On the occasion of the 90th UIC General Assembly, hosted by the TCDD, the members of the UIC IRRB – the International Rail Research Board – were also invited to Istanbul. The meeting was ably chaired – in absence of the chairman Prof. Boris Lapidus – by the vice chairman Mr Roman Štěrba of CD Czech Railways. The official opening and welcome words were presented by the UIC General-Director Mr Jean-Pierre Loubinoux. He pointed out – also on behalf of UIC Chairman Mr Mazzoncini – the importance of the work of this UIC Working Body in bringing members from the different UIC regions together in shaping the Global Vision for Railway Development, sharing information and working towards common and cross-regional projects.
Mr Loubinoux emphasised the strategic position of UIC as well as the importance of standardisation and the IRS. He mentioned the growing focus on the rail corridors linking North to South and East to West. Research and sharing information belong to the basic missions of the UIC. Following this he mentioned the UIC Research Portal (www.railway-research.org) and its essential elements, the research data bases SPARK and the ACRI Rail Knowledge database as well as the newly developed WORC, the data base containing information on research institutes and specialised academia, their research teams and experts, their expertise and projects. These databases contain valuable research and innovation related information ready to be used. However active participation and sharing of information between UIC members through these dedicated instruments would be very beneficial for all parties involved and will support the railways of tomorrow.
Mr Loubinoux also mentioned the recent resignation of IRRB vice-chair-person Mrs Vicki Brown from Australia’s ACRI. He thanked her for the hard work she had put in the promotion of sharing of information between the UIC for the benefit of all and wished her all the best. He was in particularly proud to mention the strong commitment of Australia and the fact that ACRI would like to stay strongly involved in the IRRB work by proposing Mrs Browns successor Mr Andrew Meier as IRRB vice-chairman. The members of the IRRB heartily supported this nomination which was then agreed to be brought forward as recommendation to the UIC General Assembly the following day.
During the course of the meeting also the following issues were discussed:
- The update of the Global Vision for Railway Development – GVRD – using the most recent policy documents from the UIC Regions and their members as well as insights in the latest developments in – co-modal-mobility and considering transport as a service to its customers
- Megatrends to be aware of when updating the GVRD, setting global research and innovation priorities for the future and working towards a better sharing of information among the members as well as towards the implementation of common, cross-regional projects
- The further development of the WORC database of research expertise – see also the UIC Research Portal
- The preparation of the 4th edition of the UIC Global Research & Innovation Awards as an externally sponsored event for December 2018
- The preparation of the 1st UIC Global Conference on the Future of Transport in Warsaw/ Poland in November 2018, starting with the set-up of the supporting Scientific Committee. UIC experts interested to contribute are being welcomed!
- Finally, several presentations were given, among which the UIC-RICG prepared and UIC-RAE agreed “Capabilities” as an important input to the GVRD update and a KRRI presentation about foldable freight containers, six of which can be stacked in the place of one normal empty container.
The IRRB always looks forward to welcoming new members from the six regions, UIC members interested in supporting the growth and innovation of the global railway system as well as experts from research institutes and academia! All IRRB related documents can be found on the UIC Extranet under “My workspaces” – Research – IRRB.