Alongside the UIC statutory meetings, a Plenary Meeting of the International Rail Research Board (IRRB) was held in Budapest on 24 June. The agenda of the meeting concentrated on the most important issues, as time was limited because of the busy schedule of UIC meetings.
Opening and welcome
A special welcome was given to the delegation of CARS, which was represented by three of its prominent staff members. Following the opening remarks of IRRB chairman Prof. Boris Lapidus from RZD and a short update on the progress of standardisation by Mr Simon Fletcher, Mr Martin Brennan gave an update on the current developments on Horizon Europe – the research and innovation funding programme of the European Commission and of ERRAC.
Mr Jerzy Wisniewski, Director of the Fundamental Values Department, presented GVRD II – Global Vision for Railway Development II – document, which had been sent out to all members of the General Assembly with the request for endorsement. It had been prepared under the responsibility of the chairman and the IRRB vice-chairman, Dr. Eng. Andrzej Zurkowski of IK, Poland. The document will be available to all UIC members as a digital download. The aim of the new GVRD document is to:
- Help railways develop and optimise rail systems of the future in order to take advantage of opportunities and satisfy growing customer and societal requirements
- Identify best practice in order to provide examples and guidance; most appropriate examples of best practice provided as case studies from in and outside the railways (“what this might mean for rail”)
- Support the Rail Operating Community in making rail more attractive to users and eventually to establish rail as the backbone of the transport system
The GVRD II will also the subject of a special Organised Session to be held on Thursday 31 October 2019 as part of the 12th World Congress on Railway Research (28 October – 1 November) which has as its theme: Railway Research to Enhance the Customer Experience.
The content of the session was also topic of discussion during this IRRB meeting. Thoughts were exchanged about potential guest speakers for this session and one of the main conclusions was that also these speakers should reflect the global nature of the document.
Further topics discussed were the preparation of the IRRB (2020 – 2022) three-year strategy – to be based on the GVRD II – for the following term three years for the chair-team. The main areas to focus on will be distilled from the GVRD and three-year strategy and will indicate the areas of responsibility of the vice-chairs. Nominations for the new IRRB chairperson and vice-chairs will be sent out soon to the UIC members for the chair-team to be endorsed during the December 2019 General Assembly.
Next Plenary meeting
In addition to at least two web conferences, there is a Plenary meeting planned for the afternoon of 28 October, preceding the opening reception of the 12th WCRR in Tokyo.