Tuesday 11 February 2014
UIC Europe

Developing the technical challenge for the future European rail system

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European rail operating community builds on the vision of “Challenge 2050” and publishes its Rail Technical Strategy for the future European rail system

Rail is the transport backbone of Europe, a core component of a strong economy and a vital service to European society.

All over Europe, the railway is becoming more and more popular, and individual countries within Europe are facing similar challenges: to run more trains carrying more people and freight in a more sustainable, cost-effective and efficient way.

The railways themselves are also physical geographical connections between states and offer a smart way of travelling across the continent.

In order for individual rail companies to plan for the future in the best possible way, leading rail experts from across Europe have come together led by the UIC’s Coordinator Europe, Simon Fletcher, to publish a shared strategy, known as Rail Technical Strategy Europe (RTSE).

The strategy builds on the high level vision that was published in the Challenge 2050 document of 2013 and is designed to complement and support national strategies, and so provides the common ground for railways across Europe to grow together and provide an attractive service to the customer. It sends a really strong message that the systems that are so important to efficient operation and service provision must all look to pull in the same direction and that innovation and technology programmes must be structured so that they are striving for common goals.

Jean-Pierre Loubinoux, Director General, UIC said: ‘This is a groundbreaking document, partly because it shows how much common ground there is in terms of the shared vision of railway companies across Europe, but also because it helps the rail operating community to demonstrate what its business needs are in a really confident way. It shows we are commercially attractive and ready to meet the challenge of business for the decades ahead.’

It will enable the rail operating community to focus on a wide range of core points and take the opportunities to satisfy customer requirements and to prepare for the challenges related to the way in which the future system is designed, constructed, operated and maintained. In this way, it can also contribute to wider social and economic goals within the communities that rail serves.

A technical strategy relies not only on technological innovation but also on a culture of receptiveness to new ways of delivering customer service, and a willingness to challenge barriers. The rail operating community will work together and with other stakeholders to ensure that the necessary change is best facilitated, that priorities are developed and funding mechanisms identified.

RTSE is well placed to guide and inspire future innovation through a well-balanced, business-led programme. The use of instruments such as Shift²Rail will ensure that the necessary resources are coordinated and concentrated methodologies are available to support the wider rail operating community and the system in general to innovate.

RTSE is available here:


You can visit also the European part of the UIC website: www.uic.org/europe

For further information please contact Simon Fletcher: fletcher@uic.org

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