The Intercity and High-Speed Committee Plenary and related working groups meetings took place in Cracow from 9 – 12 September at the kind invitation of the Cracow University of Technology - Faculty of Civil Engineering, the Railway Research Institute, and PKP Intercity.
Held four times a year, the ICHS Committee brings together several dozen UIC railway members who are either active in the high-speed domain in their day-to-day operations or have identified high speed as a development objective. For the Members, the Committee is primarily a forum in which each member can share their experience and benefit from the experience of others in working groups and workshops. The Committee is a treasure chest of expertise entrusted to it by the members through discussions, communication, studies and projects. UIC makes this expertise available in several ways: by means of the “high speed” database and maps, by issuing reference documents and numerous publications.
Elected new Chairman, Mr HUO Baoshi – from China Rail – he thanked his predecessors Mr Andrew McNaughton, HS2, and committed to make his best efforts for coordinating and developing all activities in respect of the unity, solidarity and universality UIC values. The Committee unanimously agreed to elect Mr. Imanol Leza – Euskotren – vice-chairman and confirmed Mr Eduardo Romo – Fundacion Caminos de Hierro – already vice-chairman of the ICHSC.
There were more than 50 participants at the ICHSC Plenary meeting, representing several railway undertakings, infrastructure managers, policymakers, consultants and research institutes from Czech Rep., large delegation from China- CR and CARS, Finland, France, Germany, large delegation from JRE-Japan, Poland, Russia, Spain, Slovak and Sweden.
The Committee discussed various topics concerning intercity and high-speed trains. A large number of studies and project proposals were discussed and finalised by the UIC Passenger Department. Some of these studies will be undertaken by the Alliance of Universities, while others will be carried out by members and consultant companies.
The fresh new Quotas final report Part IV was presented and approved. It is the result of a long-term investigation (years 2015 – 2016 – 2017 – 2018) on the Air-Rail price comparison following the effects of new high-speed lines implementations – before & after.
The conclusion is that factual figures have shown that the air system is unable to bring down prices when a high-speed line is commissioned. The rail advantage is real and re-mains irrespective of the prejudice that air travel can withstand rail improvements. This result should be extensively used by UIC Members to promote the development of their high-speed network. The reports Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV are available at UIC for members.
All in all, it was a full week of fruitful meetings:
- The Alliance of Universities for high-speed rail: the home page of the website was presented and very well accepted: the joint three-year work programme was discussed and ongoing.
- The High-Speed IRS working group: the main characteristic the IRS produced by the working group is that they focus on high-speed systems from the rail undertakings’ point of view; the work programme goes through the finalisation of IRS 60680: Design of a new HS Railway-Infrastructure and the new edition of IRS 60681: Communication and Signalling.
- The 11th World Congress for High-Speed Rail 2020 Organising and Scientific Committees focusing their full attention to the opening of the Congress website, the call for papers, the opening ceremony.
- The Hyperloop Event: Technical, operational and economic aspects of Hyperloop technology development. The event was managed the Polack Railway Research Institute. The Hyperloop concept will soon become a reality for passengers and freight.
The next Intercity and High-Speed Committee Plenary and IRS meetings will be held in Washington DC on 2 – 3 December at the kind invitation of the American Public Transportation Association in order to participate in their “High-Speed Rail Policy Forum” on 4 December 2019.