Information published on 23 May 2017 in the UIC electronic newsletter "UIC eNews" Nr 549.

Results from 3rd edition of the UIC Global Rail Research & Innovation Awards

  • Research
  • Reporting
  • UIC Innovation Awards

Rail transport faces huge present and future challenges for which innovation and step changes are necessary. As UIC’s overall mission is to promote an increased use of rail transport at world level and to help members to make rail transport more attractive, effective, sustainable and economically viable, the General Assemblies have brought their strong support to the ambitious programme of UIC’s International Railway Research Board (IRRB), as well as its initiative to set up the UIC Rail Research & Innovation Awards. The 3rd edition of the Awards concluded with the organisation of the Award ceremony held in St Petersburg in Russia on 1 December 2016.

Through these Awards, the UIC aims to support and promote:

  • The development of theoretical, experimental and applied research in railway transport
  • The development process of international cooperation in this field
  • The promotion and attraction of leading experts from different countries, research institutes, universities, railway operators, infrastructure managers, railway suppliers, passenger transport organizations, governmental bodies in charge of transport and individual researches to address the most important problems and challenges of modern railways
  • The global recognition of role of single researchers and research groups in order to establish rail as the sustainable backbone of the transportation system which is cost-efficient, reliable, safe and secure and therefore will become the mode of choice for passengers and freight forwarders

As well as to:

  • Support and encourage gifted young researchers, stimulate their research work in the sphere of railway transport, prepare a new generation of researchers, lay the foundations for future innovative development of railway transport and attract young researchers in the sphere of railway transport as well as to support the creation of favorable conditions for scientific discoveries and innovative achievements involving young researchers
  • Honour those people who have spent their lifetime trying to innovate and improve the railway system and its services – the Lifetime Achievement Award

Following the previous articles in the series of 2016 Awards we now present you with some information on Mr Igor Lopez, a UIC Global Rail Research & Innovation Award Winner in the category of Young Researcher.

Igor Lopez ( has been a researcher and Ph.D. candidate at the University of the Basque Country since 2013. He received his Master’s degree in Information, Systems and Technology from the University of Paris Sud and his Engineering degree from the University of the Basque Country in 2012. His current research work focuses on railway communication systems, 4G mobile networks, communication reliability mechanisms and cyber security for railway signalling networks. His PhD programme is a public-private programme between the I2T Research Group and railway manufacturer Construction & Auxiliary of Railways (CAF). In 2015 he was a visiting researcher at the International Railway Association (UIC). During this stay, he collaborated in the Argus project linked to cyber security in the railway domain. Since 2016 he has also been a lecturer at the University of the Basque Country. Within the I2T Research Group activities, he has participated in FP7 European Research Projects and currently he is involved in the Shift2Rail project about cyber security in the railway domain.

The European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS) is becoming a worldwide de facto standard for high-speed railway signalling. The major shortcomings of this system come from two facts; on the one hand its attachment to a single radio-bearer technology, the Global System for Mobile Communications-Railway (GSM-R), on the other hand, its security limitations to overcome radio jamming attacks. The motivation of this proposal is to provide an integral solution which makes the European Train Control System (ETCS) bearer independent, while the resiliency against intentional or unintentional electromagnetic disturbances is increased.

Aligned with the transition of ERTMS communications towards IP technology, we propose the adoption of Multipath TCP (MPTCP) protocol, an extension of TCP, which is able to provide network end-to-end redundancy. Moreover, this protocol allows the use of heterogeneous radio technologies concurrently, allowing the coexistence of multiple radio bearers in the same corridor. Two different schedulers are proposed under this protocol in order to extend the Class B and Class D redundancy from RBC-RBC communications, defined in the Subset-098, to the train-to-ground safety communications.

According to the simulation tests carried out under electromagnetic disturbances, the proposed multipath protocol is able to detect the disturbance in a transparent way for the ETCS application and react to it, forwarding the ETCS traffic through the secondary available radio bearer and keeping the ETCS service working.

For more information about the UIC International Rail Research Board – IRRB and the Global Research & Innovation Awards, please contact Dennis Schut: