Tuesday 23 January 2018

A New Year Message from the Chair of the European Region

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Francisco Cardoso dos Reis, at the start of his two-year mandate as chair of the European region, sets out a number of points for the development of rail in Europe.

As the UIC moves ever closer to its 100th anniversary, it is more and more relevant to guarantee that the association that represents the railway operating community (ROC) is enabled to fulfil the mission that we set for its in developing the railway of the future, facing the challenges of the present.

Considering the complexity of the European environment, we are challenged to evolve, strengthen and improve what we are able to achieve with the aid of our association. The European regional assembly has agreed that the focus needs to be on increased development of automation, harnessing the opportunities of the digital agenda as well as ensuring that the low environmental impact of rail remains as one of the sector’s key strengths.

I must pay tribute to the excellent work that was done by previous chairmen of the region. We are now well-placed to harness the UIC´s Core values of Unity, Solidarity and Universality are put to good use in the work of the association in delivering the objective of a competitive, stronger and efficient ROC in a programme of unified, focused and cohesive actions.

My plan for the next two years is to ensure that UIC is positioned as the irrefutable technical partner not only for its constituents but also with a wide range of interested stakeholders within and outside the railway sector. As a region, the twelve ‘capabilities’ for the sector of tomorrow have been agreed and are there to be intelligently developed.

This means:

  • Continuing to be focused on the business needs of our members – infrastructure managers, or railway undertakings
  • Increasing UIC’s European role vis-à-vis Institutions and stakeholders and promote a coordinated and unified strategic development action of the ROC through R&D, the development, publication and benchmarking of solutions for system operations
  • Increase our collective technical investment in the increasingly important area of digitalisation, working with and learning from actors in other modes. Mobility of people and goods is essential and working on delivering a range of customer-friendly transport products is essential to the services that the railway sector must continue to provide directly and in partnership with other modes
  • We must be constantly attentive to maintain our enviable level of safety and environmental impact, whilst keeping a very close watch on the security issues, including the ever-present and often invisible threat of cybersecurity
  • Increase the information, cohesion, knowledge transfer and transparency among the member of UIC’s European region as well as learning from the experiences of our colleagues in other regions as well as from other transport modes

It is important that we are able to grow our technical capability as a sector. UIC has a very important role to play in that and you can count on me to ensure that the challenges we face are tackled to the benefit of all. We all have a voice as European companies and I encourage you to take the opportunities that membership of UIC provides you in developing our railway sector.

I intend to make myself fully available to really drive this programme and to ensure that we are maximising our collective energies in this exciting but equally potentially disruptive period for the railways and for the transport sector as a whole.

This cannot be done by one person alone and I look forward to the full support of you all as we collectively innovate and develop our sector and the services we offer to our customers.

For further information please contact Simon Fletcher, Coordinator UIC Europe:


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Francisco Cardoso dos Reis, Chair of the UIC European region