accidents, taking account of human factors in safety management.

Background information – context

The EuroMed Regional Transport Project “Road, Rail and Urban Transport”, is a project funded by the European Union. It started in December 2011 for a duration of three years.

The project has been assigned to a consortium led by SAFEGE (France), while other members are SYSTRA (France), NTUA (Greece), IDOM (Spain), FIT (Italy), DAR-AL -OMRAN (Jordan), LTRC (Jordan) and LEEGO (Algeria).

The specific priorities of the project are for railways to provide technical assistance and training, in cooperation with international organisations (UIC, ERA, ETCR, etc), for:

  • Enhancing international cooperation in the region (harmonisation between partner states for standards and regulations, regional agreements )
  • Separation of infrastructure ownership and railway operation
  • Developing an action plan for sustainable and efficient rail transport to support the modal shift from road to rail
  • Institutional, technical, operational interoperability, how to benefit from ERTMS
  • Safety management: independent national safety authority, investigation bodies, common safety indicators and targets

Jordan has two railway corporations, the Jordan Hejaz Railway (JHR), and the Aqaba Railway Corporation (ARC) which connects Jordan phosphate mines to the port of Aqaba. The JHRC now occasionally only operates tourist trains.

Jordan’s Ministry of Transport has expressed that rail transport is a priority, to assist Jordan with capacity building (training and/or technical assistance) for existing staff (ARC), (JHR), (LTRC). It should include training of trainers for rail transport safety, interoperability and institutional reforms. In this context there is also need for TA on how to establish an autonomous National Rail Safety Authority and TA for incorporating international standards for interoperability in Jordan Railways (JHR, ARC).

The Transport Sector in Jordan said the Minister of Transport Dr Lina Shbeeb “is witnessing major changes and the public sector has a major role to play in ensuring transport safety, monitoring the conditions and performance of the transport systems, as well as setting sector policies. In this context, this three-day training presents European perspectives for international railway standards, background of regulations and common safety targets, safety reporting and statistics, and technical solutions for rail safety and interoperability, which will definitely contribute to our goals and objectives in the sector.”

This event presented a range of issues and approaches related to rail safety, interoperability and structural reforms. The seminar was interactive and the following topics were presented and discussed:

  • Safety Management System (Juha Piironen – Expert on Rail Safety)
  • Railway Interoperability and Standardisation (Airy Magnien – UIC)
  • Managing Rail Safety (Juha Piironen – Expert on Rail Safety)
  • Interoperability problems for railway signalling, telecommunications… (Denis Francois – Expert on Rail Interoperability)
  • Safety Reporting and Statistics (Peter Gerhardt – UIC )
  • Technical solutions for rail safety and interoperability (ERTMS) (Denis Francois – Expert on Rail Interoperability)
  • Measures to reduce accidents, taking account of human factors in safety management (Meryem Belhaj – UIC)
  • Interoperability: Legal & Institutional Framework – Interoperability: Rolling Stock and Vehicles (Denis François – Expert on Rail Interoperability)
  • Railway Organisational and Restructuring (G. Emmanoulopoulos & Gerard Halaunbrenner – Rail Experts)

During the seminar all the participants were very interested in the clarifications and discussions and were satisfied with the content and the quality of this technical assistance.

For further information about the Euromed project please contact George Emmanoulopoulos: georgios.emmanoulopoulos@safege.com; contact at UIC: Meryem Belhaj, Senior Advisor for International Training and Human Factors: belhaj@uic.org